26 Nonprofit Key Performance Indicators to Measure Impact

Craig Grella
July 9, 2021
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Nonprofit Key Performance Indicators to measure impact

 

Key performance indicators are the metrics that tell you how well your nonprofit is operating and whether you are hitting your goals. But it can be hard to know which nonprofit KPIs matter most and which your organization should be tracking.

Here we’ve highlighted 26 nonprofit key performance indicators that you should pay attention to, along with a description of why they’re important and how you can track them. They’re separated into categories that match the departments present at most nonprofits, so you can share them with your team and focus on the ones that matter most to you.

You’ll find that many of these KPIs are tied into core fundraising activities because of its prominence in a nonprofit's operations. However, the other indicators will give you good visibility into the activities that support your overall strategy like donor retention, social media networking, and email marketing, among others.

 

Are you getting the most out of key fundraising metrics? Get your free demo to see how Salsa's robust reporting tools can help you reveal insights and opportunities to exceed fundraising goals!

Tracking nonprofit KPIs empowers organizations to optimize their strategies.

What Are Nonprofit KPIs?

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that measures a specific facet of your nonprofit. It is a point of data that can be used to compare against other points of data to determine how well your organization is performing over time.

There are a nearly unlimited number of KPIs that any nonprofit can track and the ones you should pay attention to are ultimately determined by the goals you set for your organization. However, there are a few key performance indicators that are considered standard for nonprofits and we’ve broken them down here for you in this article.

These 26 nonprofit KPIs are critical to the success of the modern nonprofit, and the sooner you start tracking and reporting on them the sooner you’ll be able to measure your performance internally and against other nonprofits in similar sectors.

Why Do Nonprofit Key Performance Indicators Matter?

The ability to assess data and distill that into actionable tasks is what successful nonprofits do well. These organizations know which metrics are important to them and they know how to translate that data into something their stakeholders can understand and absorb.

These days, competition for funding is fierce. Nonprofit executives, board members, and funders want to understand how well your organization performs before they show their support. They don’t want to look at 87 disorganized spreadsheets with data from across your organization. They want you to use industry-standard formulas and metrics which help them quickly assess your effectiveness and measure that against other organizations they might be considering for potential funding.

Using the 26 nonprofit KPIs listed here will help you communicate better with your stakeholders and jump in front of those organizations which haven’t yet organized their data.

So, to start, let’s take a look at the KPIs which will give you some insight into your fundraising program and how well it performs.

Fundraising KPIs for Nonprofits

The fundraising metrics highlighted here include the key performance indicators for nonprofits that directly demonstrate trends tied to actual donations or the act of donating.

A comprehensive analysis of all nine fundraising KPIs will help you answer three main questions:

  1. How many donations did your organization receive this year?
  2. Through which channel(s) did those donations arrive?
  3. What does a standard or average nonprofit donation amount look like?

Answering these three questions will help you improve your nonprofit fundraising strategies and grow donations in a more sustainable fashion.

1. Gifts Secured

This fundraising metric is fairly straightforward — it’s the number of gifts or donations your organization received over a set period of time. Not the amount of those donations, rather the count. Here, “period of time” means a week, a month, a quarter, a year — whatever span of time is most informative for your organization. 

How to Calculate Gifts Secured

Count the number of gifts/donations your organization received over a certain period of time.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • 40 donations in the past month.
  • 200 donations in the past year.
  • 21 donations this week.

For more granular insights, you can also split this metric up by gift type. For example, if you were trying to develop a major gift program — say gifts of $500 or more — you could segment the number of gifts secured by the donation amount.

  • 200 Donations in 2020, including 55 major gifts over $1,000.

2. Donation Growth

Donation growth is a nonprofit KPI that compares gifts secured over two different time periods that are typically chronological. It shows whether the number of donations you receive is increasing or decreasing over that time period observed.

How to Calculate Donation Growth

Count the number of gifts/donations your organization received over a certain period of time. Then count the number of gifts/donations your organization received over a similar period of time just before or after the prior time period. Subtract the first time period from the second time period observed.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • 20 gifts secured in the month of August
  • 25 gifts secured in the month of September

Comparing the two shows a donation growth of 5 donations per month (25 - 20 = 5).

If, in October that year, you experience only 10 donations you might ask:

  • Why was October a negative growth month?
  • What did we do in September that was so special?

Donation growth is generally a short term metric comparison tool, but it gives you the ability to quickly analyze a specific period of time if you see major changes in the numbers.

3. Average Gift Size

Donors don’t all give the same amount of money. Some give in larger amounts than others. Overall, your range of donations will likely vary from just a few dollars to thousands of dollars or more. 

Some of your donors may give in small amounts on a recurring basis, while others may give in large lump sums at the end of the year.

This is an important metric because it shows how much each donor represents to your organization. It tells you how much you can expect to raise overall by increasing your donor count by 1 person.

Understanding the average gift size can help for planning and forecasting purposes, and it's a metric most funders and grantmakers will want to know. For example, if you need to raise $1 million this year to fund your organization and your average gift size is $95 you know you need to convince approximately 10,526 people to donate. Some will give more than the average and some will give less. But the law of averages tells us that if you generate that number, you should reach your goal.

This is a great metric to look at regularly to understand whether you are meeting your goals or falling short. If your budgeted average gift size is $95 but your actual average gift size through the first quarter of the year is only $75, you might start to ask questions about the content of your appeals or the channels you are using to get the word out.

How to Calculate Average Gift Size

Divide the total amount of money fundraised by the total number of donations.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your organization received 22,100 donations in the past year for a total of $1,300,000. Your average gift size = $1,300,000 / 22,100 = $58.52.

You may have received a few major gifts over $1,000, and lots of gifts below $25. But the average across all your donations shows that each donor is worth approximately $58.52.

4. Average Gift Size Growth

Average gift size growth is a nonprofit KPI that measures the percentage by which your average gift size has increased over a period of time.

One of the universal laws of fundraising is that it is easier (and less expensive) to generate another donation from an existing donor than it is to solicit the first donation from a new donor. Therefore, one of the best ways to increase your overall fundraising total is to increase the average size of your donations.

If your goal this year is to raise your fundraising total by 25%, one strategy might be to reach out to existing donors encouraging them to donate again or to increase their annual donation amount. 

Average gift size growth can tell you whether your fundraising strategy is still working or if it has become stagnant.

How to Calculate Average Gift Size Growth

  • Step 1: Calculate the average gift size for two consecutive time periods.
  • Step 2. Subtract the previous time period from the most recent time period. 
  • Step 3: Divide the result by the previous time period. 
  • Step 4: Multiply the final result by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • Step 1: Calculate the average gift size for two consecutive time periods.
    • Most recent time period: 2020 Average Gift size = $50
    • Previous time period: 2019 Average Gift size = $45
  • Step 2. Subtract the previous time period from the most recent time period. 
    • $50 - $45 = $5
  • Step 3: Divide the result by the previous time period. 
    • $5 / $45 = 0.11
  • Step 4: Multiply the final result by 100 to get a percentage.
    • 0.11 x 100 = 11.11% increase.

The example shows that the average gift size grew 11.11% between 2019 and 2020.

5. Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

At one point or another, all nonprofits will receive a pledge — a promise to donate, rather than an actual donation. Every nonprofit development director knows that some people just don’t follow through on those pledges and the amount of money received is actually lower than what is pledged. 

As you would likely guess, this nonprofit KPI tells you the percentage of your pledges that are being fulfilled and converting to actual donations.

While nonprofits don’t typically create their budgets solely on pledged monies alone, understanding the pledging patterns of your constituents over a historical period can help you forecast and prepare accordingly. 

It’s smart to calculate this metric on the count and the amount of pledges.

How to Calculate Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

Divide the actual donations by the pledges and multiply the result by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

In January, your church receives 1,200 pledges from its members for a total of $500,000 promised.

At the end of the year, you tally your results and find that only 900 pledges were made but the total amount actually donated was $550,000.

Your pledge fulfillment percentage is:

  • Pledge fulfilment rate (count) = 900 / 1200 = 0.75 x 100 = 75%
  • Pledge fulfilment rate (amount) = $550,000 / $500,000 = 1.10 x 100 = 110%

If you concentrated only on the total number of pledges you might think your fundraising was a failure that year— converting only 75% of pledges. But looking at the amount tells a different story — one where you captured 110% of your expected donations.

Looking at percentage fulfillment for count AND amount helps add detail to the analysis whereby looking at only one of the other might not paint the full picture.

6. Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment is a measure of efficiency in your budget. It tells you whether the efforts of your program are returning the value you would expect to see. This is an extremely important metric, especially for newer nonprofits on a limited budget and no longitudinal data to draw from.

Your fundraising ROI tells your organization whether or not you made a gain on the money invested in your fundraising efforts by calculating how much money you raised from each dollar you spent.

When calculating cost, don't forget to add the cost of your donor management software into the calculation because it contributes to your overall fundraising ROI. 

How to Calculate Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

Subtract the cost of your fundraising efforts from the total amount raised (which equals the net return), then divide this new number (the net return) by the cost of your fundraising efforts, and then multiply the result by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • Development Team salary & benefits = $250,000
  • Advertising fundraising programs = $15,000
  • Annual Cost of Fundraising CRM = $10,000
  • Total cost of fundraising efforts = $275,000
  • Total amount fundraised = $379,000

Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI) = 37.82%.

  • Step 1: $379,000 - $275,000 = $104,000
  • Step 2: $104,000 / $275,000 = 0.3782
  • Step 3: 0.3782 x 100 = 37.82%

ROI is a nonprofit KPI of opportunity cost and is compared to other investments that can be made. Since cost and output are direct features of this metric, changes in those inputs could yield drastic results one way or the other.

7. Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

Sometimes people just can’t visualize what ROI represents or make a determination as to whether a specific ROI is good or bad. In these situations, it can be good to reduce your fundraising stats to the basics, and that’s where the cost per dollar raised comes in handy.

This KPI for nonprofits tells you how much it costs your organization to raise $1. 

Looking at the numbers in this way makes it easy to see whether your fundraising program is helping you grow or causing you to lose money.

How to Calculate Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

Divide total funds raised by total cost of your fundraising program. 

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Let’s use the same numbers from the previous example.

  • Total cost of fundraising efforts = $275,000
  • Total amount fundraised = $379,000

CPDR = $275,000 / $379,000 = $0.73.

That means, it costs you 73 cents to raise $1. As long as your CPDR is below $1, your fundraising program is net positive. The lower this number gets, the better! That means it costs you less money to raise a dollar.  If your cost per dollar raised goes above $1, it means your fundraising program is costing you more money than it brings in. You’d want to look at ways to raise the donations or cut costs to bring it back into balance.

8. Online Gift Percentage

Online donations are becoming more prevalent each year as people become more familiar and comfortable with donating via mobile devices. Since your online fundraising program might require different tactics than raising money offline or at in-person events, it’s a smart idea to track the percentage of your overall fundraising that comes in from digital sources.

In most cases, the cost of acquiring donations online is much lower than through any other medium. Maintaining a healthy percentage of gifts received digitally is a good way to lower your CPDR and keep your overall fundraising program in the net positive area.

Nonprofit fundraising software can easily track all gifts made to your organization and segment which ones were made online vs. offline.

How to Calculate Online Gift Percentage

Divide the number of gifts received online by the total number of gifts received and multiply by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your organization received 900 donations last year, including 620 which were made through your website donation form. Your online gift percentage  = 620 / 900 = 0.6888 x 100 = 68.88%.

9. Percentage of Contributions Matches through Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy represents a major missed opportunity for most nonprofit organizations. Matching gift programs enable eligible donors to have their donations matched by their employers, effectively doubling the impact of their gift. Corporate sponsorships can provide additional opportunities for your fundraising efforts.

It's fairly easy to promote corporate philanthropy programs to donors; 84% of donors say they're more likely to donate if a match is offered, according to Double the Donation's corporate giving statistics page.

By tracking the percentage of contributions made to your organization that get matched through corporate philanthropy programs, you can begin to identify opportunities for boosting revenue among specific donor segments.

This metric can be tracked by count or by amount.

How to Calculate Percentage of Contributions Matches through Corporate Philanthropy

Divide the number of gifts matched through corporate philanthropy received this year by total number of gifts. Multiply by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Borrowing from a previous example, assume that corporate matches resulted in $65,000 of your total fundraising amount of $379,000. Your Percentage of Contributions Matches through Corporate Philanthropy = $65,000 / $379,000 = 0.1715 x 100 = 17.15%.

That means approximately 17% of your total fundraising is coming from corporate philanthropy. 

If this number goes over 50% it means that the majority of your fundraising is coming from corporate giving. That could be the result of companies offering double or triple matches on their employee gifts, or it could mean that your corporate sponsorships are starting to total more than your public fundraising totals. Either way, you should analyze your program and determine the impacts if some of that corporate giving should go away or be reduced in future years.

Bonus - Our Top Fundraising KPIs Software

With all of these different fundraising metrics to keep track of, it can be tough to evaluate all of the data your nonprofit collects.

Luckily, with the help of fundraising metrics software, it's never been easier to collect data, evaluate your findings, and put into practice what you've learned over the course of your fundraising campaigns.

Check out some of our favorite fundraising KPI software solutions. including:

  • Salsa Engage and Salsa CRM. With so many solutions to choose from, Salsa makes it a breeze to collect and evaluate informative fundraising data your team can use to get ahead. Since Salsa Engage and Salsa CRM are fully integrated, you'll also get the added bonus of housing all your data under one ecosystem!
  • Fundraising Report Card. When it comes to analyzing fundraising data, Fundraising Report Card offers the analytics tools your team needs! Easily analyze campaigns, optimize prospect portfolios, and track data using their intuitive dashboards. 
  • 360MatchPro. Matching gifts are a key part of your nonprofit's fundraising strategy, and with 360MatchPro it's never been simpler to drive matches to completion. You can use their tools to track new donors, identify prospects, and analyze trends from campaign to campaign.

Personalized Demo Salsa Engage

Donor Retention KPIs for Nonprofits

Donor retention metrics warrant their own category because donor retention is crucial to a nonprofit's success and commonly undervalued in favor of acquisition.

The work you do all year to keep donors engaged, informed of your impact, and feeling like they made a difference should result in them becoming repeat donors or recurring donors.

If your donors give only once and then don’t return, your fundraising program becomes an endless cycle of work without much upside.  

Here are a few nonprofit key performance indicators you should consider when looking at the engagement of your existing donors.

10. Donor Retention Rate

Donor retention rate is the percentage of donors that give in any two consecutive periods. In other words, it measures how many of your contributors are recurring donors. It is typically less expensive to generate a second donation from a donor than it is to solicit the first donation from a new donor, so donor retention rate is an important nonprofit KPI to consider. This metric is typically measured year to year.

The average donor retention rate for nonprofits is about 43.6%. Which means, from year to year, 43.6% of donors will donate to the same nonprofit as the year before, while the remaining 56.4% of donations to that nonprofit are made up of new, first-time donors. 

How to Calculate Donor Retention Rate

Divide the number of people who donated last year AND this year by the total number of people who donated last year, and multiply that result by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • Step 1: Donor List 1 = those who Donated last year = 100 people.
  • Step 2: Donor List 2 = those who donated this year = 112 people.
  • Step 3: Donor List 3 = those who appear on both list 1 and list 2 = 53 people.
  • Step 4: Divide Donor List 3 by Donor List 1 = 53 / 100 = 0.53
  • Step 5: Multiple the result by 100 = 0.53 x 100 = 53%

The example above shows this nonprofit has a donor retention rate of 53%.

A smart engagement platform like Salsa Engage will calculate metrics like donor retention for you, and provide dashboards and reports for quick review.

Nonprofit KPIs like donor retention rate are easy to calculate with Salsa Engage

11. Donor Growth (Year-Over-Year)

Donor growth is a nonprofit KPI similar to donation growth, but rather than tracking the number of donations, you are tracking the growth in the number of people who make donations. 

This metric speaks more to acquisition than retention since it counts just the overall number of donors, but it is still an indicator of how well your organization is engaging its audience, or how well you are converting your visitors into supporters.

A negative number for donation growth means that an organization is losing donors over time. This metric alone cannot determine the health of your fundraising strategy, but a negative number here would be cause for alarm and would certainly warrant a closer look at all nonprofit key performance indicators.

How to Calculate Donor Growth (Year-Over-Year)

Subtract the total number of donors you had last year from the total number of donors you have in the most recent year.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

An organization with 500 donors last year and 575 donors this year has a donor growth of 75 donors.

An organization with 500 donors last year and 475 donors this year has a donor growth of -25 donors, or a loss of 25 donors year over year.

12. Recurring Gift Percentage

The recurring gift percentage is the portion of your total gifts that are donations which recur on some regular basis — monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.

A recurring donor is someone who believes in your organization and its mission. That’s why they donate time and again. If your goal is to increase overall donations, this is the place you would start. Create a list of those recurring donors and a program designed to incentivize this group to increase the amount of those donations. Since they recur on a monthly basis, your work here will be a force multiplier.

Keep in mind that recurring donors who choose to halt their donations can also make a big impact on the bottom line. This is an important group to keep engaged and to make sure they continue to feel connected to the work you do and the impact you create.

How to Calculate Recurring Gift Percentage

Divide the number of gifts that recur by total number of gifts received and multiply by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

An organization has 20 donors who make a recurring donation every month. That means 240 of its donations are recurring. Overall, they had 500 donations. This organization’s recurring gift percentage 240 / 500 = 0.48 x 100 = 48%.

13. Donor Churn

Donor churn, also known as donor attrition, is the rate at which your donors stop making contributions over a specific period of time.

Since it’s much more cost-effective to gain another donation from an existing donor than it is to create a new donation from a new one, donor churn is an important nonprofit KPI to track. It tells you how well you are engaging your existing donors and whether you are encouraging them to continue supporting your cause or causing them to donate their money elsewhere.

How to Calculate Donor Churn

To calculate donor churn you need to know how many donors you had over two consecutive time periods.

  • Step 1: Calculate the number of donors you had last year.
  • Step 2: Calculate the number of donors you had this year.
  • Step 3: Subtract the number of donors you had this year from the number of donors you had last year.
  • Step 4: Divide the result by the number of donors you had last year.
  • Step 5:Multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

The formulas look like this and using our examples:

Formulas Example

  1. Last Year - This Year = Number Lost  =  273 - 196 = 77
  2. (Number Lost / Last Year ) x 100 = Donor Churn (77 / 273) x 100 = 28.21%

From our example, this organization had a 28.21% donor churn rate from last year to this year. This means that 28.21% of the donors that gave last year did not make a gift this year.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Last year, your nonprofit had 5,000 donors. This year, you had 4,800 donors. 

Your donor churn is calculated as:

  • Step 1: Donors you had last year = 5,000
  • Step 2: Donors you had this year = 4,800
  • Step 3: Number Lost = 5,000 - 4,800 = 200.
  • Step 4: Donor Churn rate = 200 / 5,000 = 0.04.
  • Step 5: Donor Churn rate expressed as a percentage = 0.04 x 100 = 4%.

In this example, your organization had a donor churn of 200 people year over year. Expressed as a percentage, you could say your organization has a donor churn rate of 4%.

14. Donor Lifetime Value (LTV)

Donor lifetime is perhaps the most important nonprofit KPI to understand because it tells you the overall value of a single donor to your organization over the lifetime of that donor’s relationship with your organization.

This metric tells you how much money you can expect to receive over time by generating a single additional donor and how much your nonprofit would be willing to spend to acquire a new donor.

If it costs your organization $50 to acquire a new donor your donor LTV should be at least that amount. Otherwise, your nonprofit would be losing money.

Donor lifetime value is easy to calculate with the help of a good fundraising CRM that records all the fundraising activities of your contacts and can quickly sum donations into an easy-to-read report.

How to Calculate Donor Lifetime Value (LTV)

Add up the amount of all the donations made by an individual donor.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Donor Jim has made the following donations to your organization:

  • Year 1: $100
  • Year 2: $100 and $25 and $50
  • Year 3: $500
  • Year 4: $25 and $10

Jim’s lifetime value is $810.

An Alternate Way to Calculate Donor Lifetime Value

You can also calculate this nonprofit KPI if you know the average gift size and the length of time a donor remains active. This is how Salsa Engage calculates donor lifetime value automatically inside our application.

For example, you know your average annual gift size is $250. You also know that your donors are generally active for a total of 5 years.

Your average donor lifetime value could be calculated by multiplying the average donor lifespan by the average annual donation. 

  • $250 x 5 years = $1,250.

15. Giving Capacity

If you really want to make the most out of the donors you already have, your organization should be measuring giving capacity. This nonprofit KPI is an informed estimate of how much money your donors are able to give.

The advantage of calculating giving capacity is threefold:

  1. Your organization can make more specific and relevant asks.
  2. You can better pinpoint potential major gift donors in your database.
  3. When coupled with other data sources such as giving history, you can roughly forecast how much your organization might receive from donors over a given year and create a more accurate budget.

Asking a donor for $25 when they have the capacity to donate $500 leaves a lot of money on the table. Asking for $500 when they only have the capacity for $25 scares them away. Giving capacity lets you know just how much to ask for, increasing the chances that your donors will give and at an amount close to their giving capacity.

How to Calculate Giving Capacity

In order to accurately determine the giving capacity of your constituents, you'll need to collect relevant information like your supporters’ business affiliations, ages, income levels, donations to other organizations, etc. Most of this information can be collected through accurate wealth screening software and then saved in your nonprofit CRM for segmentation and use in your fundraising campaign.

16. Conversion Rate

Although more of an acquisition than a retention metric, conversion rate can give you valuable insights into all of your donors, new and recurring.

Conversion rate tells you how many supporters took an action when prompted to do so. This is, of course, compared to those who didn’t take action when given that same prompt.

Your relationships with supporters should run deeper than just requesting and receiving donations. It’s important to engage them no matter where they are in the ladder of engagement with your organization.

You can gain additional insight looking at the conversion rate for calls to action other than fundraising appeals. It could be another request like a petition signature, email signup, or event registration.

Looking at conversion rates will:

  • Tell you the effectiveness your calls-to-action
  • Help you position resources where they are most likely to succeed
  • Tell you which issues on your website are the most important to your supporters
  • Understand which areas of your website need improvement

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

The number of people who take action on a specific appeal, divided by the number of people who see that appeal multiplied by 100.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

You have an online fundraising form that is visited by 1,000 people. 190 of them convert and make donations. Your conversion rate is 190 / 1,000 = 0.19 x 100 = 19%. 

Digital Fundraising Checklist

Email Marketing Nonprofit KPIs

Email is responsible for nearly one third of all nonprofit fundraising. That means the engagement process is over before it even starts if your donors aren't opening your emails. If they’re not reading your emails, your viewers don’t see all of the amazing content you're sharing about your cause or have the opportunity to donate. 

In this section, we’ll discuss a few important nonprofit KPIs related to email and email marketing. You can also view The Global Email Marketing Benchmarks report which shows key email statistics by industry and day. 

Ultimately, your goal is to determine when your readers are most likely to open your emails and what content they like to read most. Understanding those two things will improve your email metrics, increase your engagement, and raise your fundraising numbers.

17. Open Rate

This nonprofit KPI tells you the percentage of the people who opened an email you sent them. Simply put, your open rate needs to be as close to 100% as you can get.

The average open rate for the nonprofit industry is 25.50, which is among the highest open rates in the business world.

Generally, people trust emails that come from nonprofits. However, 94% of people who stopped communication with an organization do so because they got irrelevant information (Oracle/B2C). That means, even though nonprofits enjoy generally higher open rates than most, you still can’t send blanket emails that aren’t relevant to your supporters. There’s a limit to what they will open and when they reach that limit they unsubscribe and don’t come back.

If you find that your open rate is lower than the average, try experimenting with your subject line. This is the first thing people see in their email program and often determines whether they open the email and read it or just press delete. Nonprofit email marketing software like Salsa Engage allows you to A/B test your emails and change things like subject lines to test which ones are most effective and drive the highest open rates.

How to Calculate Open Rate

Divide the number of people who open your email by the number of emails delivered. That result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

A nonprofit sends a fundraising email to 1,000 subscribers which is opened and read by 350 people. The email open rate is 350 / 1,000 = 0.35 = 35%.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely never need to calculate this — your email marketing software will calculate this for you and report it on your email dashboard.

Nonprofit KPIs like Open Rate can be calculated inside Salsa Engage

18. Click Through Rate (CTR)

Once your supporters open your email and read it, you want them to take action. The strength of your email content will determine whether your readers click on links and head over to your site. The metric we pay attention to here is click-through rate (CTR).

The Click-through rate measures the percentage of email recipients who clicked a link in your email.

Open rate tells you how many people are receiving and reading your message, while CTR tells you how many people find that message interesting enough to take action on it.

Click-through rate is an excellent way of determining how many supporters took the next step by visiting your website, your online donation page, or another important link. 

The average click-through rate is 4.1% for nonprofits.

Knowing your click-through rate helps you understand how many people you can expect to engage with any particular message you might send them. For example, if you need 100 people to show up at an event and your email click-through rate is normally 10%, your email list of 500 people isn’t going to get the job done - you know you’ll need to do additional marketing.

If your click-through rate is lower than average you’ll want to experiment with the content contained in your emails. Change the template design to make it more appealing, add images or gifs, and make sure the content is relevant to your audience. Like open rate, increasing your CTR will improve other email statistics and your overall marketing metrics.

How to Calculate Click Through Rate (CTR)

Divide the number of link clicks by the number of emails delivered. That result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

You send 1,000 emails and get 125 clicks. Your click through rate is 125 / 1,000 = 0.125 = 12.5%.

19. Email Conversion Rate

We've already touched on conversion rate, which is the percentage of people who take action on an appeal. Email conversion rate is the number of people who take action on an appeal that arrived through email.

Since nonprofits rely heavily on email as a direct marketing channel, this type of conversion rate is a critical KPI for nonprofits to track and compare against other marketing mediums like direct mail, social media, or in-person events.

If you segment emails to your supporters based on interest topics or other demographics, email conversion rate can tell you which topics are most important to your existing audience which tells you the content you should be focusing on developing to keep your audience engaged.

Remember, nearly one-third of all nonprofit fundraising comes from email. Creating content that people engage with will increase your conversion rate and increase your fundraising.

If you find that your conversion rate is lower than the average, experiment with subject lines and email content. In particular, take a look at the language you use to frame your appeal. Is it clear and compelling? Does it elicit emotion and demand action, or is it confusing and meandering?

How to Calculate Email Conversion Rate

The number of people who completed an action after reading an email about that action divided by the total number of people who completed that action. The result is multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your organization sends an email to 1,000 subscribers asking them to sign a petition. 350 people open that email, 125 people click on a link and arrive at your petition landing page on your website, and, ultimately, 95 people sign that petition.

Your email conversion rate is 95 / 1,000 = 0.095 = 9.5%.

A quick note about email marketing programs and email conversion rate:

Calculating email conversion rate is a two-part process because you need to track the number of people who took the ultimate action, and you need to separate out those people who took action specifically because of an email they received. 

That’s why having an analytics package in place to analyze your email marketing and your web traffic is so important, because it will give you some level of detail on attribution — the place from which your viewers come or the marketing method they used to complete the ultimate action. But your initial email conversion rate is still 9.5% because that is the number of people who received your email who took the final action.

Nonprofit KPIs can be viewed by Source in Salsa Engage

20. Opt-Out Rate

Although it's always better to focus on the positive, looking at the areas where you're losing ground can also be helpful. That is certainly the case with the opt-out rate, which is also known as unsubscribe rate.

The opt-out rate is the rate at which your subscribers opt out of receiving your email marketing messages.

You want your opt-out rate to be as low as possible. The average opt-out or unsubscribe rate for nonprofits is 0.2%. That means you will lose 2 subscribers for every 1,000 messages you send.

A high email opt-out rate is a hallmark of:

  • Bad email subject lines
  • Unengaging email content
  • Nonstop or repetitive appeals

If you're contacting supporters too frequently, they might become annoyed by the bulk of your emails and opt out. If your content is unappealing or irrelevant, subscribers will opt out. And if every single email you send is an appeal for money or if every email you send has the exact same appeal — you will lose subscribers.

If you find the unsubscribe rate to be particularly high for a specific email — 0.5% or more — you want to look at the content of that email and make sure it’s not putting people off by being insensitive or containing divisive content. Further investigation might be required to make sure you know what to avoid for future emails.

Email out-opt rate can be measured on a single email and across your entire email program.

How to Calculate Opt-Out Rate

Divide the number of people who opt-out by the number of email messages delivered and multiply that result by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

You send an email to 1,000 subscribers and 2 people opt out from receiving future emails. Your opt-out rate is 2 / 1,000 = 0.002 = 0.2%.

21. Outreach Rate

While not exclusively an email marketing KPI for nonprofits, understanding the outreach rate of your email compared to other marketing mediums can be an effective way to confirm you are spending the correct amount of resources on the most effective marketing mediums.

Simply put, outreach rate measures how often you're getting in touch with your donors.

Some supporters and donors require more frequent contact to stay engaged, while others require fewer touchpoints. For some, one email per month is ideal. Others might read as many as 2 emails per week from you. 

The trick is understanding what supporters prefer, and that knowledge comes from engaging with them. You need to ask to get the answer. And when you do get the answer, make sure you record that information in your nonprofit CRM, so you can segment those supporters and reach out to them with the frequency they prefer.

High opt-out rates for a specific type of email could be an indication that you need to change your frequency. It might require further investigation or a call to your supporters to confirm that info. Email marketing programs that survey people who opt-out can also get these answers for you.

How to Calculate Outreach Rate

Count the number of times you contact supporters through a specific channel over a certain period of time.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

  • Newsletter goes to everyone on your list 1x per month.
  • Program related info goes to subscribers interested in that program 1x per quarter.
  • Case studies go to people who subscribe to your service emails at the rate of 3x per year.

Annual Development Plan Checklist

Nonprofit KPIs for Social Media

Awareness of your organization plays a major role in the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts. With limited resources, nonprofits are smart to take advantage of free tools like social media, where a single message can quickly go viral and drive enormous engagement with your organization. Just look at Delaware Humane Society which raised more than $200,000 through their Indoguration campaign.

Sadly, when it comes to social media, too many nonprofits focus on vanity nonprofit KPIs like the number of followers they have or the number of times their cute cat picture was retweeted. Alone, these metrics mean very little. Having 1 million followers doesn’t mean a thing if none of them take action. What matters is how many people engage with your message.

Consider that organic reach on Facebook has dropped to just over 5%. Organic reach is the measure of how many people you can reach for free by simply posting on your page. There’s simply too much content and too much competition on social media these days for everyone to see everything you post. That’s why it’s important to include both paid and organic programs in your overall social media strategy.

It’s also important to understand which social networks are used by the demographic that most closely matches your audience. Pew conducts this research annually and consolidates into a single report on social media usage in the United States. Interestingly, Pew found that 2021 represents a possible inflection point in social media usage showing a flattening of what had historically been a growth curve.

So what social media KPIs for nonprofits should you be focusing on?

The answer is actually quite simple — anything that drives actual engagement like clicks to your petitions, email signups, and, of course, donation conversions.

Focus on things like:

  • Send more prospects from social media to your website, where you'll be able to convert them and gather valuable information.
  • Encourage your visitors and followers to share your content with their friends and followers.
  • To improve your efforts on these fronts, it’s helpful to track your performance using the social media metrics listed below. 

22. Amplification Rate

Amplification rate is the ratio of shares per post to the number of overall followers. It’s a measure of the rate at which your followers share your content.

Social sharing has a different name on each site:

  • Twitter: Retweets
  • Facebook: Shares
  • Tumblr: Reblogs
  • Pinterest: Repins

No matter what you call them, these amplifications are a basic way of assessing your social network's interest in your posts. People share what they like. Seeing what gains popularity and what fades into the background can guide your future activity and help you understand the topics in which your audience is most interested. This information should make its way back to your website, your email messaging, and even your phone conversations and event preparations.

How to Calculate Amplification Rate

Divide the number of times a post was shared during a specific period of time by the total number of followers on that network and multiply that result by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your social network following looks like this:

  • Facebook: 20,000 followers
  • Twitter: 13,000 followers
  • LinkedIn: 24,000 followers

You create a post on all your social networks about a petition for which you want followers to sign. Your audience shares it in the following way:

  • Facebook: 2,000 shares
  • Twitter: 6,000 shares
  • LinkedIn: 14,000 shares

Your amplification rate for these networks is:

  • Facebook: 2,000 / 20,000 = 0.10 x 100 = 10% amplification rate
  • Twitter: 6,000 / 13,000 = 0.4615 x 100 = 46.15% amplification rate
  • LinkedIn: 14,000 / 24,000 = 0.5833 x 100 = 58.33% amplification rate

23. Applause Rate

Applause rate is an analysis of approval or sentiment of your posts. It is the number of approval actions a post receives compared to the total number of followers on the network where that post was shared.

Again, understanding the applause rate of a specific topic can help you understand what resonates with your audience and help you create content for other mediums.

How to Calculate Applause Rate

Divide the total number of approval actions on a post during a specific period of time by the total number of followers on that network and multiply that result by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Continuing with the example from the previous section, you create a post on your networks that generates the following likes, thumbs up, hearts, etc:

  • Facebook: 300 thumbs up
  • Twitter: 600 hearts
  • LinkedIn: 150 likes

Your applause rate for these networks is:

  • Facebook: 300 / 20,000 = 0.015 x 100 = 1.5% applause rate
  • Twitter: 600 / 13,000 = 0.04615 x 100 = 4.61% applause rate
  • LinkedIn: 150 / 24,000 = 0.00625 x 100 = 0.625% applause rate

24. Social Media Conversion Rate

Social media conversion rate is similar to email conversion rate, but the medium considered is social media rather than email.

Social media conversion rate counts the number of people who take action on a post after clicking on a social media link compared to the total number of people who took the final action. A high conversion rate here means that your offer resonated with your audience on social media.

As with email, it helps to have an analytics package in place to track attribution from your social sources. You can also use link shorteners to make links shared in your social posts trackable through to conversion. Bit.ly is a great place to start. Many nonprofit marketing automation platforms and fundraising CRMs have this functionality built in. Salsa Engage tracks links automatically and can help you share posts directly to your social networks.

How to Calculate Social Media Conversion Rate

Divide the number of conversions on your appeal from social media sources by the total number of visits to that appeal, and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

You create a fundraising page with a fundraising form where supporters can make donations. You create a post promoting that fundraising page along with a story of your nonprofit’s impact, and then share that post across your social media networks using a link that can be tracked.

From your analytics package, you can see that 5,600 people landed on your fundraising page, and 2,200 converted by making a donation. Of those 2,200, you can tell that 1,800 people came from your social networks. 

Your social media conversion rate is 1,800 / 5,600 = 0.3214 x 100 = 32.14%.

25. Landing Page Conversion Rate

The end goal of all of this social media effort is to increase engagement with your nonprofit and to serve your mission — whatever that means to your organization. It could be more petition signatures, more fundraising dollars, or heightened awareness of your cause.

Whatever your goals may be, you can determine their effectiveness by understanding the overall conversion rate for a specific effort or program. We do this by creating a single landing page for each individual marketing effort and then measuring the conversion rate — the rate at which people take action on that landing page. This is called the landing page conversion rate.

Using a tracking tool like Google Analytics can help you determine a number of important factors, including:

  • How many visitors reached a specific page (e.g. your donation page).
  • How they arrived at that destination.
  • How many completed the desired action.
  • How effective different appeals are by comparing the conversion rates of various landing pages (petitions vs. fundraising forms, peer-to-peer engagement vs in-person event registrations, etc.)

Comparing conversion rates is particularly important because it helps you understand where to spend your limited budget and resources. You want to spend more money on the pages that convert with higher rates and less money on pages or initiatives that don’t convert well.

How to Calculate Landing Page Conversion Rate

Divide the total number of conversions by the total number of visitors to a specific page over a specific time period, and then multiply that result by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your fundraising page gets 8,000 visitors over the course of a month and 500 of those visitors make a donation. 

Your conversation rate for this fundraising page is 500 / 8,000 = 0.0625 x 100 = 6.25%. That means you convert 6.25% of the visitors who see this page into donors.

Let’s say that same nonprofit has a second fundraising page they use sometimes. That donation page gets 4,000 visitors over the course of a month, but 375 of them become donors.  The total traffic to that page and the total number of donors from that page is smaller than the first donation page, but the conversion rate is higher. 

The conversion rate for that second fundraising page is 375 / 4,000 = 0.0937 x 100 = 9.37%.

A nonprofit in this situation might consider making the second donation page their main donation page and try sending more traffic to it. An alternative might be to edit the content or call to action on that first donation page to make its conversion rate fall more in line with the second page.

26. Fundraiser Participation Rate

If your organization is running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, this nonprofit key performance indicator is for you!

Fundraiser participation rate tracks how many of your fundraisers are working to secure donations on your behalf and what actions they're taking.

This metric is really two-fold. In order to get the best insights into your fundraisers you should look at:

  1. How much money they've raised for your organization throughout the campaign.
  2. Where and how often fundraisers took actions to participate in your campaign. 

By viewing the two in conjunction, you can determine the success of individual fundraisers and encourage other fundraisers to replicate that success by adopting similar tactics.

Download the P2P Checklist

If your overall fundraiser participation is low, it's probably a sign that your organization needs to adjust your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in some way. This could be changing your content, editing calls to action, creating a more seamless signup experience, or providing better scripts and education your fundraisers can use. 

A tool like Salsa Engage makes the peer-to-peer event process seamless, and guides your staff through every step of creating a nonprofit P2P campaign.

How to Calculate Fundraiser Participation Rate

Divide the number of fundraisers (or fundraising teams) who have raised money by the total number of participating fundraisers or teams. Multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage.

Examples of this Nonprofit KPI

Your nonprofit P2P campaign results in 240 people signing up to create individual fundraising teams. Those fundraisers go out and generate another 400 individual fundraisers under those teams. In total, you generated 640 fundraisers.

Of the 640 fundraisers, 412 of them generate at least one donation.

Your fundraiser participation rate is 412 / 640 = 0.64375 x 100 = 64.37%. 

That means 64.37% of your fundraisers are engaged and participating in your P2P campaign. 

download-the-p2p-campaign-playbook

How to Track Nonprofit KPIs with Salsa

Enlisting the help of a great nonprofit crm and marketing engagement platform can make all the difference for your organization. It can save your staff hundreds of hours of work and increase the productivity and efficiency of your entire organization.

Salsa Engage can help you track all the nonprofit KPIs we’ve mentioned in this article and display that data in easy-to-understand dashboards and reports.

Salsa Engage helps you track nonprofit KPIs in a dashboard

This is incredibly useful for team meetings and explaining data to your executive director or board members. By using real data you can take quick and decisive action on the allocation of resources. You can validate assumptions with tests and the data that comes back from those tests. You can make edits to your site and your programs with confidence — knowing the changes that you make will resonate with your audience. 

In summary, a platform like Salsa is built to help you engage and grow!

Conclusion

Each of these nonprofit key performance indicators can give you valuable insights into your organization's fundraising strategies and help you determine if you're staying on track to reach your goals.

When used separately, these metrics can help you improve specific fundraising efforts. When used together, they can be excellent indicators of the overall success of your organization.

No matter how you use them, calculating your nonprofit’s KPIs on a regular basis is sure to help you see better fundraising results.

 

If you want to unlock more supporter management and fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

 

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