12 Nonprofit KPIs Every Organization Should Track
There’s no shortage of nonprofit metrics you can measure, but not all data points are equal. Some metrics are more valuable than others for advancing your fundraising efforts and accelerating donation growth.
That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. These metrics allow nonprofit organizations to assess how to move toward a desired benchmark or set of benchmarks, like the total number of donors, year-over-year donation volume, average donation amount, and more.
Understanding nonprofit KPIs will help you make more sense of your organizational performance metrics and shape your strategy on sound data-driven decisions.
What Is a KPI?
KPIs provide critical insight into your nonprofit’s performance in a specific area.
While vanity metrics may look good, they won’t help inform future strategies. Fundraising KPIs can be more challenging to measure but also more meaningful.
Reporting on the right KPIs helps drastically increase your return on investment (ROI). It also helps you cut through the clutter and isolate the few metrics that genuinely reflect your nonprofit organization’s program efficiency and effectiveness.
Why Are KPIs So Important?
Here are four reasons why nonprofit KPIs are valuable to your organization.
- Trackable: KPIs provide you with concrete numbers that reveal the true health and status of your nonprofit (e.g., donor growth rate, churn rate, etc.)
- Progress: KPIs reveal which direction your nonprofit is trending over time. Your KPI dashboard reveals which particular areas need improvement
- Priorities: KPIs allow you to zero in on the areas that impact your growth instead of monitoring dozens of numbers that don’t lend any helpful insights
- Transparency: Fundraising KPIs give your team and board members a clear picture of how things are going. This level of nonprofit transparency is crucial to your long-term success
Let’s look at some of the most important nonprofit KPIs, broken down into organizational categories.
1. Recurring Donors
Knowing what percentage of your donors give regularly helps inform your outreach strategy and allows more flexibility to plan ahead based on predictable revenue. This is typically in the form of monthly donations but could be more or less frequent.
Even though they typically give in smaller amounts per gift, the lifetime value of recurring donors far surpasses one-time donors in the long run. Evaluating donor gifts gives you a clearer sense of how you’re pacing for the year.
2. New & Active Donors
Keeping a pulse on your donor base and knowing how quickly it grows is vital to fundraising success. Take this a step further by measuring how your number of new donors has changed over a period of time (e.g., quarterly or annually) and which channels drive new donor acquisition, like social media or email.
3. Average Gift Size
Every donor is different, and so is every donation, so it helps to measure the average size of all fundraising gifts over a period of time. Calculating this number helps optimize your donor outreach by crafting appeals slightly above the average, encouraging supporters to give a few extra dollars to meet your request. The average online donation varies by nonprofit category, but it’s generally around $178.¹
4. Donor Acquisition Cost
Ideally, your donor acquisition cost is low, and definitely lower than the cost of your average gift size. Understanding how much it costs to acquire a new donor shapes your strategy and informs your budget. And while nurturing and retaining donors is cheaper than acquiring new ones, continually expanding your donor base is critical to long-term sustainability.
5. Fundraising ROI
ROI is the cost of your fundraising efforts compared to how much revenue these efforts brought in. It takes effort to track but is a valuable ratio to understand. In addition to ensuring your return on investment stays in the green, it also allows you to set specific goals around the number of gifts, new donors, campaigns, and other efforts you want to accomplish.
6. Conversion Rate
This KPI calculates the number of people coming to your website who follow through with your call to action (CTA). That could be anything from donating, registering for an event, or applying to be a volunteer.
7. Email Click Rates
Email marketing is a valuable tool in your larger nonprofit marketing strategy, and click rates are perhaps the most reliable measure of your content’s effectiveness. Paying attention to your email open rates is also helpful, but these don’t accurately indicate who takes action based on your email’s content. An increase in click-through rates, on the other hand, is a great indication that your messages resonate and inspire action.
8. Social Engagement Rate
Social media platforms are full of vanity metrics, but tracking the right social media engagement metrics can provide a clear picture of your true performance. Your social engagement rate reflects the total amount of interaction a user has with your content—like commenting, sharing, or saving your post. The engagement rate compared to your reach is a great way to see how well you compare to other nonprofits of different sizes.
9. Response Rate
For offline marketing efforts like direct mail, the response rate lets you know how many people donated to a specific campaign. This metric is a must when proving the ROI of more traditional marketing methods.
10. Donor & Volunteer Retention Rate
While attracting new supporters is critical to your nonprofit organization’s ability to scale, so is retaining your consistent volunteers and loyal donors. As we mentioned, it’s much easier and more cost-effective to keep your current donors and volunteers than recruit new ones. Your retention rate of both lets you know how many people have committed to your cause.
11. Satisfaction Rating
Donor retention rates indicate how people perceive your organization’s impact. This satisfaction rate usually comes from regular audience surveys, where you can gauge the sentiment of various audiences—your staff, board members, volunteers, donors, or the general public.
12. Budget Expense Ratios
This ratio reveals the balance between your organization’s programming, fundraising, marketing, and administrative expenses. While there are no set guidelines for what these ratios should be, it’s an unspoken rule that most of it should go to fulfilling your mission.²
Top Last Year’s Performance With the Right Nonprofit KPIs
Nonprofit data analytics don’t have to be overwhelming. KPIs give you a simpler way to find clarity. These are the numbers that shape your strategies, capture your total costs, educate stakeholders on your overall health, and so much more.
But knowing which KPIs to track is only the beginning. Once you’ve established that list internally, begin pulling this data together and reporting to your team regularly. Only then can you unlock the true power of your nonprofit’s KPIs.
- “5 Facts About Online Average Gift Size,” NP Engage, last modified January 13, 2023, https://npengage.com/nonprofit-fundraising/5-facts-about-online-average-gift-size.
- “Nonprofit Ratios: How to Use Them and What They Measure for Your Organization,” Warren Averett, last modified January 13, 2023, https://warrenaverett.com/insights/nonprofit-ratios.
The Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Worksheet
Subscribe to the Classy Blog
Get the latest fundraising tips, trends, and ideas in your inbox.
Thank you for subscribing
You signed up for emails from Classy