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Widgets and Public APIs Aren’t Boring!

They sure aren't interesting...until you read about how they'll help your nonprofit.

Widgets and Public APIs Aren’t Boring!

Who are we kidding? They’re a little boring. But what’s not boring is how easy it is to add widgets on your own site, and it’s definitely not boring to learn that you can use APIs to build the donor experience you want.

Let me back up and explain exactly what I mean.

What Are Widgets and APIs?

Skip this if you already know the answer. But if you don’t, widgets are components within software, and they enable website users to perform various functions. So, for example, if you wanted to add a countdown clock on your nonprofit website to generate excitement for a year-end giving campaign, that would be a widget. You could also use a chat widget or one that publishes your social media content on your website.

An API is an interface (that’s the “I”) that allows two or more computer programs to communicate with each other. When nonprofits are starting or growing, they’ll often use systems like Mailchimp. Whenever you’re integrating a third-party system like Mailchimp into your website, you’re using an API.

If a computer system (let’s say CharityEngine) has a public, or open, API (we do!), it means that any third-party program with access to that API can integrate with CharityEngine. Which leads us to the next logical question:

Why Should I Care About Widgets and APIs?

We talk often about the donor experience, because, like anything else, the experience one has when parting with hard-earned cash directly correlates to the amount of hard-earned cash with which one will part.

Widgets allow you to customize the donor experience and add functionality to your website that your donors will appreciate.

APIs allow you to take your core fundraising software and add anything you want to it. So while CharityEngine offers all the tools fundraisers need right out of the box, our bigger clients often want specialized programs integrated with the CharityEngine system and data. With our public API, this isn’t a problem. Which leads us to yet another logical question:

What’s New with CharityEngine’s Widgets and APIs?

Our public API isn’t new, but it’s powerful. CharityEngine clients have access to this programming interface that is robust enough that the techiest among you, and maybe even the not so techy, could build, package, and embed widgets just using our APIs.

And once you have our public API installed on your website, you’re ready to start adding widgets.

We’ve got three to highlight for you:

Legislator Lookup Widget

Looking at you, advocacy clients! CharityEngine has released a new legislator lookup widget, which helps your constituents know who to reach out to and how to get your message heard. With CharityEngine’s widget, you can determine the appropriate messaging and strategy, then supporters can use this new widget to instantly look up their legislators. This ensures the efforts are directed to the right person.

What’s the benefit for your nonprofit? We know it’s easier for your constituents, but the widget means you’re spending less time on the back end trying to align your supporters with the right legislators. You save time and enhance the user experience on any website you want…a win/win.

Donation Widget

When we talk about a seamless donor experience, making it easy to donate is where we start. When you add CharityEngine’s donation widget to your website, you keep your donors on your website (as opposed to sending them to a third-party site) and you make it easy for them to support you with a click.

Once you’ve installed the public API on your website, you can embed the widget using either HTML or Javascript. You’ll design the widget and then add it to your website. You can choose from a bunch of customizations, like getting the widget to pop up by default, reminding donors to give when they dismiss the widget, and so much more!

Sign-Up Widget

The last widget we want to highlight is our sign-up widget. Again, you’re creating a seamless user experience and keeping your donors on your website.

This widget allows supporters to sign up for one or multiple newsletters, for example, or to volunteer. You specify your initiative and your preferred response channel, and the form will be ready for your website.

The Power of Public APIs

The takeaway for nonprofits, particularly CharityEngine clients, is that open APIs allow you to customize and build the website you want. The flexibility is one of the things our clients treasure: whether you use our applications out of the box and use the APIs to integrate systems or install widgets on your website, the variations are endless. And at the end of the day, the data all comes back to the same place, giving you a better understanding of who is engaging with you and how.

When you get this full-circle picture of your donors and constituents, you can tailor their giving and engagement journey to a level not possible with other, more siloed, systems. To get a head start on learning about the CharityEngine Public API and the widgets mentioned above, check out our Help Center.

And when you use CharityEngine, you’re getting our best-in-class user experience, advanced security, and inclusion of AI to maximize conversions and revenue. Not a client? We can fix that.