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A Simple Guide to Using Nonprofit KPI Dashboards for Mission Success

Written by

James Watney

Posted on

June 20, 2022

Transparent figures are a nonprofit's greatest asset. In fact, 75% of donors seek information about a nonprofit’s impact before donating, according to research by nonprofit consulting firm Root Cause.

You may already collect heaps of data, but presenting it in a visually appealing, easy-to-understand way is another story.

And you’re not alone. 55% of nonprofit personnel surveyed by Hubspot say they don't have enough experience or time to manage data. But, you can use a nonprofit KPI dashboard to present and compare your organisation’s metrics at a glance.

The best part is you don't need coding experience to create easy-to-read dashboards with comprehensive data analysis software.  Let's take a look at how you can do it in just a few minutes.

In this blog, we cover:

Transparent reports attract more funding. Empower your team to create nonprofit KPI dashboards without writing any code. Think Trevor.io could work for you? Try it free for 2 weeks!

What are key performance indicators?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics used to measure an organisation's performance. High-level KPIs determine the performance of the whole organisation, while low-level KPIs focus on departmental performance such as finance, HR or marketing. 

KPI dashboards for startups and large enterprises are very popular because they crunch complex data and make it easy for a range of stakeholders to understand. You can implement the same for your nonprofit.

For example, you can track the cost of raising $1 to better understand your nonprofit's expenses and find ways to reduce them.

6 reasons your nonprofit needs a KPI dashboard

Businesses around the world create business KPI dashboards to measure their performance. Like them, your nonprofit is answerable to various stakeholders who need to know how you're managing funds. To maintain their support, you probably have rigorous targets.

Transparent figures help you meet your targets, prove your impact, and secure funding. A dashboard report graphs and charts to help you present KPIs to stakeholders so they can see your performance and trajectory at a glance. 

Trevore Business Intelligence: On-premise dashboard: Trevore.io

Here’s why you need a KPI dashboard:

1. Transparent reporting 

Dashboards provide transparent reports of your impact and outcome. Transparent data points help you track progress towards the desired outcome and make informed business decisions. 

For instance, with transparent reports of your cash flow streams, you can figure out the long-term reliability of each one. You can work to secure more cash flow if some streams are likely to back out.  

2. Stakeholder buy-in 

Stakeholders often find it difficult to consume all the data about programs, expenses, donors and volunteers. It’s better to present your organisation's performance in visually appealing and easy-to-read graphs so stakeholders understand everything easily. 

3. Visualise present outcomes and future trends 

Decision-makers must keep an eye on present scenarios and future trends. For instance, if they know that a considerable percentage of donations comes from a particular region, they can plan to conduct more programs there in the future. 

4. Highlight anomalies 

Every once in a while, your organisation receives a significant gift or donation from funders. Dashboards help you highlight such anomalies in fundraising reports so you can strive to achieve more of them.

5. Analyse performance 

A clear data report helps you analyse performance across the organisation, from finances to hiring. And you don't need separate platforms for different departments of your organisation. You can create dashboard views that filter based on defined metrics for each department. 

6. Facilitate data-driven decision-making  

A clear dashboard helps you identify success and challenges at the right time. With the correct data, you can make decisions based on evidence and not an assumption. 

For example, when you categorise different expenses, you can pinpoint what causes them to rise and fall. It gives founders a better hold over expense management, so they spend more money efficiently.

With so many benefits, it’s imperative to build your own KPI dashboard. And it’s not hard. Anybody from your team can build dashboards with user-friendly business intelligence (BI) software like Trevor.io. 

You just need to figure out which metrics are most important to you and get started… which brings us to our next point.

Transparent reports attract more funding. Empower your team to create nonprofit KPI dashboards without writing any code. Think Trevor.io could work for you? Try it free for 2 weeks!

7 examples of nonprofit KPI dashboards using the right metrics

The purpose of a nonprofit KPI dashboard is to deliver accurate data in a visually appealing manner. Your nonprofit dashboard can have several metrics for each department to measure its effectiveness.  

Below are seven must-have types of dashboards with their respective metrics.

1. Financial dashboard

Balance spreadsheets are good for financial management but they’re difficult to read. Dashboards use graphics to explain the financial health of your organisation and track cash flow. Below is a financial dashboard by WHO which highlights revenue trends over the years.

Source: WHO financial statements

Metrics for a financial dashboard: 

  • Year-on-year revenue. This compares revenue as compared to last year. 
  • Cost per $1 raised. This metric shows how much you're spending to raise money. If you're spending 50 cents to raise 1 dollar, 50% of your total revenue goes to the needy. 
  • Cash on hand. When you have funds that aren’t tied up in assets, and can be used for operational purposes, this is known as cash on hand. Having a good grasp of this figure helps prevent risky spending. 
  • Assets to liability ratio. This ratio compares how much funding you have to the cost of sustaining current programs. Suppose you have $50,000 for an AIDS awareness campaign, and you want to cover transport costs for volunteers attending events. This ratio will help you estimate whether your current expenses are low enough to facilitate the additional cost.

2. Volunteer dashboard

A visual representation of volunteer data motivates them to do more. It's like seeing a report card for their performance which highlights the room for improvement. The image below shows an impact dashboard that shows health impact by region.

Source: unv.org

Metrics:

  • Total volunteers determines the total number of volunteers you have in your organisation. You can also categorise total volunteers for each program as not all show up for every campaign.
  • Total volunteer hours. Like employees, volunteers give set hours to nonprofit work. Knowing total hours helps you plan the number of volunteers for each campaign.
  • Training time. New volunteers need to be trained. Knowing how much time it takes to train volunteers, can help you pre-plan your routine, so work doesn’t get delayed.
  • Volunteer retention rate. Not all volunteers participating in one program will return for another. The volunteer retention rate shows the average time each volunteer stays with your organisation. If you see the number decreasing, amp up your efforts to retain them. For example, provide refreshments or incentives to boost interest.
  • Attendance in events. This helps track how many volunteers attend and help with events. It helps you better manage tasks.

3. Marketing dashboard

Marketing is essential to spread information and raise awareness about your cause. Tracking your marketing data ensures the maximum ROI from your marketing campaigns. The image below showcases ROI for each marketing channel and content asset.

Source: hubspot

Metrics: 

  • Campaign conversion rate. How many website visitors or webinar attendees visited the landing page? How many of them donated to charity? If 1000 people attended your programs and only 50 donated money or signed up as volunteers, your conversion rate is 5%. Strive to increase it. 
  • New volunteer signups. Analyse how many volunteers you’ve gained after each event, webinar or program. Track year-on-year growth to see how much your team has grown.  
  • Total conversions per channel. It's crucial to see which marketing channel gives maximum ROI. Suppose you're seeing heavy conversions via email; you can amp up your email marketing budget for the future.   
  • Event ticket sales. Event ticket sales are a good indication of people's interest in your cause and will show you whether your marketing efforts for events are paying off.

4. Impact dashboard 

The impact dashboard shows how successful your organisation is at fulfilling its purpose. Update this dashboard each year or quarter to track your organisation’s growth.  Below is an impact dashboard for WHO’s performance in combating Lymphatic Filariasis.

Source: who.int

Metrics for impact dashboard:

  • Quantity of services provided. The total number of services provided helps you measure year-on-year performance. Categorise these services for each month, quarter, region or cause for a more precise understanding. 
  • Total funds raised is the total amount raised by your organisation in each month, year or quarter. 
  • People served in one quarter/ year. This demonstrates the number of people you served through all your campaigns over a given time.

5. Fundraising Donor dashboard

Donors are the prime contributors to your organisation’s fundraising activities. Keep track of donating patterns to find new opportunities to increase donations and build connections with donors. The dashboard below gives an elaborate description of donors and funds raised. 

Source: Donorsearch.com

Metrics:

  • Donor lifetime value demonstrates how much the average donor gives throughout the time they’re engaged with your organisation.
  • Average gift amount. Not all donors pay the same amount. Calculate the average gift size to help estimate incoming donations over time.
  • Donor retention. This refers to how long the average donor will keep giving to your organisation regularly. Retaining donors is what keeps an organisation going. Moreover, the cost of acquiring new donors is higher than retaining or upscaling the present ones. The image below shows a graph depicting donor retention.
Source: fundraisingreportcard.com
  • The number of big donations. Tracking significant donations helps you repeat them multiple times. Keep a tab of the person, region or program where you gathered donations. For instance, if you got a big donation during a founders' meeting, you can conduct more of them in the future.

6. Annual report dashboard 

The annual report is the performance summary of everything that your organisation achieved throughout the year. You can create one report on all organisational metrics or break it down into separate financial, HR, and sales KPI dashboards for individual teams to focus on their own performance.

You can see an example of the 2021 Red Cross dashboard below.

Source: redcross.org

Metrics: 

  • Organisation's health score. Your organisation's health score depends on different factors based on how you measure success or failure. Nonprofits measure health by calculating funds raised and outcomes generated. You can calculate and compare yearly or quarterly trends to get a health score.  
  • Yearly expense to revenue ratio: Yearly expense to revenue ratio gives you a clear comparison of how much you spent and made. Calculate your total expenses and revenue throughout the year and divide them to get a ratio.

7. Membership dashboard

The memberships dashboard tracks how your members are engaging with your nonprofit in terms of contributions and volunteer activities. The dashboard below categorises membership based on type, country and state to give an elaborate view.  

Source: Solverglobal

Metrics:

  • Revenue per member shows much a single member has contributed to your organisation. Increasing ensures consistent revenue for an extended time and balances out the cost of recruitment.
  • Types of members. Member types could include profiles like VIPs, students, and salaried individuals. Naturally, salaried individuals are likely to pay more than students. Categorising members based on occupation help you target better candidates for donations.
  • Churn rate is a metric inspired by KPI dashboards for SaaS. It refers to the number of members who quit your organisation. Just like SaaS companies, your nonprofit can track churn rate every quarter or year and find better ways to retain members.

Web analytics dashboard

Investing in digital marketing is the need of the hour, and Google Analytics lets you track the return on that investment. The dashboard below gives an account of activities on a business website. 

Source: Google Analytics

Metrics for web analytics:

  • Website traffic and conversions showcases how many website visitors turn into volunteers or donors.  
  • The number of donors per region. Tools like Google Analytics show where traffic is coming from, and that’s useful to include in your dashboard. Knowing which regions you have traction in can help you focus fundraising efforts in relevant areas.
  • Session to bounce rate ratio. Bounce rate refers to the frequency of visitors who check only one page before leaving. A complete session marks a considerable time spent on your site checking various pages and interacting with your content. The ratio between these metrics gives a clear picture of the average user interaction on your site and can help you identify and resolve user experience issues. 
  • The number of online donors. Online donors give directly to your organisation via your website, rather than through charity collections or raffles. Their donations are instant and demonstrate the success of your digital marketing campaigns. The more online donors, the merrier. 
  • User engagement: If visitors engage with your website, it means they’re interested in your organisation and are more likely to donate. Reading blogs till the end, visiting landing pages and participating in polls are some indicators of excellent user engagement. 

You’re all set to create effective nonprofit KPI dashboards for your organisation. Let’s jump to choosing the best platform to get started.

How to choose the right platform to track your nonprofit KPIs

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to creating nonprofit KPI dashboards. You should customise your dashboard features as per your organisation's needs. Below is a checklist to help you choose the right platform for your nonprofit KPIs.

  • Establish clear business goals to make a concise dashboard.
    Unnecessary data only creates a mess and makes your dashboard hard to read. Trevor.io provides several examples of BI dashboards to help you create a vision for your own.
  • Match your software to user expertise.
    If your team doesn't have coding skills, find a platform with a minimum learning curve and easy-to-build visualisations. Trevor.io offers an easy guide to BI dashboards so you can put it to work ASAP. 
  • Decide whether you want to track enterprise-level metrics or KPIs for each program.
    For the latter, you're going to need more than one dashboard. 
  • Consider who sees the dashboard.
    Board members, staff members, grantmakers or donators, they may all have different metrics of interest. There are different types of BI dashboards that you can choose from to suit their needs. 
  • Get the right pricing plan.
    Not only should your chosen BI software be affordable now, but also in the future as your team grows. Some software can get very expensive very quickly.

Trevor.io is a sustainable option for nonprofit organisations because you don’t need skilled coders to set up your dashboards or use them. It comes with plenty of resources to support you as you get started creating beautiful dashboards and won’t get wildly expensive as your team grows.

Transparent reports attract more funding. Empower your team to create nonprofit KPI dashboards without writing any code. Think Trevor.io could work for you? Try it free for 2 weeks!

Create brilliant nonprofit KPI dashboards with Trevor.io

A KPI dashboard will help you make better, informed decisions while supporting potential donors to visualise future trends. And you don’t need a team of coders to do it. 

When you get started, first consider what type of dashboard you need. Are you tracking financial data, impact, or volunteers? Then, work with the relevant stakeholders to decide which metrics will help you meet your KPIs. 
Finally, choose your software. A low-code BI tool like Trevor.io lets you create brilliant dashboards in a matter of minutes. The intuitive platform makes dashboards easy to set up and your team will have no issues analysing their KPIs and hitting their goals year on year.

Transparent reports attract more funding. Empower your team to create nonprofit KPI dashboards without writing any code. Think Trevor.io could work for you? Try it free for 2 weeks!

Related Post: When to Set up a KPI Dashboard for Startups and Which Crucial Metrics to Consider

Frequently asked questions about nonprofit KPI dashboards

How do you measure nonprofit effectiveness? 

You measure a nonprofit's effectiveness by collecting and analysing data about its missions and outcomes. You can do this using a nonprofit KPI dashboard, which you can create using business intelligence software.

What is a dashboard for a nonprofit?

A dashboard for nonprofits is a visual representation of all operational, financial and marketing data, and is used for strategic planning of organisational growth.

What is a fundraising dashboard?

A fundraising dashboard gives a visual account of all fundraising metrics, such as the total number of attendees, conversion rates and the total amount of funds raised.