4 Considerations When Thinking About Moving to Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit
1 | Integrations
Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit integrates with the full range of Microsoft products, including (but not limited to) the entire Microsoft Office suite, Power Automate, and Power BI. And since it uses a common data model, third-party integrations are relatively painless. You can find an enormous range of these products on Microsoft AppSource or use PowerApps or Microsoft Power Automate to develop in-house custom solutions with low code requirements. Having the ability to instantly connect the platform to nearly every other tool in the Microsoft universe can be incredibly useful. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is a Microsoft-native solution that offers email marketing automation, event management, survey design, LinkedIn integration, and more. For integration with other marketing tools (such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact) and event registration tools (such as Eventbrite), Dynamics 365 Customer Insights can connect using third-party connectors, such as Zapier or Codeless Platforms.
2 | Automations
Workflows in Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit can be used to automate business processes. This can help to increase efficiency by eliminating the need for manual intervention in repetitive or time-consuming tasks. For example, a workflow can be set up to automatically send a thank-you email to donors after they make donations. This eliminates the need for a staff member to manually send the email and ensures that donors are promptly thanked for their contributions. Another example: Automatically assigning tasks to volunteers based on their skills and availability, streamlining the volunteer management process, and ensuring that tasks are assigned efficiently. Automation made possible through Dynamics 365 Customer Insights can help with nurturing donors, managing pledges, aligning development and marketing, and making smarter decisions toward growth. Constituent marketing journeys enable nonprofit marketing teams to personalize outreach to donors and volunteers based on their history and interactions with the organization, including leveraging pre-built segments, supporter journeys, and email templates.
3 | Staffing and User Experience
With an abundance of features and customizable implementation solutions available, Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit requires time to configure. And as with any platform, there will be a learning curve to administer it. With a standard license, there is advanced support available. However, we suggest that your IT team be involved in the process of standing up the solution, running updates, and administering your Microsoft solutions. For staffing considerations, keep in mind that either your staff or a vendor will need to monitor, run, test, and roll out updates. For end users, there could be a certain level of inherent familiarity for staff who are accustomed to working in other Microsoft tools due to the similar look-and-feel, layout, and way of navigating the user interface of Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. The interface is also highly customizable based on role so that users are not faced with an excess of information they do not need to see. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit also has several search and query tools that allow users to easily, quickly, and securely find key information stored in the database, without needing to navigate to a new app or page.
4 | The "Unknown"
If you are comparing Microsoft solutions for nonprofits directly with those from Salesforce, you will likely notice that Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit hasn’t been in the market as long. Therefore, there are not as many real-world examples of nonprofits using it. But keep in mind that while Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit is relatively new, the Microsoft company and its underlying technology are proven and trusted.
Microsoft has demonstrated a commitment to continued innovation and listening to feedback from the nonprofit sector. The company also has a compelling vision for the future of their solutions for the nonprofit sector. And with AI now at the forefront of conversations across industries, Microsoft is not only at the cutting edge of innovating in this space but also is translating those developments into Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit.