Microsoft Dynamics CRM Released for Nonprofits, NGOs
Microsoft has released a version of its Microsoft Dynamics CRM customized for nonprofits and non-governmental organizations. Although the software platform has traditionally focused on business management, additional tools in this edition include donation and pledge management, basic membership management, basic volunteer tracking, support for online payment solutions and campaign management.
"Nonprofits and NGOs are always challenged with doing more with less," Sarah Barnhart, senior program manager for community affairs at Microsoft, wrote in an April 7 statement. "We see technology as being a key enabler of helping nonprofits to reduce administration and focus their resources on where they can have the biggest impact. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for nonprofits and NGOs includes customized features that simplify administration and management for organizations of every size."
For those nonprofits and NGOs in the United States and Canada that qualify for the customized version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the monthly subscription price will be $9.99 per seat. Microsoft is also making the software available as a cloud-based solution.
Microsoft already released the third Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft Dynamics CRM's next generation, dubbed "CRM5," on March 25. Due for release in the second half of 2010, the software will support more than 40 language and be offered as both an online service and on-premises software.
Microsoft has been positioning the online version of its CRM as an alternative to offerings from other cloud application providers such as Salesforce.com; as part of those efforts, it has been offering a variety of add-ons and services to the platform at no additional cost. This newest version for nonprofits and NGOs continues that pattern. In July 2009, Microsoft offered a variety of CRM Accelerators designed to help businesses pull data from social networks, Web interaction channels and other sources, in addition to streamlining costs.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM already powers Microsoft's Public Sector On-Demand Solutions for government and education. Those six applications, intended for a variety of functions ranging from public-records tracking to student information systems, have been marketed by Microsoft as a way for governments to curtail costs in the aftermath of a substantial global recession. The applications also allow those institutions to drill down into their internal data and automate a number of bureaucratic functions, including field inspections, approval capability for agenda items, and responding in a timely manner to constituent requests.