One of the industries we focus on is the non-profit sector. We’ve worked with dozens of non-profit organizations over the past decade, from those that serve local communities to worldwide organizations. We’re continually inspired by what they accomplish with tight budgets and limited resources, and we’re happy when we can introduce technology that helps make a difference.
That’s why we’re so excited about what’s going on with Microsoft’s non-profit team. In 2017, Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact (TSI) group was formed to focus on connecting Microsoft partners with non-profits to help them succeed with the help of affordable and accessible technology. We’re honored to have had the opportunity to work with TSI.
Microsoft’s latest effort in support of the non-profit sector, is possibly the most exciting: the release of the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. This suite of applications connects the cloud capabilities of the Microsoft stack to the most common challenges faced by nonprofits, pulling workflows and data sources from across the organization together onto a single platform, enabling them to work smarter and accelerate their mission without a big budget hit.
Available fully in the second half of 2021, this development couldn’t have come at a better time, with the pandemic disrupting everything from fundraising to operations to delivery of services. Here are 6 reasons why we’re excited about it:
#1 The Nonprofit Common Data Model was the first component of the product, released in 2018, and forms its foundation. Essentially a common language for nonprofits and their technology partners, the Nonprofit Common Data Model is a platform-agnostic set of entities, attributes, and relationships addressing common non-profit scenarios.
#2 The Dynamics 365 Nonprofit accelerator helps non-profits eliminate data silos, enabling them to gain insights from their data regardless of where it’s housed. It provides a uniform platform that lets non-profits connect, embed, or extend Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to support core processes like program delivery, constituent & volunteer management, fundraising, impact measurement, and more. Most importantly, the accelerator is designed to reduce the cost of development, freeing money for building more solutions and supporting other efforts.
#3 Fundraising and Engagement for Dynamics 365 Sales is a Microsoft app designed to help non-profits manage donors and raise funds. Fundraising requires the ability to show your donors and funders that their money is being spent wisely. By breaking down silos across programs and operations, Fundraising and Engagement drives the required insights to accelerate mission, efficacy, and back-office efficiency, enabling organizations to follow the flow of funding from initial gift through to program delivery and on to impact measurement. This also helps with understanding donor propensity and designing personalized engagement to improve fundraising.
#4 Support for front-line staff and volunteers is one of our favorite attributes. Those individuals are the backbone of any non-profit, and they need tools that enable them to be more efficient, with the right data at their fingertips and efficient processes, so they can keep the focus where it should be–on their clients, not paperwork and red tape.
#5 Attracting donors and supporters is critical to any non-profit, and Microsoft has made sure the platform makes it easier to attract, retain, and grow the donor/supporter base, as well as being better able to handle the different ways they give through individual donations, planned giving, gift and-kind grants, recurring, etc.
#6 Volunteers who give their time to non-profits are invaluable to the success of the organizations they support, and the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit helps organizations manage volunteers with better engagement and collaboration to ensure they’re being used for the maximum impact. It helps with the design of programs and services as well as tracking outcomes.
And there’s more…
New capabilities for Fundraising and Engagement will be released in April 2021, including rapid donation management and payment processing capabilities, constituent research powered by LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and proactive insights to improve constituent engagement. Additional tools, Volunteer Engagement and Volunteer Management, will be in public preview by the end of June and generally available in the second half of 2021. All these solutions will be supported globally and will be localized in the near future.