Top 25 nonprofit KPIs to measure fundraising success

July 4, 2024
13 minutes
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For nonprofits, KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, can sometimes fall by the wayside as we address issues that are a little higher priority than a fundraising report. These KPIs for nonprofits provide the information we need to stay in world-changing business long term, and they give nonprofits the power to embark on strategies that will fill for-good coffers for years to come.

What are nonprofit fundraising metrics?

Well, it's kind of boring, but here goes: Nonprofit fundraising metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure the success and effectiveness of an organization's fundraising activities. These metrics help nonprofits track progress towards fundraising goals, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize fundraising strategies, ultimately leading to increased impact (the not-boring stuff.)

Why is it important for nonprofits to track their fundraising metrics?

Key reasons why it's important for nonprofits to track their fundraising metrics: Metrics help measure progress, identify areas for improvement, make necessary moves more obvious, build relationships with donors, direct programming planning, build annual donation report content, decide whether to have a gala or a fun run, and maybe even build you a sandcastle... if you ask nicely.

As Tim Lockie explained on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast,

"Data is not the problem. More data is not the solution; it's the ability to knowledgeably and intentionally use the data."

And that's why it's important for nonprofit organizations to track fundraising metrics. They provide structure and organization for the data that's floating around your CRM. They make the data useable. 

Best Practices in Tracking Nonprofit Fundraising KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

  1. Set SMART fundraising goals
  2. Track and analyze metrics consistently
  3. Pivot! Adapt and improve
  4. Make the most of technological advances
  5. Get an expert to analyze your data

1. Set SMART fundraising goals

Setting SMART fundraising goals isn't just a good idea with regard to tracking your non-profit KPIs, SMART goals are also just a smart idea in general. If you're wondering why we keep yelling about how "smart" these goals are, the SMART criteria—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—make up an acronym that just make it easy to set attainable goals. Try it!

2. Track and analyze metrics consistently

In order to effectively measure the success of your nonprofit fundraising efforts, it is crucial to track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) consistently. Obviously, pulling a report once will tell you a lot, but by regularly monitoring the metrics of your choosing, you can gain valuable insights into the  effectiveness of your fundraising strategies over time. Just wait until you've got a few years of metrics under your belt; you'll be stunned at how far your nonprofit has come.

3. Optimize your fundraising strategy

This goes back to Tim Lockie's point: nonprofits are notorious for collecting data that they then do nothing with. If you're not going to use the information, don't even bother pulling the reports. At least try something small, like personalizing communications or updating your donation form.

4. Utilize fundraising technology

Speaking of updating your donation form, don't sleep on fundraising technology. If you don't know where to start, talk to the team here at Funraise; it's literally our mission to make fundraising technology friendly and accessible to nonprofits. And whether you want beginner-level data or robust fundraising reporting, Funraise's Fundraising Intelligence has everything you need. 

5. Hire someone to analyze metrics

You may be wondering why we're suggesting that you hire someone if Funraise has all the reporting and data analysis tools you need. Honestly, this is worth it. You could do it yourself or have one of your staff learn it, and we have full confidence that you would become a certified data nerd. But do you really have time for that? To wear yet another hat? This is one of those things that will truly benefit from someone who already has those skillz. 

Top 10 Nonprofit Fundraising Metrics

For nonprofiteers who are just getting started, don't overwhelm yourself with trying to track 25 fundraising metric all at once. (We're proud of you for even clicking into an article that offers that many non-profit KPIs! Go you!) Here are 10 to start with. 

  1. Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)
  2. Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)
  3. Donor Conversion Rate
  4. Donor Retention Rate
  5. Donor Churn Rate
  6. Donor Growth Rate
  7. Donor Lifetime Value (LTV)
  8. Donor Acquisition Cost
  9. Average Gift Size
  10. Year-over-Year Donation Revenue Growth

1. Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

The reason that CDPR is at the top of our list is because it's way simpler than it sounds: it tells you whether your nonprofit made money, lost money, or broke even. Easy, right? Although CPDR is usually used to gauge the success of fundraising events, it's also super useful when you apply it to specific fundraising campaigns or even your overall quarterly or annual revenue-generating fundraising efforts.

You want this to shake out to be more than 1. A result of 1 means you broke even; more than 1 means you made money.

How to measure CPDR

Total Fundraising Expenses / Total Revenue = CPDR

2. Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

Fundraising ROI is another high-level metric, similar to CPDR, so if you prefer one over the other, just choose one! They are slightly different, though; ROI tells how many dollars you made per dollar spent, and you get to use the "X". As in, "Our ROI for this event was 10x."

Notice that this formula is exactly opposite of CPDR, so you'll already have the data pulled. You're looking for a result of greater than 1, same as CPDR.

How to measure Fundraising ROI

Total Revenue / Total Fundraising Expenses = ROI

3. Donor Conversion Rate

Because we're on the internet and we run a technology company, we're looking at Donor Conversion Rate as it pertains to your website visitors making a donation online. But! If your nonprofit does a lot of direct mail campaigns or fundraising events, this may look slightly different.

Back to online donations... we'd just like to announce that the average online conversion rate for organizations using a Funraise donation form is 50%. To break it down further, that means that fully half of the people who interact with a Funraise donation form give money. And while we're at it, let's go even deeper: The typical CR for non-Amazon e-commerce sites is 1-2%. On Amazon, the average listing has a conversion rate of 10-15% for non-Prime members. 

How to measure Conversion Rate

(Number of Donations / Number of Website Visitors) x 100 = Donor Conversion Rate

4. Donor Retention Rate

Most of the time, we love Donor Retention Rates. They're so happy, like counting how many friends are coming to our birthday party. And although it's childish, it's an interesting perspective. Your Donor Retention Rate measures how many individual donors gave once and have continued to give to your organization over time. 

The real benefit to tracking your Donor Retention Rate is its relation to your Donor Acquisition Costs. As with so many things in life, it's much cheaper to keep what you already have than to get something new. Retained and active donors have much more value than just the money they give. 

How to measure Donor Retention Rate

(Total Number of Donors Last Year + Total Number of Donors This Year) / Total Number of Donors Last Year) x 100 = Donor Retention Rate

5. Lapsed Donor Rate / Donor Churn Rate

We've got another opposite metric here! Yes, Donor Churn Rate is just the opposite of Donor Retention Rate—think of it as the frowny version of Donor Retention. Donor churn, or what percentage of donors stopped giving to your organization, is useful to know for specific outreach efforts or period of time whereas retention is usually a top-level metric that your board or boss will want to know on an ongoing basis.

How to measure Donor Churn Rate

(Total Number of Lapsed Donors / Total Number of Donors Who Gave Last Year) x 100 = Donor Churn Rate

6. Donor Growth Rate

Similar to CPDR, the concept behind Donor Growth Rate is very simple: did you get more donors this year, or did your nonprofit experience a net loss of major donors? On its own, Donor Growth Rate is just a jumping off point—you need it to begin the journey, but it can only get you started. 

How to measure Donor Growth Rate

((Number of Donors This Year - Number of Donors Last Year) / Number of Donors Last Year) x 100 = Donor Growth Rate

7. Donor Lifetime Value (LTV)

From a simple stat to a more complex metric, Donor Lifetime Value (LTV) is a top-level metric that your board, major donors, grants, etc will ask for, so you might as well keep an eye on it, too. In order to pull Donor LTV, you've got to gather some other data points: Average Donor Lifetime, Average Gift Size, and Average Donation Frequency. Just mix those up to reveal how much you can expect from an average donor throughout their relationship with your nonprofit organization. 

How to measure Donor Lifetime Value

Average Donor Lifetime x Average Donation Amount x Average Donation Frequency = Donor LTV

8. Donor Acquisition Cost (DAC)

Donor Acquisition Cost (DAC) is so important that you'll want to pull it over and over again. That's the beauty of DAC: it can be different—and just as important—when viewed through the lens of different channels, campaigns, and seasons. Our advice? Keep a running overall DAC as your North Star, filter it for whatever event or future effort you're focused on, and always keep your Donor Acquisition Rate in your side mirror.

Bonus advice: Your DAC should always be lower than your Average Gift Size. If you're spending more than you're making, your CPDR will be upside down.

How to measure Donor Acquisition Cost

Fundraising Cost (by Channel/Event/Campaign) / Number of New Donors = DAC

9. Average Gift Size

Talk about a North Star metric! This isn't just for individual organizations, it's a core piece of information that the entire industry uses for annual revenue evaluation. Has tons of applications and it's easy to understand (even for us non-mathmatically-gifted folks).

How to measure Average Gift Size

Total Amount of Donations in $$ / Number of Donations = Average Gift Size

10. Year-over-Year Donation Revenue Growth

You can totally see why your board would be interested in this one, right? Year-over-year growth in revenue is one of those things that gets business folks all excited. And it's so easy! You take last year's annual revenue, mix that number up with this year's annual revenue, multiply by 100 (to make it an official percentage), and BAM.

How to measure YoY Donation Revenue Growth

(Total Donations This Year / Total Donations Last Year) x 100 = Year-over-Year Donation Growth

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15 Fundraising Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Consider Tracking

Once you've gotten a handle on metrics, you may find yourself yearning for more. If you start dreaming of visualing your growth, drop Funraise a line and pick up where you left off. These nonprofit fundraising metrics are the next step in leveling up your Fundraising Intelligence game. 

11. Event Conversion Rate

Event Conversion Rate gauges how many event attendees converted from potential donors to first-time donors. On its surface, it seems like a fundraising event KPI, but its secret power is showing how well your follow up strategies work. 

How to measure Event Conversion Rate

(Number of Attendees Who Donated Post-Event / Number of Attendees) x 100 = Event Conversion Rate

12. Recurring Gift Percentage

Recurring Gift Percentage is a key part of a predictable revenue plan. This metric shows how much of the donation revenue over a period of time came from a recurring subscription. 

How to measure Recurring Gift Percentage

(Number of Recurring Donations in $ / Total Donations in $) x 100 = Recuring Gift Percentage

13. Donor Demographic Metrics

There's real value in knowing the makeup of your donor base. Take it from us, you may be surprised at who's supporting your cause. 

How to measure Donor Demographics

This is more of a filter than a formula. In your CRM (or spreadsheet, yes, we know you made one), just filter that column or facet of your donor database.

14. Online Gift Percentage

In this day and age, most nonprofits have some online revenue. It's easy, fast, and many of times, donors get a confirmation immediately. As an online fundraising platform for nonprofits with online fundraising metrics, we love this, so we've doubled down on the formulas. 

How to measure Online Gift Percentage

Online Fundraising Metrics By $

(Number of Online Donations in $ / Total Donations in $) x 100 = Online Gift Percentage

Online Fundraising Metrics By Number

(Number of Online Donations / Total Number of Donations) x 100 = Online Gift Percentage

15. Email Open Rate

Your ESP should be a big help with this one, but you'll need to apply your Email Open Rate to specific campaigns to highlight the information that can make a difference in future communications.

Bonus goal actions: Email Conversion Rate and Email Opt-Out Rate

How to measure Email Open Rate

(Number of Email Opens / Number of Emails Delivered) x 100 = Email Open Rate

16. Email Click Through Rate

Doesn't matter how good your subject line is, if your email content doesn't get people to click, that communication is a waste. (Your intrepid editor has been there...) So! Keeping track of your Email CTR is a key way to stay on top of it. Good luck!

How to measure Email CTR

(Number of Email Clicks / Number of Email Opens) x 100 = Email CTR

17. Website Page Views

It's kind of wiggly, but this KPI is one that bosses love, traditionally. Website Pageviews tracks how many times your website was viewed, not how many people landed on your site. That said, it's always a fun one to see go up. And there's no reason not to track it, because most site analytics put it front and center.

How to measure Website Pageviews

Less of a formula and more of a little navigating to your GA or CMS for a quick number bite. 

18. Donation Conversions by Channel

Donation Conversions by Channel is a sneaky one. It's really just a standard conversion rate, just filtered by the channel—the channel can be broad, like all social media, or it can be narrowed, like Facebook. 

How to measure Donation Conversions by Channel

(Number of Donors / Total Channel Traffic) x 100 = Donation Conversions by Channel

19. Donor Gift Frequency

Do your donors give just once? How often do they give? When you find out, you can decide whether to make more asks or to pull back on the donor communication. 

How to measure Donor Gift Frequency

Number of Gifts / Number of Donors = Donor Gift Frequency

20. Reactivated Donors

Reactivated donors are donors that were considered lapsed or churned—they gave one year, didn't give the next, and then gave again in year 3. This metric isn't something your nonprofit should set KPIs around because it's so uncertain, but it is something to celebrate when your reactivated donors goes up.

How to measure Donor Reactivation Rate or Donor Recapture Rate

(Total Number of Reactivated Donors / Total Number of Lapsed Donors) x 100 = Donor Reactivation Rate

21. Second Gift Conversion Rate

Second gifts are sometimes viewed as the cementing of a relationship between a donor and a nonprofit. Usually tracked over a fiscal year, this non-profit metric rarely goes above 50%, so keep your expectations low.

How to measure Second Gift Conversion Rate

Number of Donors Who Gave Twice / Number of One-Time Donors = Second Gift Conversion Rate

22. Lost Potential

Logically, we know it's important, but sometimes donor retention is too vague to properly motivate us. That's where Lost Potential comes in; when you put a concrete number on the dollars lost (and impact missed), it's easier to increase donor retention rates.

How to measure Lost Potential

Donor Lifetime Value x [Year] Number of Lapsed Donors = Lost Potential

23. Fundraising Participation Rate

This is particularly important for nonprofits that rely on peer-to-peer fundraising. Because guess what... In Fundraising Participation Rate, "Fundraising" doesn't mean you. It's referring to supporters who fundraise on your behalf. 

How to measure Fundraising Participation Rate 

(Number of Fundraisers / Number of Donors) x 100 = Fundraising Participation Rate

24. Social Media Engagement Rate

This is a top-of-the-funnel KPI that bosses will love to see go up. Our suggested way to track Social Media Engagement is to use a social media management tool and pull it magically—there's no reason to spend your time scouring social media posts for likes. 

How to measure Social Media Engagement Rate

There are a ton of free social media platform management tools out there. Start with one and use the data they provide.  

25. Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

This is a serious non-profit metric, very serious. Pledges to your nonprofit are on the books as unfulfilled income. Tracking whether they're paid or not is crucial.

How to measure Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

(Number of Pledges Fulfilled / Total Number of Pledges) x 100 = Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

Steps to Start Tracking Fundraising Performance Measurements Today

There's only one way to start tracking online fundraising metrics, or KPIs—follow these 6 steps: 

  1. Select a CRM
  2. Decide on one metric
  3. Filter and pull a report
  4. Look for anomalies and patterns
  5. Choose an action
  6. Set a date to pull the report again

1. Select a CRM

Funraise is the obvious solution. Not only does Funraise's platform have a CRM, it's got Fundraising Intelligence, the industry's smartest, most user-friendly reporting suite of data tools. And if you've already got a CRM, it's likely that Funraise connects with it. Raiser's Edge, check. Virtuous, check. Salesforce, check. HubSpot, check. Go on, ask us how we connect to the CRM of your choosing!

2. Decide on one metric

Maybe start with something easy, like website visitors or Average Gift Size. When you have starter data, you can build on it to deliver more complex data dashboards. 

3. Filter and pull a report

Don't be afraid to click around and adjust filters. You're not going to break the data!

4. Look for anomalies and patterns

Once you have a dashboard or metrics pulled over time, you'll see ups and downs—maybe even a few that relate to specific campaigns or on days that you send emails. Most of them will make sense to you as the fundraiser, but there may be a few that are outliers. Hone in on those, and then...

5. Choose an action

if your anomaly benefitted your nonprofit, you'll want to make it happen again. If it was a... low point, you'll probably want to avoid it going forward. So you need to choose how you'll replicate the success or reverse the failure. 

6. Set a date to pull the report again

Betcha can't eat just one. Ok, maybe that's Lay's potato chips, but it also applies to nonprofit reports. Mark it on your calendar, pull it again, and get ready to celebrate sweet success!

Using Metrics to Improve Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Strategy

In the world of nonprofit organizations, fundraising is crucial for ensuring the financial stability and success of the organization—and making impact! To effectively measure and improve fundraising efforts, non-profit KPIs are the solution. Setting nonprofit goals, running the strategies, pulling the numbers, and iterating on the previous plan all shed light on the path that your nonprofit should take with regard to fundraising strategy.

Some ways you can use metrics to improve your nonprofit's fundraising strategies are by increasing or decreasing communications, or using different communication methods. Metrics can help you focus your resources and fundraising expenses on channels that have high donor conversion rates. Or, speaking of budgeting, metrics can show you how your technology is performing—maybe you need to transition to a more innovative and cost-effective fundraising platform. Maybe you haven't properly motivated your fundraising team; use metrics and donor KPIs to show them how well they're doing and celebrate their successes. 

Use Funraise's Fundraising Intelligence to Track Non-Profit KPIs

Now that we've talked (and talked and talked) about fundraising performance measurements, let's talk about how to not spend your entire week pulling numbers, only to have to start again re-running the same reports. 

Get Funraise. 

Funraise has the industry's most advanced and friendly suite of data dashboards and reporting tools: Fundraising Intelligence. Here's just a taste of what you can do with Fundraising Intelligence:

Fundraising Intelligence metrics and nonprofit KPIs

When compared with organizations who don’t use Fundraising Intelligence (yet), organizations who use Fundraising Intelligence:

  • Raise 7x more online annually on average
  • Grow recurring revenue 1.5x faster year over year on average, and...
  • As of April, organizations with Fundraising Intelligence have an average of 12% higher donor retention rates in 2024

Use dashboard templates 

Stop building and re-building the same reports. Step up your reporting game when you access a time-saving nonprofit KPI dashboard guide featuring the most common nonprofit reports built by fundraising experts, like lybunt and sybunt reports.

...or Create Custom Reports

We call it "Reporting without limits." Build custom fundraising reports from scratch and create dashboards with cross-object reporting, formula libraries, conditional formatting, and more.

Visualize donor and donation trends

Identify success stories and pain points with configurable charts, graphs, and diagrams. Discover how to maximize what's working and minimize fundraising flops in realtime.

Make fundraising forecasts with AI

Level up from your crystal ball; today's magic 8 ball is AI. Predict the future by forecasting donation revenue and donor activity with AI models informed by past  performance over time.

Have AI explain what the data means

Sometimes these things just look like numbers to us. Let AI explain key points in your fundraising and uncover unexpected patterns contributing to growth or decline in your fundraising performance measurements.

Schedule automated reports

Turn any dashboard into a beautifully-formatted, exportable donation report PDF to share with your team or use in presentations. Send pre-scheduled PDF reports to your board via email or set up automatic reporting for your team.

Leveraging Data to Enhance Donor Engagement

Donor engagement is one of the more traditional organizational goals of fundraisers, although not everyone calls it "donor engagement." A very obvious use of data to increase donor engagement is thank you communications: using data to figure out which donors respond to a mailed thank-you note, a phone call, or an email. If you know a donor loves to get a handwritten card, use that knowledge—it's called "data" and your brain is the ultimate CRM. 

Another awesome way to utilize data to enhance donor engagement is through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Getting a supporter to fundraise on your behalf is the ultimate donor engagement because it involves getting more donors to give. Use data to see where P2P fundraisers are successfully sharing their fundraising appeals.

And there are countless little tweaks you can make to your donation form to encourage action beyond donating: allocations, dedications, sharing the news that they've donated, and more. Each of those is trackable and can be adjusted based on usage rate with Funraise's awesome (50% conversion rate) donation form. 

Fundraising KPI FAQs by AI

What are the metrics for donor engagement?

Donor engagement is a critical aspect of nonprofit fundraising success, as it measures how connected and involved donors are with the organization. There are several fundraising performance measurements that can be used to measure donor engagement: donor retention rate, donor acquisition rate, donor satisfaction, donor lifespan, and donor fundraising participation rate.

To keep donor retention up, keep an eye on your donor cycle so that your supporters don't get stuck on one level of your donor funnel.

How to measure fundraising success?

Before measuring your nonprofit's fundraising success, decide what success looks like. Is it a high donor retention rate or a lot of peer-to-peer fundraisers? Once you have measurable goals, or your key fundraising metrics, the best way to measure your fundraising success is to look at the impact your organization has achieved as a result. 

How to measure donor satisfaction?

Satisfied donors are more likely to continue supporting the organization and may even increase their level of giving. Some key ways to measure donor satisfaction: donor surveys, thank you communications, and repeat donations. Measuring donor satisfaction involves collecting feedback, monitoring interactions, and analyzing donation patterns to ensure a positive and engaging donor experience.

When it comes to corporate donors, well, that's a whole 'nother ball game. 

What is KPIs in fundraising?

A non-profit KPI, or Key Performance Indicator is a metric that nonprofit organizations use to measure the success of their fundraising efforts. These indicators help nonprofits track progress towards their fundraising goals and identify areas for improvement. In the context of fundraising, KPIs are essential for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies used to generate donations.

What are three commonly used metrics to measure nonprofit efficiency?

Three commonly used key metrics to measure nonprofit efficiency are: Cost Per Dollar Raised (how much it costs to raise each dollar of revenue), Donor Retention Rate (the percentage of donors who support the organization over time), and Average Gift Size (this metric measures how much an individual donation is, on average.)

What is a good ROI for fundraising?

In the context of key fundraising metrics, ROI refers to the funds raised compared to the resources invested. A good ROI for fundraising can vary depending on the specific goals and circumstances of each organization. However, a general benchmark for nonprofits is to aim for an ROI of greater than 1.

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