7 Essential Fundraising Metrics You Should Track Today for Increased Nonprofit Donations

Many marketing efforts are invested into fundraising campaigns for the success of your nonprofit organization. But how do you know if these efforts are worthwhile? How do you track how successful your fundraising campaigns were at meeting your goals?

Measuring your nonprofit’s success with fundraising metrics can help improve your strategies and ultimately, your fundraising results. In this guide, you will learn about fundraising metrics, why they are important to nonprofits, how they impact fundraising abilities, and seven essential fundraising metrics you should track.

Why are fundraising metrics important to nonprofits? How do the metrics impact the ability to fundraise?

Nonprofit fundraising metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) used by nonprofit or charitable organizations to measure activities related to donations and donors. The fundraising metrics you choose to track should be based on your nonprofit’s overall goals and objectives.

The success of your organization can be measured by its fundraising metrics. Based on these values, you can see which paths have been the most successful and make informed decisions. These metrics can also help you evaluate your nonprofit’s effectiveness and identify strengths and weaknesses. With carefully-selected, accurate, and consistently-tracked metrics, you get real information and can make smart decisions for your nonprofit organization.

7 Metrics for Nonprofits to Monitor to Increase Donations

Donation Conversion Rate

The donation conversion rate metric shows a nonprofit how successful a given fundraising campaign is at getting people to complete the desired action (e.g., donating).

Donation Conversion Rate = (Total number of donations / Total number of donation sign-ups) x 100

Conversion rate is one of the simplest indicators for measuring the success of a request for action. Measuring donation conversion rates can help your nonprofit organization better understand your donors’ preferences as well as the relative success of each of your fundraising methods. The donation conversion rate also reflects the effectiveness of your donors’ experience on your website, and how easily they can find the critical information and take the steps to make a donation.

Have you considered what your strategy is for optimizing donation conversion rates? Reach out to our team at Experiment Zone to talk about how we can help you develop and execute a donor-centric CRO program.

Click-through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures the percentage of people who clicked on a hyperlink in an email, or your website or donation page to make donations or perform a nonprofit activity. CTR in combination with conversion rate can help your nonprofit identify shortcomings in your marketing efforts.

Email click-through rate is most useful in planning email campaigns requiring contact list segmentation. If your conversion rate is at 2.7% (which is the average for nonprofits), you can predict the result of your next email and plan your strategy accordingly.

Email Click-through Rate = (Unique Email Clicks / Total Number of Emails Delivered) x 100

If your email CTR is low, you should consider optimizing your calls-to-action (CTAs) and segment your donors to enable personalized emails. A/B testing your emails can help you see the pitfalls in your strategy and the areas for improvement.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate for your website is the percentage of website visitors who immediately exit your site after viewing a page. The lower the bounce rate, the more pages your users see and the more likely they are to convert. Many nonprofits average around 60%, but anything under 50% is considered a healthy bounce rate.

Email bounce rate is the percentage of emails sent that do not get delivered to the inbox. Whatever the reason for the bounce, it is good to track your email bounce rate so you can monitor your contact list.

Email Bounce Rate = (Total Undelivered Emails / Total Emails Sent) x 100

The average email bounce rate for nonprofits is 1.09%. If you notice that the percentage is higher, it is time to invest in knowing why and start updating your contact details. There is a general method of using reCAPTCHA to reduce the number of spam email addresses. You can also send emails from domain-authenticated addresses to avoid spam filters that block emails from getting to the inbox.

Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

CPDR generally answers the questions: Did we lose or raise money, or break even? Cost per dollar raised is one of the most common metrics used to measure the success of your overall as well as individual fundraising campaigns.

CPDR = Expenses of a fundraising campaign / Revenue for that given fundraising campaign

Your fundraising campaign is net positive if the cost per dollar is less than $1 because you spend less to generate more donations. A CPDR of less than 1 means more revenue was earned than expenses incurred, which in turn means profit for a given fundraising event.

Donor Lifetime Value

Donor lifetime value measures the overall revenue from a single donor during their lifetime with your nonprofit. Predicting a donor’s lifetime value is essential for directing fundraising efforts and making strategic decisions about how you will manage your relationship with them.

Donor Lifetime Value = Donor Lifespan x Average Donation Amount x Average Frequency of Donation

The donor lifespan (also known as donor lifetime) is the average length of time as an active donor. Once you’re able to accurately visualize the real value of your existing donor list in dollars, it’s likely that you’ll realize the true importance of donor retention in terms of dollars lost.

Donor Acquisition Cost (DAC)

DAC is a metric that measures how much money your nonprofit organization spends on acquiring a donor. Donor acquisition cost shows you how much money you throw into marketing and advertising for new donors.

Donor Acquisition Cost (DAC) = $ Spent on Donor Acquisition / Total Number of Donor Acquired

Donor acquisition cost takes on more meaning when you pair it with other fundraising metrics. For example, donor lifetime value works hand-in-hand with DAC to determine the business viability of your fundraising efforts. DAC data is especially useful when compared across channels, campaigns, or time periods. For example, comparing donor acquisition cost (DAC) by marketing channels can show you where you are spending more and areas for expansion.

Donor Retention Rate

The donor retention rate metric measures how many donors your fundraising campaign keeps on a year-on-year basis. Your nonprofit can use this donor relationship metric to determine how much money to spend on marketing. A high donor retention rate is essential for limiting acquisition costs.

Donor Retention Rate = (Number of Donors who gave Previous and Current Year / Number of Donors who gave Previous Year) x 100

The donor retention rate can monitor how successful your communications channels are and which donation methods are most preferred for returning donors. You can also track the effectiveness of your donor recognition efforts with the retention rate.

The average donor retention rate is around 40 - 45% across the nonprofit sector. Improving your stewardship practices is the best move to make when your donor retention rate is less than ideal.

Other metrics you could consider tracking/understanding:

Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

Fundraising return on investment, just like CPDR, measures the success or failure of your fundraising pursuit. If your nonprofit is interested in saving costs, then you should consider tracking CPDR. Nonprofit organizations that are interested in strategic planning for fundraising campaigns should monitor fundraising ROI instead.

Fundraising ROI = Revenue for a Fundraising Effort / Expenses Incurred for that Fundraising Effort

Fundraising ROI is the opposite of CPDR in terms of calculation. CPDR is valued by dividing expenses by revenue (which tells you how much you spent per dollar earned). The resulting value of fundraising ROI tells you how much you earned per dollar spent i.e a number greater than 1 means you made a profit and less than 1 means a loss.

Pledge Fulfillment Percentage

Pledges are funds a donor promises to give to a nonprofit organization over a set amount of time. The pledge fulfillment percentage tracks how many donors are fulfilling their pledges to your nonprofit.

Pledge Fulfillment Percentage = (Total number of Pledges Fulfilled / Total number of Pledges Promised) x 100

Monitoring your pledge fulfillment offers a better understanding of why a donor does not follow through with their pledge or what strategies you can employ to improve their pledge commitment.


If you want to be successful with your nonprofit, understanding more about your donors and fundraising efforts is important. Evaluating your fundraising metrics will not only allow you to understand where your organization is and what it is doing but will also provide the opportunity for adjustments when needed.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is not only for ecommerce sites. You can use it to increase donations on your website, improve the user experience of any given page, or even provide clarity and resonance to your value prop and mission statement.

Working with a CRO agency can increase your conversion to donation rate and ultimately help your organization fulfill its mission more effectively.

Now may be the right time to schedule a free CRO discovery call to uncover which parts of your message and experience have been holding your organization back from increased donations and the online growth you deserve.

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