What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Should a Nonprofit Track?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are data points that can be used to measure the performance of your nonprofit organization. There are many reasons to track KPIs: they help measure your growth over time, ensure your model is sustainable and maximize your resources and impact. But which KPIs should you track? 

There are almost unlimited data points your nonprofit could record, and ultimately, identifying the proper KPIs depends on your model. If you run a member organization, it makes sense that your KPIs would focus on membership. If you rely heavily on volunteers, you should be focusing on goals and metrics related to volunteer recruitment and retention

In today's blog post, we'll outline essential KPIs that we recommend nonprofits track. We'll also provide tips on how to measure each KPI and what steps you can take to improve your performance.

Fundraising KPIs

If you run a nonprofit, you're almost certainly accepting donations of some kind: recurring gifts, one-off grants, major donations, or in-kind contributions. If your organization relies on gifts, it's essential to understand giving patterns so you can map a sustainable pathway forward. Your nonprofit CRM should help you track these metrics. For instance, GivePulse's one-stop database approach allows you to track donor information alongside gifts, dollars raised, event attendance and more. 

While there are many fundraising KPIs your nonprofit can track, the following three are vital.

Gifts Secured

The first KPI you should consider is how many gifts you're securing each month and how much they total. This could vary based on your model: it could be that one or two large gifts sustain you, or you may receive hundreds of smaller donations. It's essential to understand how many donations you're receiving month over month in order to track patterns like increases or decreases in monthly giving.

Number of Donors

Alongside the number of gifts, your nonprofit should be running regular reports on how many donors you're engaging. As you build up an understanding of your donor base, you'll be able to track metrics like donor retention: how many donors give in two consecutive years. This helps you understand how many new donors you'll need to attract over time to promote a sustainable financial model for your organization.

Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

From organizing large-scale events to managing records, fundraising takes time and money. By calculating the ROI of your fundraising efforts, you'll be able to ensure you're making the most of your resources. 

To measure your ROI, you'll first need to calculate the cost of fundraising by adding together all your expenses related to philanthropy, like staff salaries, equipment, rent, etc. Then, subtract the cost of your fundraising efforts from the total amount raised. Depending on what you're looking to measure, your expenses and profit may relate to a particular event or campaign or could be annual. By subtracting your costs from the total amount raised, you'll have the net return of your fundraising efforts. Divide the net return by the cost of fundraising and multiply the result by 100 for a final fundraising ROI percentage.

Volunteering KPIs

Alongside gifts and giving, your nonprofit should be recording data related to time donated by volunteers. A robust volunteer management platform can help you automatically track volunteer data, so you're constantly assessing your impact. The following KPIs are a great place to start. 

Number of Volunteers

Keeping track of the number of volunteers you're engaging in any given month will help you measure volunteer retention and set goals for recruitment. For instance, if your nonprofit started the quarter with 60 volunteers and only had 45 engaged by the end of the quarter, you "lost" 15. By dividing your final number of volunteers (45) by your starting number (60) and multiplying the final figure by 100, you'll have your volunteer retention rate. In this case, it's 75%.

By tracking volunteer numbers and retention, you'll also be able to identify pain points, such as whether many volunteers sign up but stop attending shifts after a certain period of time. In this instance, you might find that you need to add additional training or communication to keep volunteers engaged.

Volunteer Hours Served

Along with understanding the size of your volunteer base, you should be tracking volunteer impact: how many hours they served. A nonprofit volunteer management system can help with this. For instance, GivePulse collects and tracks all volunteer data in one place, from volunteer applications to hours and attendance.

GivePulse also provides built-in tools that generate visual representations of volunteer activity to help break down your data.

By measuring volunteer hours served, you'll be able to determine if you have enough coverage for your shifts and if you're scheduling volunteers appropriately. By understanding these metrics and applying them to your volunteer engagement strategy, both you and your volunteers will have a better, more rewarding experience.


Like any organization, tracking the progress of a nonprofit is vital for growth. By tracking KPIs, nonprofits can improve their volunteer engagement, fundraising and overall operations.

GivePulse offers an all-in-one donor, volunteer, member, and event management system to help you automate your nonprofit's data tracking. From simple data visualization to scheduling shifts, our software makes it easy to track volunteers, donors and members. 

Schedule a demo with GivePulse today to learn how we can help your nonprofit meet  — and exceed — your goals.



About GivePulse

GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

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