MailChimp Integration: Email Marketing for eTapestry CRM

Email is a great channel for engaging supporters, soliciting contributions, keeping constituents up to date, and announcing new projects.  Although Blackbaud® eTapestry® comes with a mass email feature, many eTapestry users send email campaigns through an alternative email marketing platform like MailChimp.

MailChimp is easy to set up, easy to use, and feature rich but it is a separate system from your eTapestry CRM (constituent relationship management). Keeping your email lists up to date in both systems is a critical task, especially if you send frequent emails to your constituents.

How to design an eTapestry MailChimp integration

Clear rules and roles for MailChimp and eTapestry will help you to maintain subscription preferences and settings for all constituents in your email lists.

Here are two recommendations for eTapestry MailChimp integration (no matter which integration method you choose).

  • Make your eTapestry database the primary system for constituent information (i.e. the central hub).
  • Use MailChimp exclusively for email marketing.  Do not send email campaigns through other tools.

In addition to the above rules, define how data flows from eTapestry to MailChimp and from MailChimp to eTapestry.

eTapestry to MailChimp

Your marketing strategy will determine which email addresses and contacts you send from eTapestry to MailChimp.


  • If you send infrequent emails to all constituents with an email address (not recommended, but an option), send all newly created constituents from eTapestry to MailChimp.
  • If you send frequent emails to constituents based on preferences and interests, send specific segments of constituents from eTapestry to segmented lists in MailChimp.

Here are some things to consider.

  1. Who receives email from me, what lists are they subscribed to, and what preferences do they have for receiving email from me?
  2. What segments are available in MailChimp and how do those relate to constituents in eTapestry?
  3. What constituent preferences in eTapestry indicate preferences in MailChimp, like separating subscribers into groups?

MailChimp to eTapestry

The word “integration” often assumes that data flows two directions, but that isn’t always the case.

A two-way integration assumes that data in MailChimp is valuable and must be tracked in eTapestry. In most situations, integration from MailChimp to eTapestry isn’t necessary unless a subscriber in MailChimp donates to your organization (at which point they will be entered into eTapestry for their gift, bypassing the need for integration from MailChimp to eTapestry), becomes a volunteer, or engages with your organization beyond being an email subscriber.

Here are some scenarios where a MailChimp to eTapestry integration might be worthwhile.

  • Tag constituents in eTapestry that unsubscribe in MailChimp
  • Add constituents to eTapestry when a subscriber uses MailChimp subscription form
  • Update constituent preferences in eTapestry when a subscriber in MailChimp updates their preferences

Consider a one-way sync from eTapestry to MailChimp if the examples above don’t apply to your email marketing efforts.

What about send, open, and click data?

After reading this article, most will wonder why we didn’t suggest integration for send, open, and click data from MailChimp.

We recommend running reports on email marketing campaigns in MailChimp because the data is already there.  MailChimp reports were designed for measuring the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

Why recreate MailChimp’s reporting functionality in eTapestry?

Should you need send, open, and click data merged with eTapestry constituent data, a simple Excel spreadsheet and pivot table should be enough to produce aggregate reports between the two systems.

How to implement an eTapestry MailChimp integration

As with most eTapestry integrations, there are three ways to set up an integration between eTapestry and MailChimp.

  • 1. Manual data entry

    Manual data entry is a poor option because it takes time. The pain of data entry is significant if you transfer large amounts of data between MailChimp and eTapestry on a regular basis. Use manual data entry in narrow use cases with small transfers of data.

  • 2. Imports

    Imports are a step up from manual data entry, but still include a manual component. Imports reduce the potential for errors over manual data entry, but a hasty import can cause irreparable damage to data in both systems. Be sure that you understand the conditions of an import before migrating your data. Imports are the second best option for integrating MailChimp and eTapestry.

  • 3. Automated integration

    Integration is the final, least intensive, and best way to transfer data between MailChimp and eTapestry.

    We’ve developed an integration for MailChimp and eTapestry.

    With our integration, eTapestry users can seamlessly transfer accounts from eTapestry to MailChimp and subscribers from MailChimp to eTapestry.

    The integration is completely hands-free, requires no manual interface, and submits new data in real time.

Ready to integrate eTapestry and MailChimp? It is easy to get started. We take care of setup, hosting, and maintenance. Contact us to set up your integration.

Email marketing with eTapestry and another app

We recommend using an alternative email marketing platform like MailChimp in tandem with your eTapestry CRM.

When considering an eTapestry MailChimp integration, start by designing an integration that syncs constituents in eTapestry with subscribers in MailChimp (people only). Expand the scope of your integration if necessary, but try to keep your integration simple and lightweight.

Note: The methods outlined in this article apply to other email marketing platforms as well, including AWeber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, Emma, iContact, and VerticalResponse.

Integrations are complex, so contact us if you aren’t sure where to get started. We can help you to reduce or eliminate duplicate, double data entry so you can get back to more important tasks on your to-do list.

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