Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales

Non-Profit Quick Start

An Application for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise Users


In 2020, Microsoft revealed that they would make available to qualified Non-Profit organizations five free licenses to their signature Customer Relationship Management application known as “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise.” This application retails at between $65.00 and $135.00/user/month, and so the value to a non-profit organization is considerable.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales has been available for over fourteen years, and with the recent innovations of a common data set currently known as the “Dataverse,” as well as the Power Platform to include Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Apps, Non-Profit organization now have a powerful toolset available to assist in the running of their operations.

The Application

“Non-Profit Quick Start” is an app contained in a solution that can be easily imported into an instance that is running Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise. The app extends the functionality of Sales Enterprise in a few important areas:

  • Program Management – an organization can create any number of Program records, which then tie into other features below to facilitate powerful reporting and information around program management.
  • Volunteer Management – using the Non-Profit Quick Start app, Dynamics 365 users can track volunteer activities in detail, with start and end times, dates, with the number of hours calculated automatically.  This information rolls upward in a summarized fashion at both the Contact and Program levels for valuable reporting and operational management.
  • Development – by default, Microsoft Dynamics 365 features a powerful workflow for the tracking of development efforts using the Lead and Opportunity entities, which then easily flow into Contacts and Accounts.  The Non-Profit Quick Start app extends this to include the “NP Transaction” entity, which allows for the tracking of donations by Contacts and Organizations (known as Accounts in Dynamics.)\

Operational Functionality

The application can be used with a web browser or a native mobile application, which is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.  Just look for the app named “Microsoft Dynamics 365” in Apple and “Dynamics 365 for Phones” in Google Play.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Uncategorized

API Access for Dynamics 365

For years, consuming the API for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics 365 was made more difficult by the burden of authentication. I used to work for a company with a very talented developer who constructed a authentication wrapper with an eye toward commercialization, such was the burden placed on developers who simply wanted to connect their apps to Dynamics. Now, however, with Azure and with an “App Registration” you can vastly simplify the authentication of the apps you write, and the apps you use from third-parties when connecting to Microsoft Dynamics 365. This video walks through that setup – the App Registration itself, which is always the first step, the permissions and secret for access to Dynamics 365 and what you must do with an Application User in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement in order for your app to have the proper permissions to execute the functions you it to execute. All without burning a license in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Below is a video to walk you through the process.

Dynamics 365 Errors Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales

The Dreaded “Service-Maintenance Based Records” Issue

If your Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment contains the Field Service solution, even if you don’t use it, you may come across an issue that a customer recently brought to our attention.  It’s the dreaded “Service-Maintenance Based Records” issue. This will manifest itself on the Opportunity entity, and is part of the Field Service module.  If your environment does not contain Field Service, you will most likely not have this issue, but many Microsoft Dynamics 365 instances will have this module, and therefore it would not be rare if you ran into it.

If you do, you will sometimes find yourself faced with an Opportunity record that uses the form “Opportunity: Field Service Information” and is therefore made read-only.

Below is an example of such an error on the Unified Interface:

The slightly maddening thing about this error is that since the record is read-only, you cannot change the form for the record. So if you have customized the Opportunity form, and you are stuck with the default Field Service form, you cannot manage the information that you find important on the Opportunity record.  And when this manifests itself, it appears to happen randomly to certain Opportunity records, and not others.

Steps to Take, and a Workaround

Because a customer raised this issue with Microsoft, we have the benefit of their suggestions.  Even though these suggestions did not solve the problem (we have come up with a workaround shown below), they are not bad things to do.

Upgrade the Field Service Version if it’s out-dated. To check the version, follow these steps:

  1. Login to the Administration Portal. Be sure to log in with Office 365 administrator credentials.
  2.  Click the “Admin” icon.
  3. In “Admin Centers” scroll down to “Dynamics 365” and click that icon.
  4. Choose your Production environment and click “Solutions” to see the list of Solutions installed.
  5. Click on the Field Service solution. If the solution is out of date, you will see “Upgrade Available” under the STATUS column for Field Service. On the right, it will show you what version is available (i.e. “New version:”)
  6. Click the “Upgrade” button.

This is a good idea, but it does not solve existing Opportunity records, which will have the Catch-22 issue mentioned above, where you cannot change the form on the record because it is read-only.

The Issue and the Workaround

The issue is that there is a field from the Field Service Solution on the Opportunity named “Order Type.” This is an option set with the following values:

  • Item Based
  • Word Based
  • Service-Maintenance Based

In version 6.x of the Service Module, there is some business logic that causes the Opportunity record to be read-only if “Order Type” = “Service-Maintenance Based.”  Therefore, changing the Order Type to “Item Based” will “fix” the issue with existing Opportunities.  And for those of you who are not using the Field Service Module, the following workflow can be triggered On Create to prevent the Order Type from being set to Service-Maintenance Record on any new Opportunities.  Here are the steps:

  1. Create an on-demand workflow named “Set Order Type”
    • Entity = Opportunity
    • Scope = Organization
    • Trigger = Create (UNLESS YOU USE FIELD SERVICE – in which case leave off all Triggers and use it as on-demand only*.)
    • Be sure to check “As an on-demand process” (so you can fix existing Opps as described below)
  2. The first and only step is Update record.
    • Description: Setting the record to Item based
    • Set Properties – look on the Opportunity form for a field named “Order Type” – probably will be on the lower right of the page under Additional fields.
    • Set this field to “Item based”
    • Click Save and Close
  3. Save the workflow, then Activate.

*Please note that if you set Create for the Trigger of this workflow, none of your new Opps will be set to Service-Maintenance Record. If this is your objective, then this workflow will work. If you are using Field Service, please leave off this Trigger.

Now fix the existing Opps.  You can do this two ways:

  1. Individual Basis. On the form, for these read-only records, one at a time as you find them, click “Run Workflow” and choose Set Order Type. Run the workflow, then refresh the screen, then change the form to Opportunity – Opportunity.  That should fix the one record.  ALTERNATIVELY …
  2. In Bulk. Create an Advanced Find like “All Opportunities where Status = Open and Order Type <> Item based.  Select all records in the results, and click Run Workflow against all of these records.

The second option will fix all existing open Opps (Qualified opps will be read-only, which is why we choose only the Open ones).

An Alternative Workaround

If you don’t want to create a workflow and you still want to fix all of your Opportunity records in one task, then you can also use the Data Refresh technique to achieve the same objective. This will not prevent future Opportunities from being locked in this manner, but it will change all existing locked records. This has the added advantage of changing Closed Opportunities as well.

  1. Create an Advanced Find of all Opportunities where Order Type = “Service-Maintenance Based”
  2. Add the Order Type to the column set and remove extraneous columns. You can leave the Topic column in addition to the Order Type column so you can at least see what you are changing.
  3. Export the results of this Advanced Find.
  4. Open the result file in Excel
  5. Activate the file (Enable Editing)
  6. Change the entire Order Type column values from “Service-Maintenance Based” to “Item based”
  7. Save the file.
  8. Import the file using the Import Data wizard.

This will unlock all of those records, and will also change the closed records as well.

Hope this helps. By the way, if you are interested in a guide to deploying Microsoft Dynamics 365 please have a look at my book here.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing

Marketing with CRM … done right

If your organization is executing efficient, modern, and largely automated marketing efforts that work seamlessly with your Customer Relationship Management system, then bravo!  You may only want to scan this article to confirm your belief.

But if you feel like things might be better than they are, then I encourage you to read on.

Customer Relationship Management and Marketing … the hard truth

Just about everyone knows that CRM is required now, and most people understand that without effective marketing, it’s hard to grow a new business. And it’s pretty much a no-brainer that these two systems need to work hand-in-glove, as one.

As the primary decision-maker for your startup, you could be forgiven for presuming that in this day and age there would be tons of fully-integrated solutions wrapped in pretty packages on the shelf just waiting for you to grab, unpack, and hit the ground running.

Sadly, there are not as many as you think.

But before we even go there, let’s take a moment to define some basic criteria for success.  First, I think that we can all agree that nowadays we need to know who our potential customers are, our actual customers are, and the means by which to effectively reach them – and to know to what extent they are listening to us. That’s a baseline, but let’s put a little structure on these criteria:

Ideally, a CRM and Marketing Solution should support:

  • Intelligent Marketing
    • Email Tracking. Emails sent with links that track activity in my CRM
    • Web Forms that create Leads directly in my CRM when submitted
    • Website traffic that shows my potential and existing customers visiting my site and interacting with my products and services
    • Campaign Automation. Communication based on the interaction of my customers with my communications and website.
  • Native Integration.
    • I don’t want data in two places.
    • I don’t want to log into two or more systems.
    • I want to see the results of my marketing efforts in the context of my potential and existing customers.
  • No Data Constraints
    • I shouldn’t have to pay extra simply because I have thousands of leads in my database.


There are a small number of solutions that even come close to achieving all of those criteria for success. We have created a short list of those with a brief note for each solution.  This is followed by more detailed information.

Choice Matrix


  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ClickDimensions. ClickDimensions features a native integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365, and is not a standalone product. It is designed to work within the interface of Microsoft Dynamics in such as way as to become a native part of the overall Customer Relationship Management platform for a given organization. From the perspective of a modern marketer, ClickDimensions completes Microsoft Dynamics 365 by supplying the missing piece – Marketing Intelligence in the context of potential and existing customers the same system where you manage customer information. This particular solution is powerful because of a wide range of features available as your business scales upward, such as Surveys, Text Messaging, Event Management, and Social Marketing. And pricing is simple and not tied to the number of contacts or leads in your database.
  • Salesforce and Pardot. Salesforce is a powerful Customer Relationship Management system and the addition of Pardot completes the missing piece of Salesforce as a full-featured CRM, since a full suite of Marketing Intelligence is provided. If price is no object whatsoever (this solution costs more than just about any other in the marketplace), and if an organization is already using Salesforce and now needs a marketing solution, this combination is a good choice.
  • Mailchimp and CRM. There are no native integrations with Mailchimp and Customer Relationship Management systems, as Mailchimp is a standalone marketing platform. If Customer Relationship Management functionality is required in addition to Intelligent Marketing, a connector is required, or a company can opt to attempt to use the features of Mailchimp as a CRM, but very few companies would be satisfied by the small feature set that Mailchimp as a CRM brings to the table.
  • If your organization is a single-user organization or relies less on advanced customer relationship management sales and marketing features and more on inbound marketing techniques, then this solution may be a good choice – at least as a start. The CRM included with HubSpot is what you might call “essential” CRM, with little or no sales automation tools available, although by upgrading to more expensive plans there are some features available, like the ability to track products and services in your opportunities. This slight disadvantage with this solution is that for a complete suite of sales, marketing and services components, the price escalates pretty quickly.
  • Microsoft Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement. For a long time, a large part that was missing from Microsoft Dynamics as an advanced Customer Relationship Management platform was Intelligent Marketing. There have been fits and starts from Microsoft to fill this gap, and Microsoft Marketing is the latest effort. The solution hits some of the most important criteria, such as marketing automation, formatted email templates, and nurturing campaigns, but the pricing is based on the number of contacts in your CRM system. In addition, the deployment is rather complex, as it leverages the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portals component, the configuration of which is not for the faint of heart.
  • Act-On. The claim to fame for Act-On is known as “adaptive customer journeys,” which allows for dynamic choices during nurture campaigns. However, there is no native CRM component, and this requires a connection with your chosen Customer Relationship Management system, which means that the sophisticated marketing functions reside in a different system and database than do your potential and existing customers, all of their related information. There is an initial limit of 2,500 contacts, and the price goes up with the addition of more contacts in the system. There are also paid support plans.
  • Marketo. This company was purchased by Adobe in 2018 for almost 5 billion dollars, and mainly serves the large enterprise space. The system is quite robust, with all of the Intelligent Marketing criteria hit, although it’s rather complex to set up and manage. Deploying Marketo will almost certainly require professional services, and so total cost of ownership can reach fairly high levels even before the system is deployed. The most native integration is probably with Salesforce, since the system was built on the SF platform. Integrations with other CRM systems are not native, which results in sets of data in two places, with two systems to manage. For very large companies with robust technical resources, Marketo might be a good choice. For most others, probably not.

Your Journey

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last dozen years of implementing Microsoft Dynamics, it’s that every organization is different. The solution you ultimately choose for your marketing efforts can be based on many factors.  Hopefully, this article will help sort out what is currently available to join your marketing efforts with your use of a Customer Relationship Management system.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you think we may be able to help.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Service

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Accelerator for Non-Profit Donor Management

NonProfit Add-On Released by Microsoft

Microsoft recently released an “Accelerator” for Nonprofit companies that are currently using Microsoft Dynamics 365. For those that don’t know what is meant by the term Accelerator in this context, it’s essentially a solution that provides pre-configured entities that relate to the vertical market in question. In this case, it’s the Not-for-Profit sector, and Donor Management.

This is helpful, since Salesforce is often touted as the CRM of choice for Non-Profits, but we respectfully disagree. In fact, we believe that Dynamics 365 is a great choice, and we have even built a course for organizations who wish to build a custom solution.

But for those organizations who just want to get started quickly, the new accelerator should provide a nice starting point.

According to the AppSource,” … the Nonprofit Accelerator extends the Common Data Model (CDM) to include new entities to support a data schema for the nonprofit sector. With the Common Data Model organizations have a unified view of their data across sources which enables business apps to deliver new insights and drive intelligence-based experiences to users within the organization.”

You can test drive this application, even without having your own instance of Microsoft Dynamics 365, y visiting the AppSource listing here.

Custom areas and entities that come with this solution include:

Fundraising Management

  • Donor Commitments
  • Planned Giving
  • Transactions

Grant Management

  • Objectives
  • Programs
  • Grant Request
  • Grant Awards
  • Dockets

Program Management

  • Programs
  • Budgets
  • Benchmarks
  • Reviews

Volunteer Management

  • Volunteers
  • Applicants

Below is a screen shot that shows the navigation (sitemap) of the solution.

This is definitely worth a try and using the Test Drive feature mentioned above you can try it out without even purchasing Microsoft Dynamics 365!  An alternative is to download the solution and install it into a trial version of Microsoft Dynamics 365, but this is a bit more work, and requires knowledge how to install a solution.