In the non-profit world, heavy donor involvement and volunteerism is just part of the way these organizations operate. Announced last March by Microsoft, the Customer Portal solution lets non-profits engage more deeply with their constituents by providing them with web access to key Dynamics CRM internal functions.
The relatively new and highly popular Customer Portal Solution provides non-profit’s do-it-yourself membership with the ability to manage profiles, search for answers, and register for events.
Some of these functions should be familiar to those Dynamics CRM users that installed the Portal Integration, eService, and Event Management accelerators that were released in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Microsoft has taken these same accelerators, which are open-source, and packaged them into this new official Dynamics CRM Solution.
By the way, the installation for the Customer Portal is straightforward. We found this resource in this Microsoft forum to be especially helpful for system administrators.
But even out of the box, the Customer Portal should provide enough functionality to users who want to give their constituents core self-service functions.
To begin, you’ll want to seed the CRM knowledgebase with a few articles. Then perhaps set up a few events for the Portal’s calendar. This can be accomplished when a Campaign or Fund Raising entity is created in Dynamics CRM. Just make sure to mark the registration as open, and check the “publish to web” and “featured event” boxes. That’s it.
With fund-raising and volunteer events critical to non-profits, the online event management app in the Customer Portal will be especially relevant. It allows members and donors to manually register for activities through the Portal’s on-line calendar app.
Also of interest to non-profits is the on-line service scheduling function. In for-profit organizations, this function lets customers schedule their own service visits for repair or support work.
But non-profits should be able to tweak this for scheduling, say, physical donations of furniture or clothing.
The Customer Portal is compatible with both cloud and premises-based versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.