A Microsoft Packed Toolbox for Fundraising Organizations

By - June 21, 2022

Part 3: A Microsoft Packed Toolbox for Fundraising Organizations – Power BI

Previous blogs in this series

  • Part 1: Dynamics Fundraising and Engagement replaces Blackbaud – view here
  • Part 2: Dynamics Marketing replaces Blackbaud’s Luminate – view here


As part of project implementation, Microsoft’s Power BI was utilized to provide data visualization across departments.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a data visualization tool that easily connects to Dynamics and other data sources.

Power BI was used in this implementation to drive donations, improve support programs, and increase visibility across departments.

Power BI advantages include:

  • Access to the multiple data sources
  • Dynamic and formatted reports
  • Real time data
  • Cross department usage

Access to multiple data sources

One of the attractions to Power BI is its functionality to integrate a single report to multiple data sources including the Microsoft Dataverse, Excel, and other systems.

In this particular implementation one of the main objectives was to eliminate the client’s use of soiled CRM systems, however, we know the use of a single system doesn’t always fit a not for profits needs. Fundraising and development teams often source their prospect donors from external sources or use crowd funding to raise money. With the flexibility to connect these other data sources to Power BI, the client has the ability to leverage this capability in a future phase to pair their Dynamics system data with data from these other systems sources giving them a full picture view.

Dynamic and Formatted Reports

Many non-profits and donor based organizations have annual reporting they must provide their leadership. Analyzing the previous year’s numbers to see what campaigns drove the highest number of donations is an example of a report that may be used. Another may be presenting their assisted constituents with the amount of grants and loans that were provided.

We have seen many organizations resort to using SSRS reports for reporting, creating one for each need since the ability for dynamic filtering is though, or digestible graphical representation is lacking. With Power BI, the ability to have both a formatted report with drill down capability, increased visualization of data, and a dynamic report is possible. A Power BI dashboard can be customized with formatting and branding while remaining dynamic.  This allows a fluid presentation of the numbers, being able to switch years, narrow in on the numbers, all on the fly but remaining crisp and professional.

Real Time Data

The data in these reports can be set on a refresh schedule giving your organization access to real time information. When running a campaign or providing emergency assistance having up to date actuals is critical to budgets and success of your core mission to raise and distribute funds to those who need them.

Cross Department Usage

Not all staff is looking for the same information. With the capability to easily filter down the dashboards staff can pull exactly what they need. There is no need for duplicative reports for each department or user. For example, budgeting conversations using year to date numbers can be pulled from the same report as regional donor or support information. These filters can even save as defaults on a user basis so that staff does not need to reset them each time they use the report.

How did we leverage this?

In this implementation we were able to unify the client’s donor and grants CRM systems to use Dynamics. That resulted in much of their data now residing in the Microsoft Dataverse. Using the data from the Microsoft’s Fundraising and Engagement and RSM’s Grants Management Solution in Dynamics, visualizations were created for leadership in Power BI using RSM’s pre-built dashboards listed below.

  • Fundraising and Development Dashboard
  • Grants Management Dashboard

The reports are used across a large audience, including stakeholders and constituents, to provide visuals that are understandable and fully encompassing.

Why RSM?

RSM is a recommended Microsoft Partner with experience successfully implementing Microsoft F&E. RSM also distinguishes itself from the competition by providing additional features on top of Microsoft’s solution, including:

  • A pre-built donor portal accepting payments through various methods including CC and PayPal
  • Integrated marketing with automated tracking of donations to source campaigns
  • Accounting enhancements and automated integration to accounting systems
  • Expert data architects to map data from legacy systems into F&E

In the next post we will dive into the implementation of Power App Portals and how this organization was able to leverage the tool.

Jacque is a manager with 8+ years of experience in the nonprofit industry. She is well-versed in large and small associations, and charitable and grantmaking organizations, and understands how to advise differently based on size, constituent count, and budget while keeping the organization’s mission at the forefront. She specializes in finding the best solutions to support grant, fundraising, membership, and association-focused organizations. She maintains that the focus remains on the people and works to formulate processes by leveraging technology.

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