Why Grantmakers – And Not Just IT Pros – Need to Understand APIs

September 1, 2017 charlie vanek

Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives: it keeps us in contact with each other, informs our decisions, and helps us solve a multitude of problems. Blackbaud is the world’s leading provider of cloud software powering social good, and our vision is to use technology to power an ecosystem of good that builds a better world. Achieving this goal requires the use of cloud solutions, which result in collaboration among various software and flourishing technological ecosystems.

What is an API:

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) connect software and technology across ecosystems and are used every day. For instance, if you were to send a registration form with appointment times for an event, an API would allow your attendees to automatically sync their appointment from your invitation to their Google calendar. Fundamentally, APIs allow you to combine multiple pieces of software in a way that can address your unique grantmaking process.

APIs establish a connection between Blackbaud’s software and our customers’ internal software. This allows customers to connect software and data intelligence, empowering users to further advance their organization’s social good goals. Understanding the concept of what an API is and how it works can provide grant makers, in coordination with their technology departments, with the knowledge and expertise to explore new solutions to old problems, and make their operations smarter and more efficient. 

Why Use APIs:

As we increasingly rely on technology, it’s important for various pieces of software to be able to connect to each other. This is why APIs are important. They connect systems by allowing for the transfer, and ultimately, the aggregation of data. For example, the combination of grant management systems like GIFTS Online with financial systems like Blackbaud CRM or Financial Edge NXT enables users to connect software that plans and schedules payments with accounting software that processes those payments to streamline their grant management process. This eliminates the need for rudimentary processes like exporting and importing data between various software, drastically reduces the time needed to complete tasks, and eliminates manual data errors as the entire process is automated. Additionally, by allowing our customers to connect their personal data with data from our solutions, APIs provide a 360 view of all customer activities and a clearer path to associating specific outcomes with certain occurrences.

APIs will continue to simplify our customers’ daily tasks, giving them more time to become agents of change and making it possible to further expand the ecosystem of good that builds a better world.

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