Should Your Charity Choose Dynamics 365 or Power Apps for its CRM Software?

Power Apps or Dynamics 365 for charities

Suppose you are a non-profit organisation juggling the challenges posed by managing its constituent data across applications and spreadsheets; if that's the case, you may be considering CRM software to simplify your processes and sharpen your reporting. But with the ever-increasing number of CRM solutions available, choosing the right software that fits your needs and budget can prove challenging.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 may already be on your shortlist, but in the Microsoft business applications stack, Power Apps is also available to organisations operating in the third sector at a much lower price point.

Which of these is best aligned with your requirements? This blog looks at both and highlights what makes Power Apps a unique proposition for charities.

Dynamics 365 or Power Apps?

Choosing Dynamics 365 or Power Apps will depend on many factors, including the scale of your organisation and the functionality you need. Perhaps, you need to track casework, or your commercial team needs to manage its leads and opportunities?

Because Dynamics 365 offers prebuilt functionality across its Customer Service or Sales modules, Dynamics will likely be the most cost-effective solution for these user needs.

However, for many smaller charities that want a better solution to manage their supporter relationships but don’t need the enterprise capabilities of Dynamics 365 apps, Power Apps may provide a better fit.

Both Dynamics and Power Apps are built on the same Microsoft cloud platform and use the same Dataverse cloud storage. These solutions also use the same interface and offer the same security model, but several key differences make Power Apps especially attractive to smaller charities.

What are Power Apps?

Power Apps are built on the Microsoft Power Platform, using a low code or no-code approach, enabling organisations to deploy custom apps quickly. Since these apps run on the Power Platform, data is stored in the Microsoft cloud, providing native data security and resilience. Additional platform capabilities such as Power Automate and Power BI are also available in Power Apps, consistent with Dynamics 365 modules.

Preact provides Charity Hub, a ready-to-deploy Power Apps product that includes prebuilt donation, membership, and gift aid management to increase productivity by automating routine tasks and managing data in a single location.

Since this provides out-of-the-box supporter management capabilities, Charity Hub minimises the expense and complexity often associated with implementing Dynamics 365 to offer a simple deployment model.

How Do Power Apps Costs Compare to Dynamics 365 Charity Licences?

Power Apps licence plans are available for two usage scenarios:

  • Per-App Plan – For eligible charities, Microsoft offers up to 75% discounts on individual Power Apps plans at £1.89 per user/app/month. By comparison, Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise for charities are priced at £18.14 per user/app/month.
  • Per-User Plan – Enabling users to run Charity Hub and unlimited other Power Apps at £15.10 per user/month

By running on the Power Apps licensing model, Charity Hub is a ready-made application available at a far lower rate than any Dynamics 365 licence.

Charity Hub is not dependent on Dynamics 365 licensing; it can be deployed standalone or connected with any Dynamics applications in your environment, but any user who also requires access to Dynamics 365 will need a separate licence.

Do Charities Receive Free Microsoft Licences?

Microsoft provides affordable tools through its Tech for Social Impact program to help charities succeed in their missions. Eligible charity organisations receive up to 10 Power Apps per-app plan licences free of charge as part of this program.

As a result, charities can activate Charity Hub with up to 10 free Power Apps licences and add further app users at £1.89 per user/month.

Preact will support your organisation using this program to secure grants and discounts across other Microsoft cloud products. These can include Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and a $3,500 annual Microsoft Azure grant for use across Azure solutions and services.

How Do Power Apps Integrate With Other Microsoft Applications?

Charity Hub and other Power Apps natively integrate with Outlook, Office 365, Dynamics 365 apps, and other Power Apps, so data is easily shared to connect processes and unify reporting.

For instance, track all the Outlook email exchanges and calendar appointments with your supporters within the centralised Charity Hub application. Furthermore, by integrating Charity Hub with a marketing automation tool, use unified data to quickly define an audience and send personalised communications to your supporters.

If your organisation needs basic sales tracking, integrate Charity Hub with Preact’s Deals App or Dynamics 365 Sales for full-fledged lead and opportunity management.

What Charity Functions Does Power Apps Provide?

The Power Apps user interface includes forms, tables, charts, views, and dashboards that provide consistent navigation across Microsoft applications. Users with appropriate privileges can quickly find information using the search capabilities, personalise views, and access dashboards to unlock insights from data.

Charity Hub uses these building blocks to provide essential functionality that enables organisations to get started with minimal configuration. Examples of its out-of-the-box capabilities include donations management, gift aid declarations, membership renewals, and payment schedules.

The Power Apps flexible deployment model reduces setup effort, so you only need to deploy what is required. For example, membership management is optional in Charity Hub, so this module can be disabled, making sure the user interface only reflects your core processes.

Charity Hub can be customised with additional capabilities as required by running on the highly scalable Microsoft cloud platform. As your charity grows, Charity Hub can evolve and easily be adapted to accommodate broader user needs.

Donation Management

How Is Data Protected?

Charities must choose a CRM solution that is secure and reliable without putting data at risk. A lower-priced Power App licence does not mean any compromise in security. Power Apps stores data in the Microsoft cloud, just like Dynamics 365, so you can be assured that supporter data is safely protected with multi-layered security, ensuring compliance with regulatory policies and privacy requirements.

Thanks to Microsoft's inbuilt security monitoring and data backup features, administrators can have peace of mind without worrying about application downtime, data loss, or security breaches.

In addition to securing data, cloud-based storage allows users to access data anytime on any device. It also supports easy file-sharing, enabling real-time collaboration between departments to boost communication and transparency.

What's next?

Power Apps are a great alternative to Dynamics 365 for charities' basic CRM usage needs. Preact's Charity Hub application caters to a charity's priorities of a cost-effective, scalable solution with a hassle-free deployment model.

With an attractive Power Apps licensing model benefitting from Microsoft's Tech for Social Impact initiative and key supporter management functionalities, smaller charities can get started with a simple-to-use application with minimal upfront or ongoing cost. Yet, Charity Hub also has the flexibility and scale to meet the needs of large non-profit organisations.

Want to know more about Charity Hub?

Download the guide to learn more about how Charity Hub simplifies processes and improves productivity for charity and non profit organisations

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