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Since 2017, Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact initiative has been working to empower the nonprofit sector. As part of that effort two years ago, we released our Common Data Model for Nonprofits, a set of best practices represented as data entities, attributes, and relationships.

The Common Data Model is essentially a Rosetta Stone that helps nonprofits relate data across applications and platforms, and it is the foundation for all of the technology we create for the sector.

Nonprofits represent a wide diversity of mission types and beneficiaries served, but these organizations share many scenarios common to all. Every nonprofit has to fundraise and partner with constituents and donors. At the same time, donors want to understand how their contributions drive impact. This requires nonprofits to support strong, diversified funding portfolios grounded in transparent data and reporting.

Our top priority is getting technology into the hands of nonprofits to help them be more successful. The tech sector has a responsibility to provide an easier and less costly path for nonprofits to modernize its fundraising and constituent management programs. And with the impact COVID-19 has had, there has never been a more critical time to deliver on that vision.

That is why I’m announcing a new milestone in that journey today, with the release of Fundraising and Engagement for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, a Microsoft solution built with MISSION CRM.

Engagement and impact delivered

Fundraising and Engagement is a comprehensive solution designed to help fundraisers, marketers, and development operations staff transform the way they work with workflows and business logic to match their priorities.

The solution supports the most common fundraising scenarios across multiple donation types and channels—including major and annual giving, recurring gift and membership programs, opportunity and designation management, and household and life event management.

Marketers can leverage campaign, package, and appeal workflows, along with insights and campaign segmentation tools available on the Microsoft platform, to execute informed campaigns. Finance, database administrators, and business analysts will love that payment processing, data management, and business intelligence are powered by Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI.

The Common Data Model removes the silos between all of these activities. Since alignment of funding to programs and projects is at the core of the solution, it can deliver proactive insights and business intelligence to transform reporting, strengthen existing relationships and uncover new opportunities for growth.

The solution leverages Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Azure, and as part of Microsoft’s ecosystem of products, it integrates with Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Power BI, and Microsoft Power Platform through the Common Data Service to deliver the most robust digital platform available to nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofits can now transform how they manage their full lifecycle of fundraising. This is an incredibly powerful application that allows organizations to truly digitize their operations without requiring substantial investments in customized solutions.

Customer spotlight: Right To Play

MISSION CRM’s work with Right To Play offers an early look into the value of this new solution. Since 2017, Right To Play has been working with MISSION CRM to digitize its operations in support of an outreach initiative to acquire new donors.

Before working with MISSION CRM, Right To Play had been handling the initiative manually, leading to challenges and delays. Payment confirmation often took a full day, and the organization had a difficult time projecting revenues, adding high volumes of new donors, and rolling out programs to help more children.

Fundraising and Engagement has automated many processes and improved workflows to allow Right to Play to focus on relationships and programs. Today, donor information is imported directly into the system, so Right To Play can dynamically assess revenue streams. The solution also facilitates greater transparency with stakeholders about program results and challenges. Donors know exactly where their dollars are going and the impact they are having.

Fundraising and Engagement has enabled Right To Play to scale from 100 to more than 3,000 new stakeholders per month, managing a broad and international portfolio of donors, engaging them in new ways—and building better programs and serve more than two million children each and every week.

Partnership with MISSION CRM highlights opportunity for ISVs

Right To Play’s story shows how the shift from paper or manual processes to truly digital workflows can improve both operational efficiency and programmatic efficacy, while allowing an organization to more quickly and transparently tell that impact story to donors.

Historically, realizing that kind of digital transformation in a nonprofit has come with a unique set of challenges. Nonprofits haven’t had a wealth of choice in configured solutions. Many have had to adopt a hodgepodge of applications for different fundraising needs.

This patchwork approach obscures insights, creates manual workarounds, and is expensive to maintain. Integrating applications to create efficiency and insight can require costly development or significant manual effort every month. Many nonprofits are unable to make those investments.

MISSION CRM was one of the first ISVs that engaged with Microsoft around the Common Data Model concept to solve this problem. In partnering to build Fundraising and Engagement, Microsoft and MISSION CRM bring together a mature data model built on the most secure, scalable platform to raise the standard of what technology can deliver to the sector and really light up any nonprofit organization.

Delivering this on a rich cross-cloud ecosystem makes it easy for partners to integrate with and innovate from a trusted platform supported by Microsoft. Partners effectively require only a single integration point with Microsoft to provide interoperability and exchange of data. This allows Microsoft and its partners to innovate towards productivity, online collaboration, rich data insights, operations and financials, and program design.

Three years of TSI: looking ahead

Three years ago, we started the Tech for Social Impact initiative. At the time, Microsoft worked with about 60,000 nonprofits worldwide. Today, we work with more than 200,000 organizations, and our engagement with the sector overall has deepened dramatically.

And we’re just getting started. As a platform company, Microsoft is committed to building a vibrant ecosystem with diverse expertise to deliver the most effective range of solutions. We have fostered strategic partnerships with industry-leading technology companies including Blackbaud, whose world class fundraising solutions are powered on Azure and enhanced with connectors that make it simple to integrate Blackbaud’s fundraising solutions with applications on Microsoft Power Platform and in Microsoft Office 365.

Other partners are delivering integrated solutions as well, including Adobe through our participation in the Open Data Initiative. Still others have aligned their existing solutions to the Common Data Model, including Unit4 with Oracle’s NetSuite not far behind. We have 20 launch partners such as m-hance, Barhead, Quantiq, and Avanade who are building industry-specific solutions on the Common Data Model that are interoperable with Fundraising and Engagement.

Our goal is to create an ecosystem of solutions aligned to Common Data Model. As beneficial as the Common Data Model is, it still is only a model. To truly realize its promise, it needs to be used and adopted widely. Taken together, our nonprofit partner ecosystem now has more than 200 ISVs, developers, and systems integrators supporting nonprofits worldwide.

A graphic of partner brands and their logos appearing in a circle with a green circle in the middle with white text that says 200 + partners and growing

In this challenging time, we recognize that it’s not just about the technology. Applications tailored for nonprofit workflows go a long way to reduce the cost of modernizing the digital ecosystem at any charitable organization, just as important is the ability to adopt and effectively use this technology. That is why we combine all of our technology offerings with free training and affordable, ethical pricing. To help nonprofits get started with Fundraising and Engagement, we are announcing a grant available by end of this calendar year. Qualified nonprofits can get Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise free for up to five users, as well as Microsoft Power Apps (per App plan) free for up to 10 users. Sign up for alerts to receive a notification when the offers are ready.

The solution we are announcing today is part of this broad commitment to the nonprofit technology ecosystem. We are committed to working with tech companies large and small to align their solutions to Common Data Model, and we’ll have more of those to announce later in 2020.

Ultimately, people don’t go to work for a nonprofit to worry about technology. They are focused on the mission of their organizations. Working with our partners around the world, Microsoft is delivering tools for nonprofits that reflect their business and those priorities right out of the box.

Learn more

To learn more, join us October 27, 2020 for the “Introducing Fundraising and Engagement for Dynamics 365 Sales” launch event. In this virtual session with live Q&A, you’ll get a deep dive into Fundraising and Engagement with Microsoft experts and Microsoft partner MISSION CRM, see a demo, and hear a panel discussion with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada on the impact this solution is having on their organization.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!

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