Top Nonprofit KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) Organizations Must Track

Top Nonprofit KPIs
Top Nonprofit KPIs

Data-driven decision-making is everything in this fast-moving modern world. Even nonprofits make better decisions by tracking specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Although usually associated with for-profit businesses, they’re effective tools for ensuring the longevity and success of your organization -with a few tweaks. Below, you can find a guide to the top-recommended nonprofit KPIs we think all organizations need to track for success.

Also read:

What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Key Performance Indicators, also known as KPIs, are a set of metrics that measure specific aspects of your nonprofit organization.

In other words, they’re measurable value that demonstrates how well the organization is achieving its overall goal and particular targets. By doing so, you can assess the organization’s health, success, and growth over time by tracking specific KPIs.

Although, not every nonprofit KPI is the same. High-level KPIs primarily focus on organizational success, and low-level KPIs concentrate on day-to-day tasks or processes that help achieve the mission.

Metrics Vs KPIs: What’s the difference?

While KPIs are the data you track to see how well your processes perform, Metrics are the actual data points representing your organizational performance.

The difference is that Metrics are a record of what has happened. Whereas KPIs are actionable metrics. Ones attached to a goal or objective. Yet, they both indicate if you’re heading in the right direction of what you want to happen.

Why Should Nonprofits Track KPIs?

For nonprofit organizations, meeting and exceeding their goals involves fine-tuning processes and improving their teams.

It’s a dance between art and science. That’s because analytics is the science behind your successful processes, while art is your team’s skills in creating and maintaining effective processes.

With this in mind, you need to be able to identify, collect, and analyse the correct data. That’s why we put together this guide. Read on to explore the top nonprofit KPIs you should consider tracking.

Top KPIs for Nonprofit Organizations

Donor Retention KPIs for nonprofits

Donors are the financial lifeblood of any organization and hence have an individual category. Yet, while donor retention is crucial to a nonprofit’s success, it’s commonly undervalued in favour of donor acquisition.

However, repeat and recurring donors are much cheaper, easier and more accessible. Therefore, your year-long work should keep active donors engaged, informed and made to feel like they are making a difference in your mission.

For this reason, there are quite a few donor retention KPIs you might want to follow when considering how to optimise the engagement of your existing donors:

1. Donor Retention Rate

The donor retention rate reflects the percentage of donors who give in two consecutive periods. In simple terms, the formula measures how many of your donors are recurring givers. Typically, nonprofits measure this metric on a year-to-year basis.

As mentioned above, retaining current donors who have given more than once is easier (and cost-effective) than acquiring new ones. That’s because they invested in your cause. Therefore, by tracking how many donors you retain each year, you can modify your donor outreach strategies accordingly with the donor retention rate formula below:

Donor Retention Rate = (Total # Returning Donors / Total # Donors Last Year) x 100

Donor Retention Rate Formula

2. Donor Churn/Attrition

Donor churn is the rate at which donors stop making contributions to your organization over a certain period. Naturally, it’s much more cost-effective to gain repeat donations from existing donors than to acquire brand-new donors, so this nonprofit donor KPI is crucial to track. Overall, this metric will help you understand how well you engage existing donors to continue supporting your mission.

Step 1. Total of # Donors Last Year – Total of # Donors This Year = Total # of Donors Lost
Step 2. (Total # Donors Lost / Total of Donors Last Year) x 100

Donor Churn Rate Formila

3. Donor Lifetime Value (LTV)

Donor lifetime value is one of the most crucial KPIs for nonprofits. It helps organizations, both big and small understand the value of each donor over the lifetime of their relationship with you. Overall, the metric tells you how much you can expect to receive over time by generating a single additional donor and how much you’re willing to spend to acquire a new donor.

Donor Life Time Value = $ Average Annual Giving x Total # of Years Donating

Donor Life Time Value Formula

Operational Success KPIs for Nonprofits

Like for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations require people to manage and run their matters to succeed. Use the nonprofit KPIs below to measure the value and success of paid employees and volunteers:

4. Employee Retention Rate

Employee Retention Rate measures how long your nonprofit employees stay before they decide to leave. This KPI can be measured in months, quarters or years and will give you an overall view of whether employees are satisfied working with your organization.

You’ll want to keep an eye on this KPI because higher turnover rates often result in increased recruitment costs, which take a lot of time and resources to achieve.

Employee Retention Rate = ( Total # of Remaining Employees / Total # of Original Employees) x 100

5. Employee Satisfaction Rate

While you can calculate the employee satisfaction rate by combining and reviewing other metrics like employee turnover rate and absenteeism rate, there are different ways to calculate employee satisfaction on their own.

a. NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Net Promoter Score measures employee satisfaction by using a scale. For example:

“On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to refer someone to work for us?”

Scores between 9-10 show high satisfaction, 7-8 show somewhat satisfaction, and 1-6 are generally unsatisfied. 

b. Informal Discussions

Another helpful way to check your employee satisfaction rate is to host informal talks with employees. The qualitative data will help to tell the story of your quantitative data.

6. Absenteeism rate

The absenteeism rate refers to how often employees take time off from work, regardless of reason, whether it’s illness or personal business. For this reason, the metric doesn’t include paid vacation.

Overall, the KPI is crucial as it indicates employee engagement and how motivated employees are at work.

Absenteeism Rate = ( Total # of individuals Missed workdays/ Total # of individuals Total workdays)

Absenteeism rate formula

7. Beneficiary Satisfaction Rate

Beneficiary satisfaction measurement refers to receiving feedback from those who benefit from your programs.

By measuring beneficiary satisfaction, you can hear beneficiary’s opinions, which provides your nonprofit with a chance to learn how to take action and where to improve the service and strengthen your impact.

To measure satisfaction, you could distribute questionnaires (in person or online) to ask beneficiaries questions like “How do you feel about our services?”

8. Number of Beneficiaries Served

The number of beneficiaries served is as it sounds – the number of beneficiaries you have served throughout a specific period (e.g. month, quarter, year).

9. Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets (LUNA)

LUNA (Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets) is the amount of unrestricted net assets you can convert to cash with relative ease. However, it also refers to the available funds for things like supplying working capital, guarding against downturns, and pursuing new opportunities.

Fundraising KPIs for Nonprofits

Fundraising KPIs are metrics that organizations use to measure factors related to the success of their donation strategy, donations and donors.
Organizations should use fundraising metrics to compare past data to determine how well their strategy performs. However, when selecting metrics to measure, choose the ones that relate to your overall goal:

10. Gifts Secured

Gifts secured are the number of donations your organization receives within a certain period. For example, many choose to track gifts secured by the past month or year. However, it’s important to note that this metric refers to the number of times an organization receives a donation rather than the monetary value.

11. Fundraising ROI

The fundraising return on investment allows organizations to determine how successful their overall fundraising efforts are. While similar to the cost per dollar metric below, it’s instead achieved by dividing expenses by your revenue. If the value is greater than one, your organization has made a profit, and if not, it lost money.

For example, if your fundraiser costs you $750 overall and you brought in $2000, the following formula would be the fundraising ROI:

$2000/$750 = 2.66

In summary, this indicates that for every $1 you spent, you made $2.66, so the return on the investment is almost 3x.

12. Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

Cost per dollar raised, or CPDR for short, is a mathematical formula and strategic performance gauge that nonprofits can use to determine how the cost of fundraising compares to their bottom line.

To calculate your nonprofit’s CPDR, divide your expenses by your yearly revenue.

For instance, if you spent $40,000 on fundraising expenses (Which can include everything from staffing costs to marketing) by the amount you raised $100,000, then your CPDR is 40,000/100,000 = .40

In other words, your CDPR would be 40 cents.

Fundraising Expenses/Revenue = CPDR

CPDR Formula

14. Donation Growth

The donation growth rate measures how much revenue your organization has gained from donations year over year. It’s an essential nonprofit metric as it will help you keep track of progress. More so, over a set period, it can show you the difference either as a percentage or as a monetary amount.

# of Donations in 2021 – # of Donations in 2022

Donation Growth Rate Formula

15. Average Gift Size

Donors don’t all donate the same amount of money, so your range of donations will vary from a couple of dollars to hundreds, to thousands, to more.

Some of those donors may be a one-off sum, or some may be a small amount on a recurring basis.

Overall, the metric is crucial for showing how much each individual donor represents to your organization. By knowing the average gift size, you can make better decisions when strategic planning and forecasting for the future, certainly where grantmakers are concerned.

Total $ Fundraised / Total # of Donations = Average Gift Size

Average Gift Size Formula

17. Donation Conversions by Source/Channel

Knowing where your donations come from, whether through email campaigns, referrals, advertisements, social media appeals, or organic efforts, is critical to success.

By analysing this data, you can identify the channels that are more effective than others, including where to improve calls to action and adjust strategies to ensure target markets keep responding.

Overall, you can measure this metric by dividing the total number of donors who gifted through a specific channel by the total amount of donors reached through the call to action (CTA). Once complete, multiply this number by 100.

Total # of Donors (Channel Source)/ Total # of Donors Reached by CTA x 100 = Donation Conversions by Channel

Donation Conversions by Source Formula

Social Media & Marketing KPIs for Nonprofits

Anything that drives engagement for your nonprofit and its mission, like clicks to petitions, email signups, and donation conversions online, is worth measuring.

18. Marketing Spend Per Conversion

If you want to track your digital media strategy’s effectiveness, this is the nonprofit metric for you. The marketing spend per conversion metric can you tell you how much you must spend to gain either a donation or a volunteer.

Calculate your marketing spend per donation by dividing your marketing costs by the total number of gifts or volunteer sign-ups in any given period.

19. Website Page Views

Website page views are the number of times users view a page on your website in any given period, including real-time. They’re important to track because the more people that visit your nonprofit website, the higher the chance of someone clocking your call-to-action and making a conversion (donation).

20. Landing Page Conversion Rate

This metric measures how many visitors to your donation page completed the donation process.

Using a tracking tool like Google Analytics, you can measure how many visitors to your donation page completed the donation process.

Follow the donor journey, from reaching a specific page, how they arrived there and how many completed the required action, all in one place.

Total # of Conversions / Total # of Visitors x 100 = %

Landing Page Conversion Rate Formula

21. Number of Followers by Platform

By tracking social media followers by platform, you can gain insight into which target audiences are most engaged and what content they like to view and interact with.

However, the sheer follower number doesn’t necessarily equate to more reach or the likelihood of more donations.

Although, the more people see your posts, the more they will become aware of your organization and its mission, all achieved without them following you. This could even lead them to visit the site and donate, which wouldn’t be represented by the follower number. For this reason, tracking your engagement and impressions is essential.

22. Conversions by Referral Channel

By tracking your conversions by referral channel, you can analyse the percentage, amount, or number of donations or sign-ups from each online platform.

For example, conversions can come from email links, social media platforms or Google ads. Doing so will reveal the real drivers of your donation or sign-up amounts and which, overall, are the most effective at driving your growth.

23. Social Media Engagement Rates

Social Media Engagements refer to any interaction a user has with your content online. Overall, your goal is to get users to stop scrolling and click on your content and engage with it, usually measured by interactions like:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Reactions
  • Favouriting
  • Comments
  • Link clicks

Although, it’s worth noting that most social media engagements are not all equal. Some are more valuable than others because they show a deeper audience interaction and interest.

For instance, while having your posts on Facebook is good, it takes little effort on the user’s part. Whereas receiving a comment on your post is better as it shows that they took the time to read your post, take note of a call to action if necessary and add the content of their own -which encourages other users to do the same.

Better yet, receiving a share is an ideal outcome as it exposes your content to even more of your potential audience.

24. Social Media Conversions

Tracking social media conversions is more complex than tracking engagements. The process requires bridging information with another platform, usually where the actual conversion takes place, for example, your CRM.

More so, if you lack any means of tracking integrations to communicate data across platforms, you’ll find yourself guessing more than making a definite analysis.

Yet, there are ways to track social media users as they enter your conversion stage.

For example, UTM tracking codes allow you to customize a link with tags explaining where a user originates. Using Google Analytics, you can view the path these users made through your website, including specific actions.

Conversions / Impressions x 100 = Social Media Conversion Rate

Social Media Conversion Rate Formula

Email Marketing KPIs for Nonprofits

Nonprofit email marketing is an excellent tool for connecting with your donors and increasing digital donations. But unfortunately, it’s far from being a “set-it-and-forget-it” system. For this reason, if you don’t measure the results, you’re only halfway to the finish line. Don’t miss out on those crucial opportunities instead, use the following nonprofit email marketing KPIs to level up your digital donation game:

25. Email Open Rate

Your email open rate is the percentage of recipients who open your email. This email marketing metric lets you know if recipients see your emails as trustworthy.

Overall, it helps you understand if:

  • You’re sending relevant emails to the right people
  • Whether recipients think your email is worth reading
  • Whether the subject lines are enticing enough to open

Ideally, you want to meet or exceed the industry average for nonprofits which is about a 21% email open rate (or around 1 in 5 contacts.)

Open Rate = (Total # of Emails Opened / Total # of Emails Sent) x 100

Email Open Rate Formula

26. Email click-to-open Rate

Your email click-to-open rate is the percentage of contacts that not only opened your email but then clicked a link or call-to-action (CTA). Overall, this nonprofit email marketing KPI helps give you some perspective on whether your email content works well enough to convert readers.

Email CTR = (Total # of Clicks / Total # of Delivered Emails) x 100

Email Click-Through Rate Formula

27. Email Conversion Rate

Your email conversation rate is the percentage of people who clicked on the CTA or hyperlink within an email. Its primary use is to measure how many people are completing the desired action, but it also gives you an overall perspective of how engaging your emails are.

Overall, many organizations use this metric to plan email campaigns that require list segmentation, as you can predict the results and plan accordingly.

Email Conversion Rate = (Total # of Conversions (Desired Action) / Total # of Delivered Emails) x 100

Email Conversion Rate Formula

28. Email Unsubscribe Rate

Your email unsubscribe rate measures the percentage of contacts who have chosen to opt out of your future email communications. The average unsubscribe rate for nonprofits is around 0.18%, yet if you find your percentage meeting or exceeding this figure, it’s time to think about a new email marketing strategy.

It’s also essential to remember that many recipients will often delete your email without reading it. Or worse, leave it withering in their inboxes, unread forever. If this happens, it’s time to clean out your contacts!

Email Unsubcribe Rate = (Total # of Unsubs / Total # of Delivered Email) x 100

Email Opt-Out Rate Formula

29. List Growth Rate

It’s essential to measure the rate at which your contact list grows to determine how well your acquisition strategy is working in collecting email addresses.

Overall, the list growth rate metric works in tandem with the other metrics discussed and can be used to calculate and predict correlated increases in your other stats.

Email Outreach Rate = (Total # of Responses / Total # of Delivered Emails) x 100

Email Outreach Rate Formula

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