The benefits of a digital transformation across not-for-profit organisations can’t be underestimated. From cost savings, advanced resource planning and in-depth analytics, to improved security and flexible working for staff, cloud-based technology, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, can support charity organisations to reap the benefits of being more digital. Here are our top 7 benefits from taking the leap and how Microsoft solutions can help.
Save time and enhanced insights
A centralised system can help charities not only capture the right information at the right time but gain a single real-time view of donors, volunteers, and benefit recipients. Rather than spending time searching through various systems, spreadsheets or mailboxes, users can spend more time on valuable activities to help deliver the charity’s mission.
Organisations can be concerned that going digital means becoming less personal but by having good quality data in one central location you can gain enhanced insight into activities, interactions, donations etc, which in turn builds and maintains richer relationships. This allows organisations to deliver truly personal experiences.
Improve sustainability and reduce costs
Switching to online, paperless processes reduces the environmental impact of creating, transporting, and storing paper. The financial cost to charities of purchasing and storing paper can also be reduced or eliminated by going digital.
Utilising cloud technology platforms is another way to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as these are more efficient that on-site data centres.
Automate repetitive processes and innovate
Business process automation can bring many benefits across a charity organisation. Automation software can remove the need for manual data entry or time-consuming admin tasks, allowing team members to spend more time adding value. Automation opens opportunities to rapid responses to, for example emails, web forms and social media, even outside of standard working hours. Automation can assist in prioritising work and tasks and routing items to the most appropriate person, reducing time and effort of manual hand offs.
In addition to automation, Artificial intelligence (AI) can offer a number of benefits to charities, for example chatbots can provide answers and support to common questions or issues on a website, saving enquirers needing to speak to a person within business hours, freeing up resources. AI can also help to widen access to services, for example live translations, sentiment analysis and smart data entry.
Online collaboration tools open opportunities for flexible and remote working where teams do not need to always be face to face. These tools are not limited to internal use for example recruitment, external meetings or events can often be run online saving time and cost. Plus, cloud-based technology ensures teams can be connected to each other and key data and services on the go.
Higher impact marketing and communications
Every charity needs funds to deliver their mission. Digital marketing platforms can help increase return on investment though rich, targeted, multichannel marketing and communication campaigns with automatic personalised emails, notifications, mass mailings and target groups. In addition, the ability to track donations as a result of a campaign enables marketers to learn what works well and what could be improved in future campaigns.
Enhanced security, compliance and accessibility
In a world of ever-increasing connectivity and regulation, it is vital that data captured by organisations is secure. Relying on paper or Excel processes opens organisations up to the risk of data being lost or stolen. Use of a secure cloud hosting platform can strengthen security posture and reduce the risk of cyberthreats.
In addition, most platforms offer comprehensive security models with role-based access, securing data on a need-to-know basis as well as providing auditing of updates of information, ensuring data integrity.
A good, modern platform should be inclusive with accessible features and content that boost every user's productivity. For example, keyboard shortcuts, screen readers, and high-contrast settings.
Measure and articulate mission impact
In the not-for-profit sector, being able to measure performance clearly and compellingly is critical to inspire confidence and maintain continued support among donors and funders. Understanding what success looks like and tracking your performance is vital.
Capturing data in an online platform not only reduces the effort of reporting but you also gain access to a host of additional tools, such as charts and graphs, providing visual representation of key business data.
This not only allows for more accurate reporting, but it enables charity organisations to gain deep insights into how to accelerate mission impact.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a market-leading software platform, designed to deliver all the above a much more. Microsoft Dynamics 365 empowers organisations to deliver excellent customer and user experiences -building deeper, long-lasting relationships. With its powerful automation, workflow and reporting capabilities, charity organisations can track each stage of their customer’s journey, all while ensuring compliance with the system’s integrated security capabilities.
The Microsoft Power Platform provides a suite of business solution and productivity tools to help your organisation become more digital, including standardised and secure data storage within Dataverse, engaging and functionally rich user/stakeholder experiences through Power Apps and Power Portals as well as leading automation and workflow capabilities through Power Automate.