Today's updates are all about opening up Planning Center Giving and making it play nicely with other donation systems – whether you're counting donations in a batch or allowing integration with a third party using the new Giving API.
External Payment Sources
We've introduced the idea of a payment source. While a payment method tells you the type of transaction (cash, check, card, ACH, etc) a payment source tells you where this donation came from (Planning Center, Paypal, Square, etc).
If Planning Center Giving is your only donation system then you won't need to add payment sources. However, if you switched from another donation system, and you need to get those donations into Giving, you'll want to add that other system as an external payment source. By consolidating all donation activity into Giving, your donors will see a comprehensive donation history when they log into their Giving donor portal. It also means more accurate donor statements.
Adding and Reviewing Donations with External Sources
If you've added an external payment source, you'll notice a few changes around Giving.
While counting donations in a batch, you'll see a new Payment Source option. For external sources, the batch tool will now accept card and ACH bank transfer donations. Anywhere donations are listed, you'll see new table column showing the payment source. Payment sources are also included in CSV exports.
On the dashboard, you'll see a new circle chart showing the breakdown by payment source. Like the rest of the dashboard data, you can get this information across any date range, allowing you to compare numbers more easily.
Bulk Edit Old Donations
Many churches have actually been adding non-Giving donations into Giving for some time. It was do'able, but it required some workarounds that felt pretty gross. For example, we often see large batches with names like "9/2016 Square Donations" containing all cash donations. In reality, these were likely credit/debit card donations instead of cash. We also see cash donations with labels like "PayPal" or "Pushpay" spread across multiple batches. For some churches, there are hundreds or even thousands of these. It's confusing to donors, but it also throws off payment method stats on your dashboard in Giving.
To help you migrate old donations to these new payment sources and correct the payment method of old "cash" donations, we've built a bulk edit tool. You can target donations two ways: 1) select the batch 2) select a label. After that, you'll review the list of donations and initiate the bulk change. In a bulk edit you can change the payment source or the payment method.
Giving API Released
Payment sources was an important project for entering historical donations as well as ongoing entry of donations from external systems. However, it was also important as groundwork for finishing up the Giving API.
Today, we're happy to announce that the Giving API is out of beta and fully writable.
This opens the doors for application teams and developers to build integrations with Giving. It means that Giving is open-for-business when it comes to 3rd party import tools, export tools, and synchronization tools. We're already aware of 3 companies building integrations with Giving, and we're sure we'll see more as time goes on.
On that note, if you are an interested 3rd party developer, we invite you to dive in. Say hello in the
#api channel in the Planning Center Slack community. You don't need permission from us to get going, as the API is openly available and well documented.
We're pretty excited about the addition of Payment Sources, the Bulk Edit tool, and the release of the Giving API. The goal is to make Giving play nicely with other systems and better exemplify our beliefs: software is most useful when it's connected, flexible, and free from artificial customer constraints (like contracts and data lock-in). Also, it just feels a lot better to build bridges than dig moats.
❤️ Team Giving