Five Measurements of Nonprofit Success: KPIs that Count

Woman on computer looking at graphs. Success KPI's.



Nonprofits often need to be as numbers-oriented as commercial businesses, reaching various benchmarks to achieve success. Most concentrate on the number of donors or the total amount of donations -- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be sure, but not the only ones that deserve attention. Although prioritizing KPIs differ by organization, here are five popular KPIs to track.

New Donors: A nonprofit that grows the number of donors is a growing organization. Not every quarter will show a gain, but the general trend should show an increasing, not decreasing, level
of support.

Donor Retention Rate: If your donor list is shrinking, you may need to change your outreach effort, perhaps by changing your marketing approach. It's usually easier to keep existing donors than gain new ones. Expending extra effort to secure these relationships can help keep the donations flowing to your nonprofit.

Fundraising ROI: Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) from your fundraising events helps determine if your efforts are effective or not. Remember to include all costs that support an event, including internal staff time and effort.   If you find that you are generating only a small profit, or worse, failing to turn a profit, you may want to reevaluate your methods for raising funds, or even reconsider your target audience.

E-mail Conversion Rate: An e-mail campaign can bring in donations…or not. The conversion rate can tell you about the effectiveness of your pitch. If this number is low or falling, you may need to re-examine the content of your call-to-action. Are your emails too long? Too vague? Filled with errors? Too frequent? If you answer "yes," a re-evaluation may help improve the response.

Social Media Engagement: Your website is where individuals can donate, volunteer, and otherwise support your nonprofit. Convincing them to head to your nonprofit's home page should be the goal of posts, tweets, and other social media conversations. Tracking the number of visitors from social media sites – and their donations -- can help determine the value of your efforts and help tailor future posts.

Worthy causes appeal to our altruistic nature, but nonprofits compete for attention just like any other business. No matter how you use KPIs, calculating them on a regular basis is sure to help you obtain better results.

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