There were many exciting announcements at Microsoft’s Ignite this year, and there is plenty of great content out there providing summaries. One announcement we want to highlight – and are excited about as we work with so many great not-for-profits – is the general availability of their industry cloud: Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit (not-for-profit here in Australia).
We see a lot of silos in many not-for-profit organisations, silos which result in data all over the place and manual processes between disparate systems. We see frustrations around:
- Lack of insight. Hours and days are spent in manual processes around fundraising, volunteer management, and reporting which mean cost and time is diverted from the mission.
- The inability to attract and retain donors and volunteers.
- Uncertainties around security risk.
With their not-for-profit industry specific cloud, Microsoft wants to help your organisation meet these four key priorities so that the challenges mentioned above can be addressed:
- Know your donors and supporters.
- Deliver effective programming.
- Accelerate mission outcomes.
- Secure donor and program participant data.
Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit provides industry specific solutions leveraging capabilities in the Microsoft technology you may already be using – Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Dynamics 365, and Azure. These solutions are targeted at addressing the above four scenarios and do so in a unified way.
Microsoft had previously released some of the components such as the Common Data Model for not-for-profit (which all the solutions hinge on) and Fundraising and Engagement. The release earlier in the months includes improved versions of previously available solutions, plus additional tools. These tools help with critical aspects for NFP’s such as to attract, retain, and manage volunteers; reviewing program performance; and ensuring your data is secure.
With so much competition for people’s times these day’s, it is important to make your volunteers and donors love giving their time to you. Here’s how the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit will help you achieve that and more:
1 | Know your donors and supporters.
Fundraising & Engagement is the star here and has been around for a while. It has been improved with its latest release. It’s all about having a holistic view of our most important stakeholders: our constituents, donors, and volunteers. It manages things that are often manual, or done in other systems like donations, transactions, campaigns, and events. In the recent release, this has extended to managing marketing journeys for your constituents. Fundraising and Engagement are built on Dynamics 365 Sales, and the new marketing journey builds on Dynamics 365 Marketing.
2 | Deliver effective programming.
Here we have solutions focusing on the management and requirements around volunteers. There are four components to this:
- A Power Apps for Volunteer Management, allowing your volunteer managers to see volunteer profiles and to schedule and plan, invite suitable candidates, track, and approve volunteers for each event. Lots more too!
- A Power Apps Portal for volunteers to see what events/activities you have scheduled, the details, and how to apply if they are free/qualified/interested.
- A SharePoint template to provide a central hub for everyone to access documents/material relating to volunteers, for example onboarding material and training.
- A Teams template so your team can easily collaborate, and that is linked to Volunteer Management.
3 | Accelerate mission outcomes.
Often there isn’t an easy, automated way to gain insight into the impact of your fundraising activities, or the programs being delivered. Microsoft has provided a template in Power BI to simplify this and give your organisation access to insights that perhaps it’s never had before.
4 | Secure donor and program participant data.
This one is huge. NFP’s are a big target for attackers and with a lot of sensitive data at stake, organisations really need to get stronger when it comes to security. This is a set of offerings designed specifically for NFP’s to help assess risks and then provide a strategy to move forward.
All the solutions are built on the Not-for-profit Common Data Model which will provide a highly prized unified point of view – a single place for the data to connect to technology. This is why we can move on from the challenges of siloed data and disparate systems, and have a single point of view.
At Professional Advantage, we are really excited about the potential of all the solutions from the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. They provide us with a great starting point to help your organisation be more productive and effective with industry specific solutions, either by using them as they come or working with us to tailor them to your requirements. They are also designed to be modular, so you can start small, then expand when needed. More importantly, they are part of the technology most likely already in use in your organisation such as Microsoft 365, reducing the need to add third-party solutions which in the past may have been necessary.
If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit and how Professional Advantage can help, please leave a comment below or contact us at 1800 126 499.