Fundraising data is the key to understanding your nonprofit campaign’s success. Understanding what KPIs to track and how to use them to make data-driven decisions is a little nuanced.
Nonprofit KPIs (key performance indicators) are a set of metrics that will help you understand goals and provide the information you need to understand how your nonprofit is performing. Good nonprofit KPIs are measurable and quantifiable and will help you run a stronger, smoother organization.
This guide will help you understand what KPIs are important to track for nonprofits and how to use that data to your advantage.
What Are Nonprofit KPIs and Why Are They Important
Key performance indicators are critical and quantifiable indicators of progress toward a goal. A nonprofit can have KPIs for the organization as a whole or for specific campaigns. Most organizations will have several sets of KPIs for different work paths.
KPIs serve several valuable purposes in terms of measuring impact and creating increased success in fundraising:
- Help you identify opportunities and success
- See what changes should be made and assist in the decision-making process
- Help you see and address problems early
- Support campaigns, projects, or goals
- Understand the why of your nonprofit data
Thinking in terms of KPIs is part of a data-driven decision-making strategy for your organization. GiveWP has some tools and add-ons that can help you collect and better understand your fundraising. Customer relationship management tool, Active Campaign, for example, integrates with GiveWP and tagging and can you better understand donors and their relationships with giving.
Many of the metrics you need to track KPIs are located in the GiveWP donor dashboard.
How to Identify Nonprofit KPIs
KPIs are fluid measurements and can change based on campaigns, organizational goals, and present needs.
Good KPIs help provide objective evidence of progress toward a goal. To be effective, a KPI must use data-backed metrics to provide information that can be quantified and analyzed.
Other elements of good KPIs from KPI.org include:
- Measure what is intended to be measured to help inform better decision making
- Offer a comparison that gauges the degree of performance change over time
- Can track efficiency, effectiveness, quality, timeliness, governance, compliance, behaviors, economics, project performance, personnel performance, or resource utilization
- Are balanced between leading and lagging indicators
So, what should you consider when setting organization KPIs for the first time or when reevaluating metrics?
- Start with organizational capacity. The best metrics are ones that you can keep up with and measure over time. If you don’t have the data or a tracking methodology available, it’s probably not a good KPI.
- Track overall goals as long-term KPIs. This might include overall revenue or the number of donors over long periods.
- Track campaign-specific short-term KPIs. This might include fundraising for a specific timeframe, project, or campaign.
- Set KPIs that you can measure against industry benchmarks to measure your success against peer organizations. You will need a combination of internal data and publicly available information for other organizations for comparison.
- Create reports for your stakeholders with measurable data, such as impact reports.
One of the most important things to consider is that not every organization will have the same KPIs. While identifying long-term KPIs should be part of the strategy, many measurables will change over time based on organizational changes or needs.
Long-term measurables provide direction for the entire organization and short-term KPIs can help you measure the success of each new campaign you launch.
Top Nonprofit KPIs to Track
You know you need to track KPIs to help measure nonprofit performance and success, but maybe you aren’t sure where to start. That’s ok.
Here are eight different KPIs that can be valuable for almost any nonprofit organization to track with data that you probably have available at your fingertips.
Donor Retention (Donor Churn)
Donor churn is the loss of donors over a specific period of time. It occurs when a donor has previously donated but decides not to donate again. Donor churn is a common problem for nonprofits and can result from poor communication, lack of engagement, or changes in donor priorities.
Nonprofits can increase donor retention by maintaining and having a good plan for donor engagement. This includes all forms of communication and providing opportunities for donors to provide feedback.
Donor Lifetime Value
Donor lifetime value is the total amount of money a donor is expected to contribute over the course of the relationship. This metric measures the long-term value of each donor to the organization. This calculation considers the frequency and size of donations; the length of time the donor has been giving; and the likelihood the donor continues to give.
To maximize donor lifetime value, it is important to retain donors for longer periods and encourage increased giving over time.
Recurring Gift Percentage
The percentage of an organization’s total donations that are made repeatedly is how you calculate your recurring gift percentage. It measures the sustainability of fundraising efforts and can help predict future revenue.
Having a high recurring gift percentage is beneficial because it provides a predictable and reliable source of income that can be used to fund ongoing programs and initiatives.
Nonprofits can increase their recurring gift percentage by promoting and encouraging recurring donations through various channels, such as email campaigns, social media, and website donation pages.
The average amount donated per donor is your average gift. It is a useful metric that can help you better understand the giving behavior of specific audiences or individual donors and the effectiveness of fundraising efforts.
Nonprofits can increase average gift KPIs by targeting high-net-worth donors, providing opportunities for major gifts, offering matching gift programs, and running effective fundraising campaigns that motivate donors to give more. Use data and analytics to segment donors based on giving behavior for more targeted fundraising efforts.
Fundraising ROI (Cost Per Dollar Raised)
Fundraising Return on Investment is a KPI that measures the financial return on fundraising efforts, often in the form of cost per dollar raised. A high fundraising ROI indicates that fundraising efforts are generating a positive return on investment.
Improve fundraising ROI by focusing on cost-effective strategies, such as online fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising, and donor stewardship.
New Donor Acquisition
New donor acquisition measures the effectiveness of efforts to attract and acquire new donors. It is a critical KPI that can help measure success in increasing a donor base and/or fundraising revenue. Your goal is to have a high new donor acquisition rate.
Nonprofits can work to increase the donor acquisition rate with marketing and outreach. Create compelling fundraising appeals that speak to the interests and motivations of potential donors and provide an easy donation process.
Donor conversion measures the rate that potential donors are converted into actual donors. This is an important KPI because it can help you understand the effectiveness of outreach and fundraising efforts.
If your donor conversion rate is low, that’s a sign that you may need to create more compelling asks or campaigns. It would also indicate that your donation process is not easy enough.
Per Form Data
If you are collecting donations online – we hope you are – you can track KPIs at the form level for truly dialed-in information.
Per form KPIs allow you to measure different forms or campaigns against each other to track which forms perform best as they pertain to your other KPIs.
This information can help you determine how to organize fields in your donation forms, change the design, and how to re-structure your call-to-action (or ask).
Turning Data into Actionable Insights
Nonprofit KPIs are vital to helping you measure success and create a baseline for performance for your nonprofit. This data can be shared internally to aid the decision-making process and with stakeholders to show your work.
Make the most of data collection on your website with Google Analytics. This tracking tool is free, and the add-on allows you to seamlessly collect eCommerce data related to donations on your GiveWP-powered donation website.
GiveWP customers also have the option to schedule a 30-Minute Fundraising Website Audit with our Customer Success team. The audit can help connect your goals with KPIs and tools to maximize your potential for nonprofit success. Learn more and book your appointment today.
About the Author
Carrie Cousins has more than 15 years of experience in media, design, and content marketing. She’s a writer and designer, has an MBA from Virginia Tech, and is passionate about creating amazing experiences for businesses online. Her work has been featured in publications such as Design Shack, Webdesigner Depot, The Next Web, and Fast Company. She's an avid runner, which comes in handy with a trio of Australian shepherds at home.