Over the past year, Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact team has worked to deliver innovation to help advance the missions and impact of nonprofits around the world. While we’ve made progress, too many nonprofits are struggling to efficiently deliver their mission and to measure and communicate their impact. This is a critical challenge in an era of unprecedented humanitarian need. From delivering aid to some of the 108 million people living with severe food insecurity each day, to providing access to basic services such as education for 68 million refugees and displaced people globally, to combatting the alarming decline in species and biomass around the world – the issues that nonprofits are tackling have never been more critical.
In context of these incredible challenges, the organizations Microsoft partners with are asking for better systems to help them deliver their mission and scale their impact. Systems that are rooted in program delivery and impact measurement. Systems that embrace common data models and leverage shared and open standards so that data and insights can be easily shared within and across organizations. Perhaps most importantly, we hear that these systems need to be designed collaboratively with the nonprofit sector, including large and small organizations as well as institutional and private donors.
In response to this feedback, we are announcing the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator which brings together solutions for nonprofits through our world-class partner ecosystem to help nonprofits improve end-to-end mission delivery and insights. These solutions will power core nonprofit processes like program delivery, constituent management, fundraising, volunteer management, impact measurement, and more. An example is the work that we’ve done with the U.S.-based consulting firm Wipfli which worked with Team Rubicon to build a volunteer management system by tapping into the power of Dynamics 365 to help organize its army of more than 80,000 volunteers. The new volunteer management system helps Team Rubicon more effectively leverage the skills of military veteran volunteers to help communities prepare for and respond to natural disasters. It will enable Team Rubicon’s leaders to see which volunteers are available at any given time and to more efficiently deploy those volunteers to impacted communities, as well as manage operations, training, equipment, donors and more. Initially developed specifically for Team Rubicon, a community version of this app will be made available in spring 2019 to nonprofits worldwide.
Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Nonprofit strategy specifically brings together three important elements:
- Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits, the first common data standard built specifically with and for the nonprofit sector, is now openly available on GitHub. The Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits is built on the Dynamics 365 Common Data Model. It is a unique solution, built from the ground up with program delivery and impact measurement in mind. It includes direct input from the world’s leading nonprofits, institutional donors and private foundations such as International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, SOS Children’s Villages, Ballmer Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to name a few. Critical to this effort is directly aligning this data model with the International Aid Transparency Initiative standard, which improves the transparency of development and humanitarian data. This unprecedented step for the nonprofit sector encourages interoperability across platforms, and helps nonprofits share data and work seamlessly across solutions, starting today.
- Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator: The Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator is a suite of sample apps, templates, and connectors specifically designed to solve the most pressing scenarios nonprofits face when delivering their programs and measuring their impact. The accelerators are meant for partners to use in their development of solutions to help reduce the cost to develop, and thus allow for more solutions to be built and available to nonprofits. To begin, we are releasing accelerators that support impact measurement and constituent management with more components available over time. These solutions help nonprofits better connect their impact to their fundraising strategies by creating opportunities for interoperability and data transparency across platforms. These solutions will be pre-mapped on the Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits, enabling partners and the nonprofits they work with to rapidly create and implement new applications and solutions that help to drive their mission.
- Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Partners: Bringing these capabilities to life requires a range of innovative partners who are committed to delivering end-to-end solutions for nonprofits on the Nonprofit Accelerator. These partners include:
- Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, announced the Integrated Cloud Initiative for Nonprofits™ with Microsoft earlier this fall. Blackbaud’s founding partnership is instrumental in shaping the Common Data Model for Nonprofits to ensure that it is relevant and based on proven taxonomy and data structures. In addition, Nonprofit Resource Management™ is the first jointly developed solution of its kind that leverages the Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits. This is yet another compelling example of how the Common Data Model for Nonprofits will be leveraged to bring more value to nonprofit organizations.
- Avanade is a global leader in delivering innovative digital and cloud services, business solutions and design-led experiences through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem. Avanade has 34,000 digitally connected people across 24 countries, bringing clients the best thinking through a collaborative culture that honors diversity and reflects the communities in which they operate. This month, Avanade is launching Technology for Social Good to serve the nonprofit sector and will be developing an end-to-end, native Dynamics 365 solution on the Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits. This comprehensive suite of solutions will be designed and delivered specifically to address the needs of the sector, enabling organizations to connect core processes and deliver mission impact and insights.
- threshold.world is a new company launched by Dan Lammot, the co-founder and former CEO of roundCorner – an organization that pioneered development of enterprise fundraising and grant management solutions on the Salesforce platform. threshold.world will both participate in the design of the Dynamics Nonprofit Accelerator and serve as a catalyst to help partners worldwide design finished nonprofit solutions exclusively on the Dynamics platform.
In addition, we have a range of partners committed to building on the Nonprofit Accelerator from integrations with born-in-the-cloud fundraising partners like Classy (helping to power Team Rubicon’s online fundraising efforts), to partners with world-class delivery capacity such as Revel and Wipfli. Other key partnerships include Fluxx, Ifunds, KPMG Denmark, m-hance, MISSION CRM, Sparkrock StratusLIVE, and Unit4.
Going forward here’s what you can expect:
- Microsoft Common Data Model for Nonprofits: This is now available on GitHub and we will continue to iterate based on community feedback.
- Nonprofit Accelerators: For the first phase of this effort we will be building capabilities in six main areas – (1) constituent management (2) fundraising (3) donation management (4) program delivery (5) volunteer management (6) grant and award management. Constituent management is now available and will be followed by the Program Management Accelerator in February.
- Partners: Partners will ultimately finish and deliver these accelerators and the partners mentioned above are ready now to engage you. We will maintain a list of quality partners for your reference.
- Nonprofit Early Adopter Success Credit: To help ensure successful deployment, we will invest in an Early Adopter Success Program which will provide design and deployment support and incentives. The aim of this program is to help ensure success for each organization while also capturing key learnings and feedback to incorporate into the design of the Microsoft Nonprofit Common Data Model and Accelerators. The full details of this program will be released shortly at www.microsoft.com/nonprofits.
- Ongoing updates and technical information: Additional updates and a deeper technical drill down will be available on Erik Arnold’s blog.
This is not a point-in-time release of a single new product, rather a long-term investment and commitment to the sector to truly unlock new capabilities for nonprofits and improve end-to-end mission delivery. Working with our partners, Microsoft is incredibly optimistic about the potential for digital technology to help transform large and small nonprofits. We’ve seen the potential of digital transformation with Team Rubicon and our aspiration is to ensure technology fulfills its promise to address the world’s biggest challenges. We can empower everyone to achieve more.