Nonprofits find unique value in the new Microsoft industry cloud
- Posted on November 2, 2021
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
When it comes to doing more with less, few sectors of the economy are more adept than nonprofits. They are well-versed in stretching highly scrutinized budgets and retrofitting solutions built for other industries to their unique needs. It’s time to support nonprofits with robust, tailored technology solutions so they can focus on confronting the increasing urgency and demand for services in many pressing areas of human need – climate change, refugee crises, racial injustice, and economic and food insecurity. Especially during the time of COVID, when demands for many services have spiked, competition for volunteers and funds have intensified, and nonprofits have seen business as usual disrupted for their staff.
After living so long with scarcity of relevant technology, nonprofits can look to the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit (MC4N) for more. More solutions tailored to the specific needs of the nonprofit world. More relevant data and a greater ability to make sense of it quickly to drive better decisions. More opportunities to build on the innovation and successes of other nonprofits.
Microsoft has invested in building end-to-end workflow designs for most common nonprofit processes. It signals a commitment to the industry and to working with these organizations to get the most from digital innovation.
Recognizing the need and hunger for collaboration, Microsoft began a collaborative effort three plus years ago to create a common data platform for nonprofits – a standard way to collect, organize and analyze the information most nonprofits need to run their organizations. The platform addresses key scenarios common across the sector – knowing donors and supporters, delivering effective programming, accelerating mission outcomes, and securing data for donors and participants. Avanade has been one of the key partners building on the platform with complementary assets, accelerators, and tools to add efficiency and insights across the various facets of the nonprofit operating model.
Because nonprofits are mission- rather than profit-driven, they are usually eager to share knowledge, assets, and solutions across the sector. For example, Avanade implemented the Fundraising and Constituent Insights solution for one client and we were able to harvest and “share” the solution with another nonprofit at lower cost. We have also created solutions for nonprofit retail point of sale and grant making. And we are in the process of developing tools and solutions to manage child sponsorships that connect donors with individual children in need; a solution that is seen as a reusable asset for the entire industry.
MC4N coalesces the data and the accelerators into solutions that nonprofits can quickly adopt and use. It puts Microsoft's industry leading technology into the hands of nonprofit organizations in an integrated suite of products. This is just one industry cloud that Microsoft is launching, building on the idea that it can develop and package solutions, tools, and assets that address the common technology opportunities and challenges faced by organizations in the same industry. Innovation and customization can happen more quickly and can be done with modular components, unlike the wholesale enterprise transformations of the past.
To borrow a concept from the medical world, nonprofits are shifting from ‘extra-label use’ to having a product made specifically for what ails them. As a Microsoft partner, we shift our focus from making something work in a way other than it was intended to innovating on a platform that’s fit for purpose. It’s pretty exciting to have this foundation to build on.
Three years in, Avanade’s Tech for Social Good business has established another foundation for innovation, as nonprofits like UNICEF Netherlands, SOS Children’s Villages, Answer ALS, and Evergreen Goodwill look to us for digital solutions that help them fulfill their missions. We continue to build our nonprofit expertise while tapping into unmatched Microsoft knowledge and experience to scale this part of our business.
These solutions give us the opportunity to help transform our nonprofit clients on a global scale. It opens the door for us to personalize the capabilities of MC4N to organizations of different sizes. The ability of MC4N to address common needs gives us an opportunity to focus our contributions on working with Microsoft TSI to address areas of the nonprofit solution value map without end-to-end solutions. Something Avanade is uniquely positioned to do.
Avanade’s commitment to operating as a responsible business leader with a purpose of making a genuine human impact will motivate continued innovation in the nonprofit sector. Our goal is to give nonprofits technology solutions they can use to deliver their services more efficiently and effectively and ensure the greatest impact on the organization’s mission.