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CDM Solutions - Constituents

Updated: Dec 7, 2020


This post was created using speech-to-text AI.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:46:03 - 00:01:17:13

Hey, this is Dan Lammot from Excited to be back to talk with you today about the constituents model in the Common Data Model for Nonprofits. For those of you that are not familiar with the nonprofit world or the term constituent, you want to think of that as customer. But the nonprofit market and sector overall frowns on the idea of calling it a customer because of the very special relationship that nonprofits have with a whole different variety of individuals, organizations and groups of people.

00:01:18:01 - 00:01:51:01

So when we say constituents, we mean all of the people that engage with nonprofits in any function or fashion around the world. And we're going to look at a bunch of different specific examples of that today. So just to make sure we're oriented in the right place, all of the things that we're going to look at are available in public assets, open source on GitHub here at the Industry Accelerator Nonprofit site that Microsoft publishes. And we're also going to be looking at version 2.3.3 of Constituents.

00:01:51:17 - 00:02:25:24

So when we look at the constituent model, there's really three key things we want to focus on. One is individuals or people. Second is organizations or entities that are generally described as some type of legal function, you know, which could be a school, could be a government organization, et cetera. And the last is groups of people that aren't necessarily described by some kind of legal parameter. An example of that might be a household, for example.

00:02:26:16 - 00:03:07:15

So one of the key things that you'll notice when we look at the constituent model here inside of the Common Data Model for Nonprofits and then also manifest inside of the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator are the fact that it is able to handle all three of those key constituent models, not just independently, but at the same time with a very light footprint from a data perspective. Let me tell you what I mean by that. So if you want to have an organization that's perhaps a corporate donor, that's going to be an account record you might have implementing partner that's a nonprofit, that's also going to be an account record.

00:03:08:07 - 00:03:40:12

But if you're going to have an individual donor or an individual that works at one of those corporate or foundation supporters, that's going to be a contact. But the benefit of the model as manifest inside of Dynamics is that contacts and accounts are equal in terms of the way the system treats them. So you don't have to have an account for every contact. You can have individual donors that don't have households and you can have individual contacts like volunteers without organizing them, according to maybe a corporate or organizational group that they're associated with.

00:03:40:24 - 00:04:13:05

So think of that as instead of a two for one, a one for two deal, which I see as one of the hugest advantages of this CDM as it's manifest in this more modern context than we've seen historically. With the constituent model, you also get as many addresses as you want. The address model here isn't just about physical addresses. Each of those addresses also incorporates a bunch of other engagement methods, like things like phone numbers and digital communication methods as well, which is a really efficient way of managing subscription preferences for things like communications.

00:04:13:21 - 00:04:57:07

You get salutations, which is added inside of the Common Data model for Nonprofits. Also, think of that as names. You know, you might say Mr. and Mrs. or Miss and Mister or any other permutation of that and other languages like Senora y Senior and so forth. And that's so that you can have the appropriate way of engaging and communicating with your constituents as well. So that's standard within the CDM Constituent Model. And you also get this extensible preference model which allows you to incorporate the things like the volunteer interests a constituent might have, as well as their request to be left out of communications, for example, their opt outs for for more specificity.

00:04:58:06 - 00:05:28:06

And then importantly, the CDM separated two really important concepts around employment history and education in very elegant ways that that I think provide a clear way to build applications that bring the rest of the constituent model together. So an individual, an individual's entire employment history can be tracked in the employment history entity and or their education history, like the their secondary schools, their professional schools or the university and so forth, can be tracked in education.

00:05:28:18 - 00:06:00:24

Those entities are also linked back together. If you want to have referential integrity between the educational institutions themselves and the the individual who may have attended those. And the last thing that I think really stands out in this model is the use of this kind of many-to-many thing called connection. Connection allows you to relate any individual to any individual, any individual to any organization, and any organization to any organization, and any group of individuals or group of organizations, to any group of individuals or group of organizations.

00:06:01:10 - 00:06:32:09

So it's your single connection via which you're able to create this social graph, get between all of the people and organizations and groups that are within the CRM system itself. Again, giving you a really efficient way to do that from a database perspective and from an integration perspective, which is which is a big evolution from what we've seen historically. So the one thing that's really worth pointing out in the CDM only is, and I left this out on purpose and their initial explanation, is the household.

00:06:33:02 - 00:07:06:23

Some systems put households into their own entity, but the choices made in the CDM to include that inside of the account model so that you can see groups of individuals together with those organizations - but then you can leverage that connection entity to provide all of that connective tissue between individuals who may be part of multiple organizations or multiple households. So, again, I think this is a really elegant implementation of the model itself. And let me give you a quick tour of how this shows up inside of a Common Data Service environment that's been enabled with the Common Data Model for Nonprofits.

00:07:08:22 - 00:07:13:05

So if I flip over to that instance, you're going to see

00:07:15:03 - 00:07:53:03

and you'll see this in the walkthrough guide, this individual named Bertram Kristoffersson. So you can see that that Bertram is listed here and the donors tab. But if we click into Bertram's record, you're going to see that Bertram is actually a contact. And you can see that through the top of the screen here where you've got all of this rich detail about Bertram himself. Right? We can also see on the right hand side Bertram's direct association to that Kristoffersson household. So that's that kind of direct connection between the individual and the household account record. That also shows all the other related individuals that are part of that household here on the right hand side as well.

00:07:53:05 - 00:08:36:03

So you're starting to just on that first click on the first page, see that both database efficiency of how these things are brought together, but also the way that they're demonstrated on the screen. And if we click over to the Bertram or the Kristoffersson household, for example, we'll be able to excuse my click there will be able to actually see all of the detail that's brought together at the household information level as well. So you can see that Bertram is listed as a primary contact, which is a really important feature inside the CDM, to be able to identify that primary contact as separate from all of the other related contacts and then that ability to click right back over and see the other side of it also.

00:08:37:10 - 00:09:17:03

If you look through the connections, which are part of the model that we looked at on the other page, you'll see all of the related associations between Bertram and other entities within the system as well. So it gives you a sense of both where he works as well as the household associations that that he might be part of. So a very quick tour of the Constituent Model, but hopefully that gives you a good sense of how this model puts contacts on par with accounts, which is really differentiable, and that really highly efficient use of the connection entity to provide that many to many relationships within individuals, organizations and households.

00:09:17:17 - 00:09:21:16

So there you go, Constituents and the Common Data Model for Nonprofits.

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