Unless you know how to measure nonprofit performance, it’s impossible to know where your organization is succeeding and where you need to concentrate future efforts. Nonprofit KPIs (key performance indicators) take the uncertainty out of measuring your nonprofit’s success. 

By focusing on the right KPIs, your nonprofit can take the necessary steps to capitalize on successes, learn from failures, and improve overall performance. As a result, you can have the greatest possible effect on your community.

What are nonprofit KPIs? 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are numerical measurements that can help nonprofits measure their progress toward specific goals. Although some nonprofit KPIs measure financial achievements, such as donations toward a cause, many nonprofit KPIs examine how well a nonprofit organization impacts the community it serves.

What are the different types of nonprofit KPIs? 

There are several nonprofit KPIs you can use to examine your organization’s successes. It may be a good idea to choose a few metrics to keep track of within each category to best measure overall success.

Financial KPIs

Just because your organization isn’t for-profit doesn’t mean finances don’t matter. Nonprofits have overhead costs just like every other business.

Tracking financial KPIs helps ensure nonprofits are on track to pay their overhead costs and fund their community service projects throughout the year.

From measuring your fundraising successes to tracking expenses, financial KPIs keep your accounts from going in the red and ensure your nonprofit can continue existing for years to come.

Marketing KPIs

Your nonprofit marketing efforts help you communicate with donors and with the members of your community who benefit from your services.

Marketing KPIs can track the success of social media, email, or in-person marketing campaigns. This allows you to determine which marketing efforts are providing your nonprofit with the best return on your investment.

Personnel KPIs

Nonprofit organizations are built around their people. 

Workers and volunteers keep nonprofits functioning, while members of the community benefit from the services nonprofits offer.

Personnel KPIs help nonprofits track the movements of the people in their organization, ensuring they have enough people on hand to keep their programs running. 

Community outreach KPIs

Nonprofits are dedicated to service.

Community outreach KPIs give you a numerical measure of the success of your outreach programs. These metrics allow you to understand how your work affects the people around you.

The insights you glean from community outreach KPIs can increase the success of your programs.

They can also be valuable tools that act as social proof of the good you do, especially when you’re addressing potential donors. These metrics can be incorporated into grant proposals, for example, to increase your chances of receiving funding.

What are some nonprofit KPIs you should be watching? 

Within each of the broad categories of nonprofit KPIs, there are several potential KPIs you can track. Let’s take a look at the most important nonprofit KPIs within each category.

Financial KPIs to watch

nonprofit kpis
Charts, like this one from Fundraising Report Card, can help you visualize financial KPIs so that you can understand trends in your finances over a period of time.
  • Gifts secured: This metric looks at how many gifts your nonprofit organization received within a certain time period.
  • Donation growth: Although similar to the gifts secured metric, donation growth looks at the changes in the donation amounts your organization received over a period of time. You can either look at month-to-month donation growth, or you can compare a time period from this year to the same time period in previous years.
  • Fundraising return on investment (ROI): This financial KPI is used for measuring fundraising success. It compares the amount of money you spent promoting and investing in a fundraiser with the amount of money you raised during the fundraising period to determine your overall ROI.
  • Operating surplus/deficit: This KPI looks directly at whether your nonprofit organization is operating in the green or the red. Understanding whether you’re running a surplus or deficit helps you decide whether you need to focus more on fundraising efforts or on providing new services.

Marketing KPIs to watch

  • Conversions by channel: This KPI examines which marketing channels (i.e. email, social media, etc.) have the greatest success, which can help you decide which channels to invest your money in going forward.
  • Website page views: This examines the number of people who have looked at your website within a given period of time.
  • Email open and click-through rates: You can measure the success of your email marketing efforts with this KPI, which focuses on the percentage of emails that are opened and the number of email calls to action (CTAs) viewers click on.
  • Social media engagement: This KPI examines how much engagement users have with your organization on your social media channels.

Personnel KPIs to watch

  • Donor retention rate: This metric looks at the percentage of donors who have contributed to your organization more than once.
  • Employee/volunteer retention rate: This metric looks at the rate at which employees and volunteers choose to leave your organization within a given time.
  • Absenteeism rate: Of the nonprofit KPIs, this metric looks at the number of employees and volunteers who miss whole or partial days of work. This can be due to a variety of factors, including illnesses or family emergencies.
  • Employee/volunteer satisfaction rate: When you survey your employees and volunteers and determine their satisfaction, you can use this metric to analyze the percentage of each who are satisfied with working for your organization.
nonprofit kpis
Specific employee satisfaction questions, as you see in this example from QuickTapSurvey, can give you valuable insights into where your organization is succeeding and where it could improve its efforts to keep employees happy.

Community outreach KPIs to watch

  • Number of beneficiaries served: This KPI tracks how many people in the community benefited from your services. You can either examine this during a period of time or during a specific event.
  • Beneficiary satisfaction rate: By surveying your beneficiaries, you can track their satisfaction with your program. This can help you judge the impact your services have on the people you serve.
  • Beneficiary growth over time: This KPI looks at how the number of people you serve changes over time. You can use this to make decisions about how many new people to hire, how many people to expect at upcoming events, and how to manage your budget in the upcoming year.

How to choose the right KPIs for your nonprofit 

The KPIs your nonprofit chooses to track should be determined by your goals for the quarter or year.

For example, if your goal is to increase fundraising donations, then you should be looking at KPIs that track your fundraising results. If your goal for the year is to help more people in the community, you should instead focus on KPIs that track your beneficiaries.

This means that before you decide which nonprofit KPIs to track, you first need to have a clear understanding of your organization’s goals.

SMART goals are helpful to many nonprofits because they keep objectives attainable and measurable. Because of this, it’s usually easy to find the right KPIs to pair with your organization’s SMART goals.

Understand your nonprofit’s performance and increase successes

Using nonprofit KPIs has the potential to kickstart your nonprofit performance. By using — and understanding — the KPIs most important to your nonprofit organization, you can set attainable goals, concentrate your marketing efforts, and celebrate your successes. 

Get started today by creating a business plan and setting SMART goals for the next quarter. Once your goals are set, you can determine which KPIs to track this quarter to measure your nonprofit success.