5 Fundraising KPIs to Track for your Digital Program

March 10, 2015

Late last year, we launched the State of the Canadian Web Nation Report and one particular finding keeps on coming up again and again.

Of the more than 500 charities we polled, only 18.99% report that they pay very close attention and are getting quite sophisticated using fundraising KPIs, benchmarks, and other goals to measure performance. That means that roughly 80% of us aren’t. And that’s not a good thing.

While fundraisers seem to know that they need to track their online performance, we’re just not sure what KPIs (key performance indicators) you should be tracking in the digital realm.

If you fall into that 80% who isn’t tracking yet, your task this month is to dig out and compile these KPIs for 2014. Even better yet, do this for the last 3 or 5 years so you can get a bit of a historical record.

Here are 5 broad KPIs that I suggest you look at today for broadly assessing the performance of your online program.

KPI #1 – Total funds raised online

Depending on how many systems you have in play to process and track online donations, this might take a little bit of detective work. But simply, you want to calculate how much money your cause raised online last year.

The goal here is to find out what proportion of annual revenue your online channel produces. This total dollar value will also enable you to do a channel to channel comparison – for example, online versus direct mail.

KPI #2 – Total funds raised online by source

Now, let’s slice and dice this larger online revenue number. There are several ways to do this, but the first way I’d suggest to you tackle this is by attributing online revenue to these sources (where applicable):

1)      email

2)      events (ticket sales or registrations)

3)      peer-to-peer (for an event or other initiative)

4)      catalogue or sales of goods

5)      other online

Remember that you should only attribute online revenue to each of the above categories, and if email was a part of events or peer-to-peer keep the revenue attributed to that source (and not to email).

The goal with this KPI is to get a sense of how much of your revenue is active or passive, what you’re doing to drive online revenue, and where there are opportunities for you to grow going forward.

KPI #3 – Number of new online donors

How many new donors did your charity acquire last year, and of this total, count the number who made their first gift through an online channel. You want to get a sense of where your new donors are coming from and what role online is playing in your new donor acquisition strategy.

You might also be ready to take it to the next stage and then look at your renewal rates by channel. It’s important to know how many of your online donors renewed overall (regardless of channel), and then slice that even further and look to see the channel by which they renewed.

KPI #4 – Average gift

This one is a ho-hum, yeah I got it number, but it’s a good idea to compare how your online donations – both one-time and monthly – compare with offline gifts received.  Generally speaking, online donations tend to be larger than those received through the mail or phone, so when you want to start looking at the value of an online donor, then this is a good place to begin.

KPI #5 – Website donation page conversion rate

What percentage of visitors who get to your donation page actually complete their gift? This is a really good metric to track because it doesn’t matter how much traffic you drive to your donation page if you aren’t able to close the deal and get someone to make that donation.

The basic formula for tracking this percentage is as follows:

Number of donations to your donation page  x 100
Number of unique page visits to your donation page

Start by calculating this for your main donation page, and then if you like, you can look at this rate for every donation page you have.

It’s also handy to calculate your overall website conversion rate by looking at the number of online donations regardless of source divided by the number of unique visits to your website overall. This measures how much of the traffic that comes to your site actually end up taking the donation action.

When looking at KPIs, you want to ensure that you’re looking at the sector benchmarks (M+R and NTEN’s annual benchmarks report will be coming out soon, so be sure to check that out) and then set your own internal benchmarks.

If you’re not yet performing the same as your peers in the non-profit world, then aim to get here first.  And, if you’re already outperforming your peers, then know what incremental performance gains you want to make for your organization in 2015.

Now, if you can’t do all or some of the above (or if it took you hours to compile), your priority is to begin tracking and measuring your work.

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Holly Wagg

Holly Wagg

Fundraiser. Connector. Photographer. Adventurer. Extroverted-introvert. Digital architect. Change agent. Mother. Architect of random projects.