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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group

Mission Impossible? Hardly: Foundation Improves Operations Utilizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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Many not for profits are finding Microsoft Dynamics CRM to be the right foundation for better managing their fundraising, grants, memberships, and events. For one large operating foundation, The TM Group transformed Microsoft Dynamics CRM into a custom tailored grant management, project tracking, events coordination, and budget allocation system that is fully integrated to Microsoft Dynamics GP’s accounting modules. Here are several specific functional enhancements that The TM Group designed and implemented for this Foundation:

Grant Project Management - This Foundation obviously couldn’t use Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a traditional sales and marketing system. Instead, we helped them repurpose the opportunity entity within the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform and changed it to a grant management and project tracking entity. Because of some inherent functionality with how activities roll up in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it made more sense to repurpose the opportunities entity than to create a custom entity. The foundation can now see how much money has been spent on each project and for what -  right within CRM. Then it streams into Microsoft Dynamics GP where check processing takes place.

Event Planning - One of the things that make this foundation unique is that they run remote events throughout the world as well as a retreat center adjacent to their headquarters. Utilizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s marketing campaigns, we enhanced CRM to help them manage every detail of their events including reservations, meals, lodging requirements reports, dietary restrictions, and transportation. Automated notifications were also used to notify department heads and supporting departments that are managing and coordinating the various aspects of these events. We also created a web-based, self-service application that allows participants to register online for events.

Idea to Approval- At this foundation, many ideas are reviewed by their advisory councils and staff program administrators to decide which ideas should be submitted to the board for approval and funding. Ideas go through an evaluation process where the details of who, what, where and why are worked out and a proposal is written to be submitted to the board. We helped better manage this idea for the approval process in Microsoft SharePoint and InfoPath which allows them to both track the steps involved and the status of this evaluation process as well as the multiple associated documents.

Budgeting and Allocations- Once the board approves the ideas and projects are established, program funds generated from the foundation’s endowment are allocated to the various departments and their projects. We created a budgeting and allocations entity within Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage this process which can be very complicated. Some of their complex projects may be funded from multiple departments as well as other foundations. Because their projects may also span over several years, the budgeting system keeps track of how much of the project budget came from which year’s allocations. At any time the foundation staff can look at a budgeting grid that shows them the project budgets, what has been scheduled for payment, how much has been spent, and how much of the budget is left for the project.

Fully Integrated Accounting- Payments requests for projects are generated in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and are released to accounting. This then creates an Accounts Payable transaction in Microsoft Dynamics GP. The foundation’s program staff can easily see the status in CRM of their payment request such as what was sent to GP, posted, paid, partially paid, or voided without having to call or email accounting. When the check or EFT has been sent to the vendor, all the payment voucher information is then sent back to CRM and available for the program staff.

Microsoft SharePoint Document Management- Every time a project status is turned to active, then the associated document libraries are se tup in Microsoft SharePoint with a standardized folder structure to which all their documents are uploaded. The same thing happens with their events, which are managed using Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketing campaigns feature.

This is definitely not an all-inclusive list of what we’ve done for this foundation since we started this transformational process to better automate the way their organization functions and give their management better oversight of their budgets and activities using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft SharePoint. If you are interested in learning more, or have a Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP project that The TM Group can help you with, then please visit our website at www.tmgroupinc.com or call 800-482-2864. We would be honored to design and architect solutions for your organization.

For information online, download the white paper released by the CRM Software Blog, "24 Wildly Creative Ways Companies Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Drive Revenue and Serve Customers" that discusses how Dynamics CRM can improve your business. They also have a quick online quote tool for Dynamics CRM pricing customized to your business' needs.

by The TM Group, Michigan Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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