If you've developed a software integration with Planning Center Giving (or perhaps you've thought about developing one) then this update is for you! As of today, Giving now supports webhooks.
In the past few years, we've seen the list of 3rd party integrations grow. We also know that more companies and open source projects would like to build integrations that work with Planning Center Giving if it was easier to do so. Webhooks drastically simplify the process of developing robust 3rd party integrations – especially those which keep data in sync or use data updates in Giving to trigger their own actions.
What Are Webhooks?
A webhook is a message sent from from our software system to yours, letting you know about some new (or changed) data. You tell us what kinds of data you're interested in tracking, give us a URL, and we'll send a webhook to that URL as soon as that data changes.
Instead of having to periodically look for changes to the Giving database, your application can now have them delivered fresh.
Keeping Data In Sync, Sustainably
Many 3rd party integrations are interested in both new data and changes to existing data. Before webhooks, your system would have to periodically inspect existing data using the API to identify changes and keep your data in sync. This periodic check is known as "API polling".
For example, if a $200 donation was designated to the General fund, and then later updated to the Missions fund, your application would have to actively check that donation record every so often to be aware of such a change.
Polling works fine for smaller data sets, but gets really cumbersome (on both sides) when the data sets are huge; especially for some churches with massive donation databases going back years and years.
Webhooks help avoid that need for API polling, making the task of data syncing much faster and more efficient.
Updated Integration Guide
Building a robust donation syncing system is no small task. Every donation management system has a different way of organizing and storing its databases, and Planning Center Giving is no exception.
To help you with your Planning Center Giving integration, we've written a guide: Giving Donations Integration. This guide has been written with development teams in mind and is partly a result of working with 3rd party development teams over the past few years. We answer common questions, provide code samples, and explore the best practices. We've added a new section about webhooks so be sure to check it out.
Getting Started With Webhooks
To get started, we suggest that you check out the guide for an overview of what it looks like to build an integration with Planning Center Giving. Next, visit the API documentation to familiarize yourself with the Planning Center API. While reviewing the documentation, you'll see the section on webhooks.
When you're ready to set up your subscriptions and plug in your delivery URLs, you'll do that in the "Webhooks" section of your user account.
You can use a single URL to catch all webhook deliveries or multiple URL's to segment specific kinds of data.
Once webhooks are firing, you can use the developer interface to inspect the webhook delivery history. You'll find that you can also use the API itself to get information about webhooks subscriptions and data deliveries (so meta!).
Our hope with this update is to give 3rd party developers a better, more sustainable way to build meaningful integrations with Planning Center Giving. We love it when other systems are able to interact with Giving data and we know our customers do too.
~ Team Giving