Many nonprofits depend on high-powered tech tools to engage with constituents, process donor data, research new prospects, and a host of other mission-critical activities. The nonprofit tech space is changing and evolving every day, but the key principle remains the same: modern nonprofits deserve fully-integrated tech stacks with tools that can connect and collaborate.
One great (and affordable) constituent relationship management (CRM) option to help you reach your fundraising goals is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits.
More than likely, your nonprofit is already familiar with Microsoft products and uses its tools like Word, Excel, and Teams to conduct everyday fundraising activities and run essential operations. Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits is a CRM solution from Microsoft to help nonprofits accelerate their missions. This development is one of the latest in Microsoft’s efforts to power social good, and it’s a platform that you’ll likely be hearing a lot more about in the coming years as it continues to gain even more features.
At its core, Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits is a CRM system, but it’s built to be one component of a larger ecosystem. One of the reasons it’s so powerful is because it can be implemented alongside other tools that run on the same data language, called the Nonprofit Common Data Model. With Dynamics 365, you can establish a complete structure of data management tools and fundraising, engagement, and productivity apps. Your apps can all work together, from prospect research to email marketing.
Of course, with such a powerful system, there’s a lot to unpack. We’re going to take a deep dive into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits, exploring main features and discussing our favorite integration, DonorSearch for Microsoft.
Up next, we’ll cover topics including:
- What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits?
- Microsoft Dynamics for Nonprofits: Top Features
- DonorSearch’s Microsoft Dynamics 365 Integration
Use these links to jump straight to the section that interests you most, or follow along with us from the beginning. Understanding the ins and outs of Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you optimize your use of the platform. Let’s jump in.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits?
Microsoft Dynamic 365 for Nonprofits is a feature-rich CRM system that runs on the Power Platform using the Nonprofit Common Data Model (CDM). It was created as a part of the Microsoft Tech for Social Impact initiative. In order to get up and running with Dynamics 365 quickly and efficiently, you can start off with the Nonprofit Accelerator.
Have questions? We’ve got answers. We’ll break down each of the main components and how they all fit together.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Vocabulary
In order to understand the entire landscape of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits, there are a few key terms you’ll need to know:
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits
- Microsoft Tech for Social Impact (TSI)
- Nonprofit Common Data Model (CDM)
- Nonprofit Accelerator
- Microsoft Power Platform
By the end of this section, you’ll understand all of the main products and acronyms you’ll come across.
Putting the Pieces Together
To help conceptualize the entire ecosystem of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits, we’ve created a visual that ties each component together.
- The Common Data Model (CDM) is a standardized data framework from Microsoft that allows data to be stored and used in a uniform way across a variety of cloud-based applications. There is both a general CDM as well as CDMs for different industries such as healthcare, higher education, and of course, nonprofits.
- The Nonprofit Common Data Model (Nonprofit CDM), is a data structure specifically designed for nonprofit organizations. The Nonprofit CDM is a common open-source language that can be used by a variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.
- The Power Platform refers to the apps, programs, and workflows that actually use these data models. The Power Platform includes Power Apps (like Office 365), Power BI, Power Automate, and…
- Microsoft Dynamics 365, which is a constituent relationship management (CRM) system that can be specifically configured for the use of nonprofits. Because it is built using the Nonprofit CDM, donor data (and other entities and attributes) can easily flow back and forth between anything else that shares that common language, bringing us to…
- Custom Cloud-Based Solutions and Apps, which can be built by Microsoft partners, third-parties, or anyone who wishes to leverage the Nonprofit CDM to create end-to-end solutions for nonprofits.
- The Nonprofit Accelerator is a starter suite of some top picks of third-party apps and CRM views designed to address some of the most pressing issues nonprofits face. It’s meant to enable nonprofits and developers to create solutions rapidly, hence the term accelerator.
- Finally, it should be noted that Microsoft’s philanthropic initiative called TSI (Technology for Social Impact) is the driving force behind each of these nonprofit-focused programs.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits: Top Features
The entire Microsoft TSI ecosystem has a lot to explore and unpack, but at its core, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits is a CRM system. It’s intended to help your organization process and leverage data about your supporters.
To do so, Microsoft Dynamics for Nonprofits offers features including:
And remember: these features are only the tip of the iceberg on what’s possible with Dynamics 365 once you start exploring the multitude of integration partners.
Why is Microsoft Dynamics 365 an easy choice for nonprofits?
- Familiar. Microsoft is the legacy choice for many nonprofits, as your team likely already well-acquainted with their other offerings of productivity and processing software. This familiarity makes it easy to get up and running with Dynamics 365. Plus, the seamless connection between your CRM and the rest of your tech stack will prove invaluable.
- Flexible. Thanks to the open-source Nonprofit CDM, Dynamics 365 is endlessly configurable to meet your nonprofit’s unique needs. Many nonprofit software providers (including us at DonorSearch) offer additional solutions that integrate directly with Dynamics 365.
- Affordable. Microsoft’s generous support of nonprofits across its TSI initiative makes this platform an affordable option for a range of nonprofits. The free software, extensive hardware discounts, and grants are a hard deal to match.
- Easy to adopt. Because of all the powerful features and benefits, there is a relatively low barrier to entry for nonprofits who want to take advantage of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for nonprofits. While implementing a new CRM is often a complex process, preconfigured options like the Nonprofit Accelerator make it accessible to organizations that don’t have a nonprofit tech expert on staff.
DonorSearch’s Microsoft Dynamics 365 Integration
At DonorSearch, we specialize in empowering nonprofits with the valuable prospect research data they need to conduct effective fundraising initiatives. In line with this mission, we’ve launched the first-ever prospect research app to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other products built on the Power Platform. This revolutionary combination of tech and intelligence will help nonprofits across the globe to amplify their impact.
Conduct powerful prospect research.
With DonorSearch for Microsoft, your team can generate insights through a variety of features including:
- Detailed prospect profiles that are accessible with one click.
- Precisely identify high-value prospects by financial capacity and philanthropic inclination.
- Predictive modeling scores and ratings that can help you make data-driven outreach decisions.
- Detailed charitable giving history records available directly inside donor profiles.
Seamlessly connect across programs and systems.
Because DonorSearch for Microsoft is built on the Power Platform using CDM language, it seamlessly integrates with countless programs to help you work smarter. It connects easily with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits, so you can access prospect research intelligence directly within your CRM.
Additionally, DonorSearch for Microsoft is compatible with any CDM your organization might use, so it can easily be applied across industries including healthcare and education as well as the nonprofit sector.
Save time with automation.
The retrieval of DonorSearch information within the Dynamics platform can easily be automated to help your development staff work more efficiently. You can create processes that occur based on common workflows, putting valuable data at your fingertips even before you realize you need it.
For example, your team can automatically:
- Score prospects every time a gift is made.
- Retrieve profiles every time a new record is created.
Get up and running quickly.
Because DonorSearch for Microsoft plugs right into any CRM built on the Dynamic 365 stack, it’s simple to get started.
Additionally, each purchase of the app includes unlimited client support and training. We want to help you leverage our tools as effectively as possible to help you raise more for your mission.
We’ve explored the fundamentals of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits framework, and by now you should have a strong idea about how the system works and how it can benefit nonprofits. We also discussed the prospect research intelligence that can be leveraged through the DonorSearch integration with Microsoft Dynamics for Nonprofits.
One of the most exciting things is that this system is new and developing, so we can expect to see more innovative features and integrations as time goes on. More and more of your favorite nonprofit apps will join DonorSearch and Microsoft on the quest to create a connected ecosystem that helps nonprofits fulfill their missions.
The future is promising, but today’s capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits and its app integrations can still be harnessed for amazing results. To continue your research on Dynamics, head over to the Microsoft blog for plenty of detailed documentation and tutorials. For more information about how your nonprofit can leverage technology and research intelligence for more effective fundraising, explore the following additional resources:
- Virtual Training Resources for Nonprofits in 2020. It’s always smart to level-up your nonprofit’s skills. Our roundup of the best virtual training resources can help your team learn nonprofit best practices, fundraising tactics, and tech knowledge.
- 11 Salesforce Apps for Nonprofits: Essential Tools for 2020. While Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a great choice, many organizations also use the popular Salesforce CRM due to its Nonprofit Success Pack. Explore some of our favorite powerful third-party integrations.
- Major Donor Fundraising: 13 Effective Strategies for 2020. A powerful CRM like Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits can help you craft a stronger strategy for engaging major donors. For more tips on soliciting major gifts, check out this guide.