The Non-Profit KPIs and Metrics that Matter Most

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Non-profit organizations are learning a lot from for-profit companies. For instance, we see many NPOs getting more focused on measuring the performance of their fundraising strategy. They’re going beyond tracking dollars raised to reporting on the success of fundraising campaigns. This is a new approach for the industry. And many organizations are struggling to figure to out which non-profit KPIs (key performance indicators) are most important to track.

While total funds raised is arguably the primary indicator of success, there are a plethora of additional metrics to consider. These include everything from website traffic and social media following to new donor signups and donor retention rate. With so many possible metrics to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Types of Non-Profit KPIs and Metrics

Choosing the non-profit KPIs that are right for your team depends on your organization’s goals. You want to select a combination of high-level metrics that focus on revenue and donor numbers, and more granular data points built around campaign performance and donor behavior.

Most fundraising metrics can be organized into five groups:

  • Revenue (or funds raised) metrics – Quantify the money your organization has raised.
  • Donor metrics – Track your donor activity and the growth of your supporters.
  • Campaign metrics – Evaluate specific campaign stats so you can understand the effectiveness of your efforts.
  • Channel metrics – Understand which communication channels are most effective.
  • Cost and/or ROI metrics – Measure the return on your marketing investments.
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    Which Metrics Are Most Important for Your Strategy?

    There are countless data points you can track within these categories. If you worry about tracking everything, you’ll never have time to get anything else done. To decide which non-profits KPIs are most helpful to your organization, take a look at the goals you’ve outlined. Then get with your team to discuss which metrics will be most helpful in tracking your progress towards those goals.

    For example, if your number one goal is to increase donor retention rate, aside from tracking how long most donors give, you may also look at these KPIs:

  • Number of thank you communications sent
  • How long it takes to send a thank you message
  • Open rate on your monthly donor newsletter
  • Click through rate on your monthly donor newsletter
  • Engagement rates on other campaigns specifically targeted at this audience
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    Of course, you don’t want to stop with measuring one goal. You’ll likely identify a few core metrics from each of the above categories that you track every month. It’s not one-size-fits-all, so choose what works best for each effort. The important thing is to be consistent in documenting and evaluating your results. And don’t be afraid to evolve your metrics as you learn what’s helpful and what’s not.

    Revenue/Funds Raised KPIs

    Your non-profit’s success hinges on your ability to effectively raise funds. Tracking KPIs related to total donations, cumulatively and for individual campaigns, will help keep you on track to reach your fundraising goals. It will also reveal which efforts are most effective so you can focus on doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

    Some KPIs related to funds raised include:

  • Total money raised
  • Number of donations
  • Average donation amount
  • Percent-to-goal performance
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    Donor Metrics

    These KPIs track the health of your supporter base and their overall behavior. By monitoring your ability to reach new people and connect with existing donors, you can make strategic decisions about future campaigns. Some metrics help you look closely at individual donor activity. Others will serve as indicators to ensure you’re not losing traction with your overall supporter base.

    A few KPIs to consider here are:

  • Total number of donors (for a specific time frame, campaign or channel)
  • Number of donors lost
  • Percentage of donor growth
  • One-time vs recurring donations
  • Average number of months donors give
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    Campaign Metrics

    In addition to these data points, it can be equally important to look at specific campaign performance. The goal is to learn which types of campaigns generate the best results so you can apply those learnings to future efforts. You may also want to review campaign performance among specific audiences. This will let you identify the types activities that are most effective with specific groups.

    Common campaign KPIs include:

  • Total people reached per campaign
  • Number of new donors each campaign generated
  • Conversion rate (visitor-to-donor)
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    Channel Metrics

    Your fundraising strategy likely includes several outreach methods, like email campaigns, social media marketing and face-to-face fundraising. We recommend evaluating the success of each marketing channel so you can determine the most cost effective ways to reach new donors.

    Channel-related KPIs include:

  • New donors acquired from each channel (social media, email, direct mail, ads, face-to-face, etc.)
  • Percent of donors/donations from each channel
  • Website views and landing page conversion rates
  • Email metrics: opens/click-throughs, unsubscribe, conversion rate
  • Social media engagement like retweets, shares and hashtag usage
  • Face-to-face conversion rates (# of new donors vs. # of face-to-face pitches)
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    Cost and ROI Metrics

    Most non-profits have a fundraising budget. The goal is to use that budget to reach as many people and convert as many new donors as possible. It’s important to track the total cost of campaigns and funds raises per campaign. A paid ad on prime time TV may raise a lot of money. But if the cost of the ad exceeds the donations, you may want to rethink your strategy.

    Cost and ROI metrics should be tracked for individual campaigns and in totality. A few metrics to consider include:

  • Total investment (per time frame or campaign)
  • Total funds raised (per the same time frame or campaign)
  • Annual and campaign-specific ROI (divide funds raised by dollars invested)
  • Cost to acquire a new donor (per channel, per campaign and in aggregate)
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    Once non-profits go through this ROI exercise, they’re often surprised by the insights. It’s not uncommon to find that face-to-face fundraising is among the most cost effective way to acquire new donors.

    How to Track Non-Profit KPIs

    Once you identify the non-profit KPIs that are most important for your strategy, you need which technology and tools you’ll use to get the data. Some of these metrics are available in your CRM. You can also collect a lot of info from your digital marketing platforms (like your email marketing tool and social media platforms).

    If you need an extra set of eyes on your reporting approach, we’re happy to help. We work with many top non-profits to build custom reporting dashboards that give them the most pertinent information they need to run effective fundraising campaigns. Just drop us a note or add a comment below.

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