With What Tools Should Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software Integrate?
Over the last several months, I’ve written about a variety of topics around the idea of finding and implementing new peer-to-peer fundraising software for your organization. I’ve covered everything from how to know it’s time for new software to how to get the most out of software vendor demos.
In this article, I’m diving into another important aspect of finding the right peer-to-peer fundraising software for your nonprofit: integration. I’ll admit integration capabilities might not be as interesting as the features and functionality you need to make it easy for your participants and donors to raise more funds and awareness for your cause. But it’s just as important.
Getting an overall picture of how your constituents interact with your organization and how your organization interacts with your constituents is vital. It’s also important to be able to gather and analyze data about past peer-to-peer campaigns and events so you can continue to improve your peer-to-peer program. Your ability to accomplish these things depends heavily on your peer-to-peer fundraising software’s ability to integrate with other key systems, including your constituent relationship management (CRM) software and your email marketing tools.
As you look for new per-to-peer fundraising software, here are some important things to consider about integration capabilities:
Integration Is Always a Consideration
You might already have (or are considering purchasing) an enterprise software system that includes a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. If so, you might be thinking that there’s no need to concern yourself with integration since the peer-to-peer software already integrates with the other software in the enterprise system.
But that’s not always the case.
In fact, in my experience working with nonprofits on technology selection and implementation over the past dozen-plus years, I’ve seen many nonprofit software products come and go. I’ve also seen many acquisitions of products by other companies.
The result is often software products that, while owned by the same company, don’t automatically integrate with each other. Or, the software product with which a peer-to-peer platform integrated was sunsetted (retired) and the nonprofit needs to integrate the peer-to-peer tool with some other software.
This isn’t meant to scare you away from any particular software or software vendor. It’s simply meant as a friendly warning to always consider integration capabilities in any new software that you might be considering.
Your Peer-to-Peer Software and Your CRM Need to Talk
I mentioned the importance of having a complete view of your interactions with your constituents. The typical hub for data about these interactions is your CRM system or donor database. That’s why getting your peer-to-peer campaign information into your CRM/donor database is a must-do.
And I’m not just talking about who registered as a participant and who donated to your campaign. I’m also talking about things like participant soft credits for the donations that came into your campaign through their efforts. And when top fundraisers donated. And what marketing channels performed best for recruiting participants. There are lots of data points you can use to improve your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, but you need to collect them all in one place so you can analyze and put them to use.
Email Marketing Tools Should Be Part of the Conversation
Email marketing is another big area to consider when it comes to integration with your peer-to-peer software. Be sure to find out if there is a built-in email tool in the peer-to-peer software you’re considering, or if you’ll need to sync with a third-party email platform. If so, with which email platforms can the peer-to-peer tool integrate? It’s also important to know how easy (or difficult) it is to send targeted communications to promote your peer-to-peer campaigns.
For example, ask the software vendor to show you how you can do the following in the product (or in the third-party email platform):
Segment your audience into target groups, such as past participants and team captains
Conditionalize content (For example, insert one sentence into an email if someone has raised more then $100, and another if they’ve raised less than $100.)
Personalize content (For example, insert data points, such as funds raised or number of years a participant has supported your organization, into email copy.)
There Are Lots of Tools in the Miscellaneous Category
While CRM and email marketing are two big points of integration to consider with any new peer-to-peer software you’re considering, remember that there are many, many other tools with which you will likely want to (and should) integrate your peer-to-peer data.
There’s no way for me to list all of the other tools and considerations in one article, but here are some big ones to consider:
- Facebook Fundraising. Many peer-to-peer platforms offer Facebook fundraising integration either directly or via a third-party app, such as Boundless Fundraising by Charity Dynamics. While Facebook fundraising brings in lots of funds for nonprofits, it doesn't provide much data. That’s where you can turn to additional products by Charity Dynamics or others, such as GivePanel and GoodUnited, to communicate with your Facebook fundraisers with the goal of receiving additional biographical information from them so that you can move donors up the engagement ladder.
- Software vendor integrations. Keep in mind that many peer-to-peer fundraising platform vendors have worked with clients and other companies to create integrations, and then turned the integrations into products that are available to other clients. Ask any peer-to-peer software vendor that you’re considering about these types of integrations, which might include things like matching gift tools and wealth screening products.
- Third-party service providers. Another way to tackle the integration issue is to work with third-party tools/service providers, such as Frakture, JMG Solutions, Omatic Software, ROI Solutions and Ziedman Development. They offer batch data import/export into popular products, such as Raiser’s Edge, Salesforce or multiple other systems to provide organizations with an overall picture of their constituents.
- Application Program Interfaces (APIs). APIs provide a way for two different systems to communicate directly with each other. It’s a sign of a well-designed open platform to have publicly available API documentation so that third-party software vendors, consultants and organizations can create custom integrations as needed.
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Mark also serves on the editorial advisory board for NonProfit PRO, where he contributes monthly to his blog, “P2P Fundraising Essentials.”