Zapier integration

Automate manual data entry tasks - easily build workflows that connect Beacon to apps supported by Zapier

Updated over a week ago

Note: The Zapier integration is available on the Standard, Premium, and Ultimate plans.

Zapier is a simple workflow and automation platform for non-developers, with support for products like Eventbrite, Google Sheets, and Asana.

With Zapier, you can easily build workflows that connect Beacon to the 3,000+ apps supported by Zapier - allowing you to automate many of your manual data entry tasks.

Tip: Zapier gives discounts to charities and other non-profits! See their page here for more information.


Connecting Zapier to Beacon

  1. To connect Zapier to Beacon, you'll need:

    1. Your account ID
      You can find your ID in the URL when logged into Beacon.

    2. An API key
      To get a key, reach out to us on Beacon support and we'll create one for your account.

  2. Create a new Zap, and choose Beacon in one of your actions

  3. When prompted to connect Beacon, enter your API key and Account ID in the form

    Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 11.24.49

  4. That's it! You're now ready to connect Beacon to thousands of other platforms!


Using Beacon in your Zaps

Zapier works primarily with a combination of 'Triggers' and 'Actions'. Every zap needs a trigger and at least one action. Beacon can be used as both a trigger and/or an action.

Hint: A common way of thinking about automation is the phrase:

"If this happens, then do that."

If this happens = trigger

Then do that = action

Actions

Beacon is your CRM so it's more common you'll want data going into Beacon and thus we'll start with actions.

The Beacon app for Zapier currently supports the following zap actions:

  • Search for a record (e.g. find a Person record by email)

  • Create records of any kind (people, payments, etc)

  • Update a record given its 'Record ID' (use the 'Search for a record' action to find a record's ID)

  • Search for a Beacon user by their email

Note: While it's more common for your trigger to be another app, you can use Beacon as both your trigger and your action. However, in this scenario it's worth first considering if workflows can achieve your goal.

Considerations for updating existing data in Beacon

When updating an existing record, any data you choose to set will replace the existing data in that field. It many circumstances, that is desired! For example, if you were updating the 'Amount' of a Payment, or the 'Date of birth' of a Person.

In other situations, you may not want that behaviour:

  • If you are updating an email, phone, drop-down, or point to another record field that allows multiple values, it will replace all values rather than add an additional one.

  • If you are updating a long text field, such as 'Notes', it will replace the existing text rather than adding to it.

If you'd prefer to keep these values, you can pass them into the field along with your new values by performing a 'Find record' step first.

You can then pass the existing values from that field into the update step, along with your new value. Here we are adding 'Volunteer' to the existing 'Donor' and 'Friend' values in a drop-down list:

Warning: For location fields, only a single address can be set via Zapier. If you are passing a new address, it will replace all existing addresses (it won't set them as secondary addresses). You'll be able to see previous addresses in the record's timeline.


Triggers

Trigger a Zap from a workflow

Using a combination of Zapier and Beacon workflows can really open up a world of possibility for integrating Beacon with other apps.
Here's some examples of tasks you could automate:

  • When a grant application record is updated in Beacon, send an email

  • When an event record is created in Beacon, create an event in your Outlook or Google Calendar

Note: This feature requires Beacon workflows

Here's how to set it up:

  1. First, you will need to connect Zapier to your Beacon account.

  2. Next, set up your workflow in Beacon:

    When choosing your workflow 'Actions', you will be able to choose 'Trigger a Zap' from the available options.

  3. When choosing to 'Trigger a Zap', the 'Action' section will display the following warning message:

    ⚠️ No published Zap is configured to use this workflow yet

    Save this workflow, visit Zapier, and select this workflow as a Zap's trigger. Publish the Zap to complete setup.

    The warning advises you that there is not yet a Zap configured in Zapier to receive data from this workflow; this is expected behaviour. You now need to navigate to Zapier and configure the Zap - but remember to save the workflow first!

  4. When configuring your Zap in Zapier, you'll have the option to choose the Beacon app from the list of available triggers.

  5. You will then see the 'Workflow action' in the list of available events

  6. Next, you will be prompted to choose from a list of available Beacon workflows which workflow should trigger this Zap.

    This will show you a list of all the workflows in your Beacon account on which there is a ‘Trigger a Zap’ action.

    Note: Workflows must be saved in order to appear in this list, but they do not need to be enabled.

  7. When prompted to 'Test your trigger' by Zapier, an example payload from the Beacon database will then be pulled to enable you to configure the subsequent actions - this payload is intended to be as accurately representative as possible of the payloads that the Zap will receive in real life, but it will not be perfect, so further refinements may be needed.

    💡 Here, Zapier is pulling an example of the type of data that will be available on this event. Since no event has happened during the initial configuration stage, there's no way to be completely certain of the data that will be available when this event does occur. For example, if the Beacon workflow that triggers this Zap is itself triggered 'on [donation] form submission', there will always be a Person created, but there could be either a Payment or Subscription created too. This will depend on the actions of the person submitting the form. It is important to bear this in mind when configuring your subsequent actions.

  8. Configure your actions and publish your Zap

  9. Navigate back to the workflow you created in Beacon and you should see that your Zap has been registered to be triggered by this workflow, each time it runs.


Zapier templates

Here are some templates for Beacon Zaps we've created before, or found useful!

Note: The following headings are collapsible. Click on each heading (e.g. 'Eventbrite') in order to see more details

Eventbrite

Automatically add registrations to Beacon

Will create:

  • Person

  • Event

  • Ticket

  • Event attendee

  • Payment

If you run both paid and free events through Eventbrite, you can add 'Paths' so that payments aren't created for free tickets:

Emails

Log email against specific record using ID in the subject line

Add the Record ID to your subject lines (e.g. "Case reference: 1234") and Bcc a Zapier email address to log the email against that record. You can include the regular Beacon Bcc email address if you'd like to log it against the Person also!


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I attach files to records in Beacon using Zapier?

No. Beacon's API does not have a method of attaching files to records and therefore it is not possible through Zapier either. You can attach files to records in Beacon in the following ways:

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