Microsoft to release charity CRM in the UK

19 May 2010 News

Microsoft is to release a tailored version of Dynamics CRM for non-profits and NGOs in the UK later this year.

Microsoft is to release a tailored version of Dynamics CRM for non-profits and NGOs in the UK later this year.

The software giant made the product available in the US and Canada in April, and has now revealed that it will reach these shores “in the second half of the year”.

Microsoft’s announcement of the US version promises “out-of-the-box constituent relationship management functionality as well as customisations for donation and pledge management, basic membership management, basic volunteer tracking, campaign management, dashboard reports and support for online payment solutions”.

A spokeswoman told Civil Society that although the product wouldn’t include UK-specific functionality such as gift aid and direct debit tools, it is “quite generic” and put together with “the global concept in mind”.

She added that the firm expected that its partners would produce customised versions which would plug such gaps.

Dynamics CRM is available on premise or as a hosted solution, with the latter on offer to US non-profits for $9.99 per user per month.

Suited to smaller organisations

Independent database consultant Ivan Wainwright said he believed Dynamics CRM will have an impact on the not-for-profit market.

“The original version has already been implemented by quite a few UK NFP organisations, although not necessarily as strongly for the fundraising market.

“And several commercial UK organisations had, before this announcement, already produced customised “package” versions of Dynamics CRM, such as Pythagoras, Touchstone and Immix.

I believe it is especially suited to small-to-medium-sized charities which can and want to implement a single database for all their supporters and contacts.”

Keith Collins, systems director at Purple Vision, agreed that it is likely to be for the smaller organisation.

“As with Salesforce, it’s likely to be of most appeal to those that don’t have complex, charity-specific business processes.

If you need to manage complex direct marketing campaigns, claim direct debits or handle large volumes of donations, then we’d be more sceptical about whether Microsoft CRM will really be what you need.”

Peter Flory of Athena Consultants added: “All we can really say at this point in time is that it is an interesting and potentially exciting development.

We must keep our eye on it because, as most of the UK not-for-profit organisations’ IT infrastructure is Microsoft-based, if it does get all the relevant functionality and takes off then many of the proprietary system suppliers will be in deep trouble. But that, if it comes, I suspect is many years hence.”

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