Finalsite offers data integration with Blackbaud’s (BB) Education Management system. This integration utilizes the SKY API’s School API. This integration can be configured to integrate the following types of data:
User data, including faculty, students, and parents. These are the most commonly targeted roles (as defined in BB), but any role can be targeted. Available roles in Finalsite are determined by your contract details.
Athletics data, including teams, rosters/coaches, and events.
Admissions/Candidate information for use with Finalsite’s Messages and Workflows functionality.
The available datapoints are detailed in this document. As described in that document, we map a number of the fields by default to what we determine is the logical “home” for those fields in Finalsite. However, the integration is fully configurable, so fields marked “custom” can be set to pull from the feed into Finalsite, fields can be adjusted, and fields can be removed, depending on your specific needs. Your deployment specialist will work with you on that “mapping.”
In order to access your data and begin setting up the integration, you will need to ensure some prerequisites are taken care of in Blackbaud. This is documented here: https://developer.blackbaud.com/skyapi/apis/school/admin-prereq
If you are currently using the “On” integration, and are looking to add the Admissions/Candidate sync, we will need to migrate your existing integration to the School API version, which is a relatively painless process and your existing mapping can be recreated in the new integration.
To configure access in Blackbaud, you will need to install an application in your Education Management environment. The process for this is documented here: https://developer.blackbaud.com/skyapi/apis/school/connect-app. Your deployment specialist will provide you with the Application ID you need to complete this step.
Once the application is installed in Blackbaud, you will need to grant consent to the application to access your data. This is a simple process of accessing a link in Finalsite, logging into your Blackbaud, and acknowledging that you allow the Finalsite app to access your data. It is important to note that the user granting access needs to have access to the data that Finalsite will need access to. For Admissions, this requires the user to have the Admissions Manager role.
Please note that if the admin account in Blackbaud that grants this consent has rights removed or is removed in Blackbaud, the integration will no longer be able to access your data. If this is a change that will happen (for example, an employee is leaving your school) please notify Support so we can assist you in re-granting consent.
We may need you to go through this process twice if we utilize a clone site in setting up your integration, which is common to avoid any complications on your live site as we go through the deployment process.
If you use the Raiser’s Edge NXT integration, that is a separate (but similar) process. More information on that process can be found in this article: Raiser's Edge NXT integration.
Once access to your data is established, the remainder of the deployment can proceed with:
Determining which feeds in Finalsite will be needed and what roles in BB will be targeted, etc.
Testing the feeds, refining mapping
If you have existing data in your live site, determining whether data will be purged and repopulated or rekeyed to avoid creating duplicate accounts
Going live with the integration, and scheduling feeds to run
User integration includes faculty, students, parents, and any other roles/feeds created. This is all sourced from the User Changed endpoint in the SKY API. This feed runs hourly to pull new and updated users that have been changed in the last 24 hours. Once nightly, we pull the entire dataset to identify all users still “on the feed.” Users who are no longer on the feed are not automatically removed from Finalsite, but we offer an “Off Feed Utility” that can be used to deactivate these users that we have not seen on the feed in 48 hours.
We are also able to create and update athletics information in Athletics Manager with data sourced from Blackbaud. This includes teams, rosters/coaches, and events. This feed has a configurable range of events (we default to 6 months forward and 2 months back), and will run hourly to create/update data in that range. Additionally, every 15 minutes we run the feed to look for changes to events 1 month back and 1 month forward to catch those urgent last-minute changes. Practices can be included or excluded per your choice.
Additional team information
Teams from BB are synced by their team name (e.g. "Varsity Soccer"). The sync will not set properties for the team, as that information is vital to how the team displays in Finalsite. However, the sync will not overwrite team properties, so once a team is imported you can set those values and they will persist through synchronizations. If a “blank” team comes through, you can set the properties by referencing the ImportId for the team in the Team Properties view.
If you have existing teams in Finalsite when the sync is deployed, we will work with you to rekey the existing teams. However, if you see a team imported that SHOULD be matching an existing team, you can ensure that team is updated via the sync.
First, copy the importid value from the newly created team (the duplicate)
Delete the duplicate team, which will also delete the events
Paste the importid into the original team (the one that be updated via the integration)
At that point, Finalsite Support will need to reset the feed, so please contact us or your deployment contact to do that. The events will be attached to the proper team without creating a duplicate beginning with the next integration run.
For the sync to work ideally, you should be naming your teams consistently year to year. So if you have a "Boys Varsity Football" team in one year and then name it "Varsity Boys Football" the next year, the integration will see these as two different teams. You can correct this by following the instructions for a duplicate team above, and put the new importid on the original team (e.g. replace the "boys-varsity-football" importid on that team with "varsity-boys-football").
Finally, make sure that there is a team in Finalsite for every team in BB, and vice versa. Teams can only be mapped 1-to-1, and cannot be combined, duplicated, split, etc.
Note: In order for teams/events to be visible for Finalsite to sync them, teams need to be published in BB, as well as published to the website.
As with teams, you can update/set properties for the Opponents and Locations in Finalsite, and that will persist. Again, this is done on string matching, so a location named "Belmont HS" in BB won’t sync with "Belmont High School" in Finalsite. Ensuring that your opponents and locations are consistently named in both BB and Finalsite will keep the Finalsite data cleaner.
The sync will not automatically delete events that are deleted in BB. The best practice here is to mark the event as "Cancelled," which will be reflected in the event’s status in Finalsite. Also, it's a good idea to ensure that events are only published in Core after they've been confirmed and finalized, to minimize the number of corrections needed.
If you do need to identify deleted events in Finalsite, you can use the “Off Feed Utility” to do that.
Rosters should stay up to date with the sync if this option is enabled. This can be toggled on and off, so if you would prefer to not sync rosters until they are finalized, we can disable this and then re-enable it once they are complete. Roster sync can be requested via a Support ticket, but for best results, give Support advance notice of the date it should be enabled as you are working on your integration. The sync will clear existing rosters as well, so if you want to utilize the roster option, it should be for ALL teams. Split management of rosters/coaches is not supported.
Blackbaud Enrollment Management
Finalsite now offers an integration with Blackbaud’s Enrollment Management software. This integration will source candidate information, including status, and relationships, to facilitate using Finalsite’s marketing and communication tools to nurture families through the admissions process.
Note: Users from the Blackbaud integration will not match on users already in Finalsite. If a user from Blackbaud already exists in Constituent Manager, a duplicate user will be created.
How it works
The integration will run hourly, creating new records and updating existing records in Finalsite. Candidates are sourced from the “Candidate List” endpoint in the SKY API. The parents are sourced from the “Users Changed” endpoint, which will also serve to set up the relationships that will be needed to facilitate communication with parents based on their child(ren)’s status and other admissions specific information.
In Finalsite, there will be a new role for these users: Blackbaud Admissions.
Additionally, when the integration is created, we will create a group structure based on the admissions checklist defined in Blackbaud utilizing the “Checklist Status List” endpoint. This will create a group of nodes in Groups Manager that will track candidate statuses as they update in Blackbaud. It will also create a corresponding node of groups including parents based on their child(ren)’s status in the admissions process. These are not editable in Finalsite, but can be built off of to create specific groups for Workflows or Messages lists.
If you make updates to the Checklist in Blackbaud, you should reach out to Finalsite Support to coordinate that change to ensure the data in Finalsite remains accurate.
Use your Finalsite website to drive interested parties to your Blackbaud inquiry form, where they will be “picked up” by the integration.
Nurture those inquiries using Workflows or Messages and get them to apply using your Blackbaud application.
Follow up with those applicants using Messages or Workflows.
Create targeted segments with the data you have available to tailor information specifically to the recipient.
Schools with Blackbaud Education Management integrations can allow users to log into the website using their Blackbaud usernames and passwords.
When Blackbaud Authentication is activated, you can have your users log in to Finalsite via Blackbaud in two ways:
You can put a link pointing users to “Login with Blackbaud” on your login page.
You can use “Staggered Login” so that users will enter their username directly in Finalsite. If that user is configured to authenticate with Blackbaud, they will be redirected to BLackbaud for authentication.
In either scenario, once the user is redirected to Blackbaud for authentication, then:
IF THEY ARE LOGGED INTO BLACKBAUD ALREADY, they will be immediately authenticated in Finalsite and land on the appropriate portal
IF THEY ARE NOT LOGGED INTO BLACKBAUD ALREADY, they will be redirected to the Blackbaud login page where they can enter their credentials. If the credentials are valid, they will be redirected back to Finalsite and land on the appropriate portal.
Once logged into Finalsite this way, the user is authenticated in both systems. This means that users who click links from the Finalsite portal to protected areas of Blackbaud would land on the appropriate page, without having to login again.
It is important to note that when using staggered logins, ALL users in the roles that login via Blackbaud will need to have their own Blackbaud account. Users in these roles who ONLY have Finalsite accounts (and not Blackbaud accounts) will not be able to login.
The setup for this is documented by Blackbaud here: https://developer.blackbaud.com/skyapi/apis/school/sso-tutorial. Your deployment specialist will provide you with more detailed steps if you are configuring authentication via Blackbaud.