Win Grants with Microsoft Dynamics 365

October 26, 2020

As mentioned in the first post of this series, Efficiently Manage Grants with Fund Accounting, many organizations such as nonprofits, non-governmental agencies, K-12 school districts, state, and local government agencies depend on grants to fund some of, or in many cases, their entire operations.  In the United States alone there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations[1].

Winning grants can be difficult, especially for competitive programs, so managing the grants that your organization receives is critical to making those grants successful and to pave the way for additional grants in the future. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, along with cloud ERP software (check out Serenic Navigator for NPO) or Serenic Navigator for NGO), help you win more grants by consolidating your information on grant pursuits and shortening the time you spend on grant proposals.

Many nonprofits do not use CRM software because they do not see themselves as doing sales as a for-profit company would, and they do not think they have customers.  However, nonprofits have many customers, including the people they serve in their mission as well as the contributors that fund their efforts, therefore using CRM software is beneficial.

Nonprofits receive funding from individual donations, government grants, corporate grants and contributions, and foundation grants as well as revenue from operations such as paid events and publications.  CRM software is relevant to all these activities.

Here are some of the specific ways that Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s flagship CRM product, help nonprofit organizations win more grants:

  1. Consolidated contact lists. A CRM should be the repository for the names and addresses of all grantors.  Keeping it up to date reduces the risk of communications being sent to the wrong people.  You can profile grantors and prospective funding sources to identify your best prospects.
  2. Grant pursuit tracking.  A more systematic pursuit of grants helps your organization’s odds. The Dynamics 365 Sales apps track grants in an entity called Opportunities.  This means that you can use sales reports to show important data such as the success and failure of past proposals and the backlog of grant funding.
  3. Opportunity rating. You can evaluate your chances of success and store this in CRM as a rating such as 90 percent for a highly likely win.  The rating can be used for weighting grant amounts in forecast reports to show a more realistic amount of funding that may be achieved in the future.
  4. Application deadlines. Grant opportunities track application deadlines, and you can configure email reminders to staff so that you never miss an application again.
  5. Proposal automation. Business process flows in Dynamics 365 help automate the process of writing grant proposals, including reviews and approvals.  You can see the stages of all your applications in a view or dashboard.
  6. Activity tracking.  CRM allows you to track activities such as emails, phone calls, mailings, meetings and more. This helps stay in close enough touch with contacts but not overwhelm them with communications.   Dynamics 365 is integrated with Office 365 to automatically share data between Outlook, Dynamics, SharePoint, and other Office products.
  7. Outreach. Marketing automation makes it easier to communicate through email campaigns.  The Dynamics 365 marketing app includes advanced marketing features such as online event registration in addition to bulk email.

Adopting CRM instead of tracking grant opportunities in Excel can expand how you report on your grant pipeline.  For instance, you can show how much funding is available in grants at various stages of completion.

If you track activities in CRM instead of using Excel and email to handle tasks, you can monitor your workload and assign activities to others on your team. Tracking activities capture data that may help you improve your grant winning performance, such as identifying patterns in how you interact with grantors.  When you use CRM, you can access activities and other information you track from your mobile device when you are on the road.

Data views may be filtered and sorted to quickly get to the answers you need:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is hosted in the Microsoft cloud, so you do not need hardware or a data center to run your grant proposal management system. Some nonprofits qualify for reduced pricing of Dynamics subscriptions under Microsoft’s charity pricing model, so click here to learn more.

Serenic’s InfoStrat division specializes in CRM solutions for nonprofits and government agencies, powered by Dynamics 365. Learn more how we can help you today.

[1] Fund Accounting: A Must for Nonprofits from https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/fund-accounting/

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