Why charities should be familiar with API

Application Programme Interfaces allow seemingly unrelated programs to talk to one another – they are how YouTube videos are embedded into blog posts and how Google Maps are used in event listings.

| 22nd Aug 14

Marketing Associate Terri Harel says that in order to be a successful fundraiser, nonprofit professionals should understand what Application Programme Interfaces are all about.

“Application Program Interfaces allow seemingly unrelated programs to talk to one another and appear connected or seamless,” she explains.

“They allow us to create websites that feel more comprehensive to our audience, since we can incorporate so much of our social profile, location and progress in one place and in real time. Most importantly, you can significantly add to your website’s functionality without having to spend a lot of resources building pieces from scratch.”

While there are many ways of making use of API, some of the mains one for charities are:

1. Demonstrating the progress that has been made for fundraising for a particular campaign in real-time.

“Demonstrating progress can make or break a potential donor’s decision to donate to your organization or campaign. Knowing others have already donated to your cause and are supporting your progress validates your campaign,” writes Harel.

2. Demonstrating participation 

“There’s something particularly captivating about incorporating a real-time feed of top fundraisers. You’re displaying a living, breathing, active ecosystem of your organisation: qualities that are both exciting and engaging to people making first contact with your organisation. APIs can add this ‘human’ element to your website.”

3. Demonstrating impact 

Use APIs to embed maps, constituent stories (like from Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram), and fundraising numbers directly onto your pages, says Harel, so visitors to the website instantly know what kind of activities their money will go towards if they were to donate. This is sure to keep them around the site longer.