Pittsburgh Technical Council

3 Fundraising Metrics That Nonprofits Should Keep An Eye On

3 Fundraising Metrics That Nonprofits Should Keep An Eye On

Article Published: January 25, 2016

Groves _b _03_0By Blake Groves, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Salsa | Ignite Action. Fuel Change.

If your nonprofit wants to improve but you’re at a loss for how to do so, don’t worry. You just have to track a selection of key fundraising metrics, which are sometimes referred to as performance indicators.

These indicators highlight your strengths and weaknesses, ensuring that your organization has the knowledge to make changes for the better.

In order to monitor the various metrics you’ll need one thing: good data.

As long as you have been storing your donor and prospect information in your CRM, you’ll have no issue pulling from the relevant data for your reporting.

Remember, it’s all in the data.

Use these three fundraising metrics to reflect on your past and put a plan in place for the future.


If three fundraising metrics aren’t enough, explore Salsa’s full list of recommended nonprofit performance indicators.

1. Average Growth in Gift Size

One of the best ways to see your yearly fundraising totals increase is by focusing on upgrading existing donors to higher giving levels while securing larger initial donations.

Before you start that process, you’ll need some guidance so that you can put a plan in place. The first step in drafting that plan should be to analyze average growth in gift size.

If you’re growing at a good pace year-over-year, maintain your practices and strategies, because they are working. However, if you feel your donation growth isn’t sufficient, you have options for how you can improve.

Test out various strategies, such as:

  • Screening your donor pool for upgrade candidates.

  • Creating giving levels to encourage donating certain amounts.

  • Designing a major gifts program.

  • Seeking planned gifts.

  • And more.

There are plenty of ways to increase average gift size. And they’ll all work with varying effectiveness depending on the situation at your nonprofit.

No matter what though, you can’t do any of that if you don’t identify that there is a problem.

2. Recurring Gift Percentage

Determine how many of the donations that you receive are recurring gifts. You’ll be investigating donor retention here.

New donors will always be a priority for organizations, but steady fundraising growth relies on donor retention as well.

There are three key reasons why nonprofits should treat retention as a priority:

  1. It is far easier to secure a gift from a supporter who is already a contributor. Given that it requires less effort than the acquisition of a new prospect, it’s a shame that many nonprofits don’t focus more on retention.

  2. Likewise, you should also have a better ability to upgrade retained donors than secure larger gifts from brand new prospects. You might, for instance, have donors in your monthly giving program with major giving capacity.

  3. The more donors you retain, the greater impact the donors you acquire will have. Part of acquisition covers loss of donors. If you maintain the same acquisition rate, but improve retention, your fundraising total should increase.

The first step in donor retention is proper acknowledgement. Begin there and then move on the other facets of stewardship.

3. Conversion Rate from Marketing Efforts

Conversion rate from various marketing measures is a great metric to study when you are examining the efficacy of various promotional moves. 

Let me back up a moment. Conversion rate from marketing efforts explores how many people are clicking on your calls-to-action (in emails, Facebook posts, tweets, etc.) and making it to the desired landing page.

With tracking tools such as Google Analytics, you can monitor the number of visitors who reach a certain page on your website. You can also determine how they got there.

Do you sometimes feel like you’re tweeting out into a void? Well, this metric will tell you if the feeling is real or not. If not, that’s great. If it is, adjust your social media outreach strategy accordingly.

Maybe your supporters respond better to calls-to-action as part of lengthier posts on Facebook. Or they might prefer a specific kind of wording on Twitter.

Your analysis can get as intricate and in-depth you’d like it to, but it needs to start somewhere. Conversion rate is as good a place as any.

The main goal of keeping an eye of all of these metrics is to improve. Self-evaluation is crucial to the ongoing success of your nonprofit.

For more paths to improvement, consider attending a nonprofit conference to learn in a new environment and gain a fresh perspective from colleagues and thought leaders in the industry.

Pick a route to betterment and chart your course.



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