Blackbaud’s Announced API Could be a Game Changer

 In Information Strategy

At their annual nonprofit technology conference, BBCON, Blackbaud made a significant announcement about a key part of its technology direction.  No matter what you think of the company’s past record as an innovator, Blackbaud has joined the modern era of application development in its announced enhancements to how it approaches APIs. (If you don’t know what an API is, or does, this article provides a good primer).

With more than 25,000 nonprofit clients, this announcement is significant for Blackbaud customers and for the broader nonprofit community because it creates extensibility for products, like The Raiser’s Edge, that are integral to how many nonprofits work.

Blackbaud’s API, called Sky API, finally allows outside developers to create integrations to products that are among the market-leading fundraising, engagement, and constituent management applications. For example, what if your organization’s program officers want to use Salesforce to manage their relationships but fundraisers are more comfortable with The Raiser’s Edge? With a well-developed API, key information can be exchanged between both applications. Additionally, a more accessible and open API finally empowers third-party developers to build applications that are specifically engineered to work with Blackbaud products.

We expect more details from Blackbaud in coming months, including pricing for organizations who anticipate exchanging large amounts of data, but this is what we learned:

  • To leverage Sky API, an organization will need to be hosted by Blackbaud. If you have The Raiser’s Edge installed on-premise, or rely on third-party hosting, you will need to move to Blackbaud’s hosting environment.
  • If an organization is using the Raiser’s Edge VBA, there is no anticipated ongoing support for the product as that functionality will be subsumed by Sky API.
  • Specific announcements about both Sky API and Sky UX should be expected in 2016.

Build is passionately independent. But, with the market dominance of Blackbaud in the nonprofit technology space, we have to admit we’re pleased that Blackbaud appears to have awoken from a long slumber.  As an active and engaged player in the space, Blackbaud helps to accelerate the pace of innovation throughout the nonprofit technology sector.

If you’d like to learn more about how these recent product developments might impact your organization, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to chat more about how this might influence your information technology and strategy direction.

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