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When using data to drive your fundraising, how do you measure success? What are the metrics you should be looking at to see if you’re truly making progress? These are questions on the minds of many nonprofit professionals today.

To help answer these questions, we want to highlight a few of the common metrics we often look at with clients to support and inform the organization’s strategic goals. Typically, these goals fall into one of four different buckets.

4 Nonprofit Goal Buckets and Metrics to Measure Them

Under each bucket there are key metrics you can use to diagnose challenges and opportunities in this area. Let’s take a look at each bucket individually:

  1. Revenue

Is your revenue increasing or is it declining? This is where you want to measure the percent change in revenue year-over-year. A secondary metric we also look into on a regular basis is percent change in average gift size.

  1. Donors

When it comes to the “Donors” bucket, we measure metrics like percent change in number of new donors or percent change in number of overall donors. We also look into lifetime value, coverage ratio, and retention rate.

  1. Mission

If your goals are tied to improving your mission, you need to define some metrics that are measuring the accomplishments of your organization. One of the metrics we measure on a regular basis is number of people, places, or things impacted by the organization’s work.

  1. Brand

If your objective is to drive brand awareness, you need to focus on the “Brand” bucket. A few examples of metrics to monitor or measure are consumer awareness, relevant knowledge, and positive sentiment. You can also look into metrics like consideration for your brand or donor recommendations toward your brand.

Examples of primary metrics:

  • If increasing the organization’s footprint is your strategic goal, then your primary metric should be percent change in number of new donors.
  • If your goal is to upgrade existing donors, then lifetime value should be the key metric. You’re trying to answer the question: Are your donors increasing in their value to the organization?

Examples of secondary metrics:

With the upgrade existing donors goal, some secondary metrics you should also consider monitoring on an ongoing basis could include:

  • Coverage ratio (which basically shows the rate at which you are adding new donors to the file vs. the rate at which you are losing existing donors)
  • Retention rate of your existing donors

Focus More on the “Who” Rather than Transaction-Based Metrics.

Some of the most innovative metrics used today are tied to understanding the donors themselves (for example, doing a holistic segmentation of donors to truly understand what motivates them and drives them to connect to your organization). This approach can translate into key metrics that help you understand how each of those segments is moving through your organization.

The more we can move away from some of the transactional, channel-based metrics and focus on the who and how people are connecting with your organization, the more we can really put data to good use.

Find out how your organization can use data to move the needle on your most important goals. Download our free resource “The Field Guide for Data-Driven Fundraising” today!