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How Microsoft helped Donorfy do good, better

For the last year, Donorfy has been helping charities across the UK and beyond have access to donor management software that was usually reserved for the charity sector heavyweights.

As our slogan says: “doing good just got better”.

When we joined the Microsoft BizSpark Programme and decided to build our cloud-based CRM using Microsoft Azure’s SDKs and tools, we felt like it was just the right tool needed to give our company the boost it needed to make our charity software into the success it is today.

We wanted to write about our experience as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) company using Microsoft Azure for the benefit of other startups who might be considering the same, or for charities who are curious about what we're doing behind the scenes.

Microsoft Azure: giving Software-as-a-Service startups an early boost

Robin Fisk, co-founder of Donorfy, explains the advantage that Microsoft’s developer tools and the BizSpark programme have given Donorfy below:

“Microsoft’s BizSpark programme has given us a way to get started, which otherwise would take quite a bit of investment to do and we might not have been able to build our product as quickly. This boost has in turn has helped a startup like us help the charity sector access a product they wouldn’t normally be able to: a specialist CRM system for the charity sector.

“Previously CRM systems were only viable for larger charities, as traditional CRMs are heavyweight systems that were expensive to implement due to the technical setup and servers needed to run them.”

Democratising donor management

“With a cloud-based system, this has allowed Donorfy to democratise CRMs for the charity sector. Charities no longer have to host their CRM on their own servers, so they can access the system from anywhere. Donorfy easily integrates with their existing tools, such as JustGiving and Eventbrite. There’s zero effort with getting started: Charities can just sign up to Donorfy and start using it straight, which you can only do with a cloud-based system.

“There are also significant cost savings involved for charities, as it’s much more affordable for charities to use a cloud-based system as they don’t have to hire specialist developer support to setup the system and configure the integrations. As Donorfy is a multi-tenant SaaS, basing the software in Azure makes it cost-efficient to roll out and means we can price Donorfy to make it affordable for charities.”

Building a secure foundation using Azure

Ben Brett, Donorfy’s technical lead, explains why they chose to build Donorfy using Azure:

“We chose Azure because it was one of the largest cloud platforms around. The Azure platform takes care of the trickier elements of setting up a cloud-based system, such as authentication and background job processing. It has these features baked into the platform, so you have the ability to monitor what your application is doing and get practical advice on how to fine tune your app setup to be more resilient or run faster.

“Without Microsoft, it would be horrendously difficult and expensive to deploy updates. With Azure, the latest updates can be uploaded, tested alongside the current version, and then deployed without any downtime or loss of data for users. All our code and data is automatically backed up for us and geo redundancy adds to the resilience. This kind of feature makes SAAS and cloud technology more accessible for smaller companies like Donorfy to get started.”

“What’s more, we’ve experienced excellent support from the Microsoft Developer team. The various tools used to manage Azure are constantly being added to. Pretty much every week there’s something new they’ve added to the platform, so the time and resource they put into improving the platform becomes available developers almost immediately and on a regular basis.”

Donorfy’s aim is to help charities do good, better.

Using Microsoft’s tools has helped us get up and running and start helping more charities we would previously would have imagined, and the ability to grow and help more charities at a rapid rate.

Want to learn more about our cloud-based donor management CRM?

Take a tour of Donorfy and sign up for a free trial at donorfy.com.