Explained In 30 Seconds: What Is An API?

GlobalGiving’s Business Partnerships team member Kayla O’Neill Carriker answers a frequently asked technology question: “What is an API, and how can my company use it for social good?”



Q: What is an API?

A: API is an acronym. It stands for Application Programming Interface, which is a method for letting a program work with another app or website. For example, with GlobalGiving’s API, you can seamlessly build giving experiences directly into your app or website for your users and connect them with thousands of vetted organizations and projects around the globe.

Q: How do companies around the world use GlobalGiving’s API?

A: As the original nonprofit crowdfunding platform, GlobalGiving has an extensive community of vetted global nonprofits and a trusted donation platform. Companies have customers and employees who want to give to a good cause, but they often don’t want their customers and employees to have to become familiar with another platform or leave their own website. Companies can use GlobalGiving’s free charity API to access our portfolio of more than 7,000 projects in 160+ countries, including the United States, and put choice in their users’ hands. Our API allows you to include great causes and content in your user interface, and even allows for donation processing, meaning users can select and give to a charity directly through a company’s website or app, and we’ll handle the rest.

Q: So, an API is similar in some ways to a website widget or plug-in?

A: Yes. It enables any website to display charitable projects by country, region, and theme, for purposes as varied as birthday celebrations and earthquake response.

Q: How does the GlobalGiving API enable credit card donations?

A: We built our API upon Braintree’s extensive credit card payment solutions so that you can leverage Braintree’s robust hosted payment architecture while still flowing funds to charitable causes in 160 countries. This means you don’t have to worry about the complex details of PCI compliance or IRS regulations for charitable donations.

Q: How have companies used GlobalGiving’s Charity API?

A: Here are some ways innovative companies have used this technology:

    API By Country or Region, a UK fundraising website, incorporates GlobalGiving’s UK-eligible project portfolio. And SDGfunders, a project of the Foundation Center, integrates projects that align with each of the Sustainable Development Goals into its philanthropy platform.
    API By Theme, a program founded by Gucci, Beyonce, and Salma Hayek, uses our API to allow visitors to see, fund, and read updates on projects designed to improve the lives of women and girls globally.
    API For Employee Giving
    Benevity provides companies with a one-stop shop for global employee engagement, featuring all international organizations vetted by GlobalGiving. They handle the user interface; we handle the global disbursements.
    API For Cause Marketing
    The Guestbook lets customers donate 5 percent of their purchase to the charity of their choice.
    API For Celebrations allows users to fundraise in honor of a special occasion with charitable wedding registries and birthday fundraising pages. By integrating with our API, they are able to incorporate even more projects around the world.
    API For E-Commerce
    The Give & Grow Shopify app from Pledgeling seamlessly integrates donations into online shopping by allowing business owners to choose a cause, donation amount, color scheme, and the icon to be displayed for their products.
    API For Disaster Response was an engaging site designed to raise funds for the Japan earthquake relief efforts in 2011.

Is your company interested in using the GlobalGiving API?


Featured Photo: Give Argentine Youth a Chance by Fundacion Cimientos

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