3 Automations to Make Year-End Fundraising a Breeze

It's that time again: year-end fundraising and the race to December 31st. While this can be the most wonderful time of the year, it's also the most tedious, data-intensive, drive-you-to-drink time of the year. Unless you have the right tools in place.

Luckily, there are options when it comes to funneling all the data your donors are generating. Enter, Zapier automations.

If you're unfamiliar, Zapier is a subscription service that connects different online apps to one another using API and other means. With a few simple clicks, you can connect the majority (read: relevant) of your apps and be on your way.

The Approach

For me, architecting my Zapier arsenal is a problem-first approach. What do I need in the future and where do I need it?

Let me pause here and give you a word of caution. With too much automation, you can enter a data redundancy wormhole, wherein you have exhausted your monthly Zap limit and reached the task limit. If you have no idea what I am talking about, great. If you're as nerdy as I am, you will be at 80% of your task limit in no time.

Without further suspense, here is my list of essential automations to get from here to listening to U2 on January 1st.

Stripe to Slack

Stripe is currently my primary payment gateway. Using the direct Slack integration, I send payment success, payment fail, and daily deposit information into an #incoming-money channel. On the Zapier side, I send customer and transaction metadata to the same channel. It's duplicative, but helpful for providing donation context in the moment. The input and output looks something like this:

If I donate $5, there will be an #incoming-money message that says "Kenny Kane (kennykane@gmail.com) has donated $5 to campaign x."

By including the customer email field in my Zap, I can very quickly send a new email, instantly, from Slack to thank or learn more about them. I also use it to look them up on social media and try to get background info on them. I typically do this for donations larger than $250. If it's an interesting email domain, I will do it for less.

Stripe to Wunderlist

One of the places you can set yourself up for failure the most in donor cultivation is the process of thanking them. For me, a Slack notification can fly by and be lost forever. To mitigate this problem, I set up a handy insta-to-do list.

Using a similar formula to my Slack message, I create a new Wunderlist task for each successful Stripe transaction. At certain time intervals (instantly – 24 hours), I check my 'Donor Thank You' Wunderlist and clear out the donations less than a certain amount. From there, I prioritize biggest donations first. This integration helps me sort through the madness of my donation notification emails, Slack alerts, and any kind of reports Stripe might give me.

Stripe to Google Sheets

I use Google Sheets to create a running table of all donations. This is helpful in running some quick analytics around donations and drawing conclusions without digging through information from multiple sources.

As you may know/come to find out, things break and I don't expect this integration to work 100% of the time. If I am creating any sort of enduring report, I would go right to Stripe for an export.

In Conclusion

The year-end season of giving can be a noisy time. By leveraging the backend APIs of your platforms, you can create a nice system of checks and balances to ensure you won't have incomplete reports, or a donor who feels like they don't matter.

These are just 3 quick automations. If you were looking to get really automated, you could use Zapier's (relatively) new multi-step Zaps to access existing information and update it, such as adding lines to your CRM.

Good luck!