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CDM Solutions - Resources Overview

Updated: Dec 7, 2020


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

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:02:05 - 00:00:39:16

All right, good day, this is Dan Lammot from Very excited to be delivering part of a series about the Common Data Model for Nonprofits. We believe this is a really important topic for technologists in the nonprofit sector to be aware of, because the Common Data Model for Nonprofits is the best shot we think we've got towards a collective action to enable nonprofits to achieve their missions. So today we're going to just take a quick run through all of the different places where you can go to learn about this resource so that you can put it into action in your daily work.

00:00:40:03 - 00:01:16:37

So you can certainly learn about it through the website, but the main landing page is going to be with the Microsoft team and the Microsoft for Nonprofits website, which you see here. This is where you can find all kinds of other resources about the services that Microsoft offers all the way from the front office to the back office. But the key topic is really about the Common Data Model for Nonprofits. So the CDM is really at the center of this overall movement that Microsoft has stewarded, but is really led by partners and stakeholders across the sector.

00:01:16:50 - 00:02:04:32

This is a picture I borrowed from Eric Arnold, the global CTO of the team at Tech for Social Impact at Microsoft. And I think it does a great job of showing how all of these different interactive services, which is another name for technology, can be brought to bear in concert in service of communities around the world and in an attempt to achieve the 2030 agenda and beyond. So you can see that the CDM here is at the center and then all of your other functions, from fundraising to finance to grant management or program delivery, like we focus on here at threshold.World, all work in line with that CDM, whether they're built upon it or connecting to it, and they work with each other, which is the real value added interoperability benefit of the CDM at its core.

00:02:05:24 - 00:02:44:18

So this picture does a great job of giving you that overall view. The place to start to dig into the details begins in Microsoft documentation. So here we are on the Microsoft Doc site. This is useful because it provides the overview of all of the industry accelerators, each of which has its own CDM or common data model. Many of these work very well together. We've seen great use cases of the Health Care accelerator and the Health CDM being used in concert with the Nonprofit Accelerator and the Nonprofit CDM, or the Education Accelerator and CDM being used in concert with the Nonprofit CDM.

00:03:16:42 - 00:03:54:00

So the reason why I start with this general CDM and industry accelerator overview, is because the CDMS and accelerators are intended to be used together when it makes sense. If your nonprofit is focused on health related scenarios, you can get benefit from combining the Health CDM with the Nonprofit CDM. If you're focused on educational scenarios, you could combine Education Accelerator and CDM with a Nonprofit Accelerator and CDM. If you're doing Frontline Humanitarian Logistics, you could use the Manufacturing Accelerator and the Nonprofit CDM. So you can really think about these as complementary.

00:03:54:38 - 00:04:32:28

And one of the reasons why it's important that Microsoft is stewarding this overall initiative that's driven by practitioners and experts across the industry is this commitment to interoperability, which for me is that the huge value add for those of us that are attempting to serve the sector. So when you dig into the Nonprofit Accelerator page on Microsoft Docs, you're going to scroll for days to get to the bottom of it. And the reason why all of this content is provided is to provide a number of different viewpoints, whether you're focusing on the business side or achieving fundraising or grant management or program delivery goals or the technical side.

00:04:32:56 - 00:05:04:12

So this is your very best resource from top to bottom, irrespective of what role you approach it from. When you look at the the core of this, there's one picture that's my favorite, which is right here at the middle that shows how the different pieces of the CDM and Accelerator come together to give you, as a technologist or as a nonprofit, choice about which parts you take dependencies on or use. But a lot more on that topic when we get into the solution, layering later on.

00:05:05:06 - 00:05:46:19

So one of the key things for you to be able to find on the Docs page is this the Dynamics 365 nonprofit accelerator app source listing bit of alphabet soup and quite a bit a mouthful. But this is the marketplace where you can go import those solutions directly into your Dynamics 365 environment, whether it's the Common Data Service level or sales or service or field service, et cetera, et cetera. So a really key resource for you to be able to tap into, to be able to actually import the latest version of the accelerator and CDM into your environment or if you're already using it, to be able to upgrade and or test drive the latest features that are being published into the market.

00:05:47:17 - 00:06:18:24

I saved the best for last. One of the the commitments that Microsoft made to this sector was to bring collaborator's together from across the space, including traditionally organizations that might have been seen as competitors to put this effort behind the Common Data Model for Nonprofits and then make it available to everybody. So the best resource is GitHub. And if you don't spend a lot of time on GitHub, you may get a little bit lost looking around here.

00:06:18:26 - 00:06:55:53

But Microsoft's done a great job of publishing all of the resources for the Common Data Model for Nonprofits to GitHub. So even if you're not going to use Microsoft Technologies to go implement your solution, this is the place to come to be able to align your solution with the Nonprofit Common Data Model. So the GitHub reference is organized based on release. The latest generally available releases version 2.3.3 as of November 2020. And within this, you're going to find a host of different resources that we're going to highlight in our discussion here today.

00:06:56:32 - 00:07:32:08

So if you're looking for somewhere to start, the best place to go is going to be the Nonprofit Accelerator Walk Through Guide. This document gives you an end to end click through with screenshots of all of the major components of the accelerator organized by function. So it starts off describing the personas that are involved in the walk through. And then it goes on to talking about constituent management, fundraising, awards and grants, delivery frameworks, project management and so on and so forth.

00:07:32:10 - 00:08:02:57

But each of those sections will actually talk you through a storyline that threads all the way through the CDM. And the thing to really look for within that is you start off with this donor named Bertram, who donates to a specific designation that then results in the funds being awarded to a particular operating nonprofit. Then the results are tracked all the way down to training in the field. And ultimately you end up seeing that the notification goes all the way back to Bertram at the very beginning of it.

00:08:03:13 - 00:08:26:35

This is an industry first, to have a common data model and threads all of that together from beginning to end and beginning again so that you can see the cycles of value throughout the sector. So the walkthrough guide is a great way to get started and actually see how the Common Data Model for Nonprofits can be manifested inside of technology, in this case, inside of Dynamics 365.

00:08:28:06 - 00:09:11:32

My second favorite is the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator Entity Reference Guide. Again, a mouthful, but the great part about this document is that once you get through the table of contents, you're going to see a host of entity reference guides that show you exactly how the Nonprofit Accelerator and the CDM for Nonprofits are modeled based on the data constructs. You can focus on constituent management, award management, benefit recipients and all of the different major functional concepts that give you a really good picture of how the data is actually modeled behind the scenes.

00:09:12:17 - 00:09:26:11

It's a lot of fun to go dig through those and hopefully you'll find as much joy in seeing them as as those of us that had an opportunity to contribute to add and creating them lots more on each of those to come in each of the following scenarios.

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