2 Critical Nonprofit KPIs

Tracking and Communicating Results

July 11, 2023

Maryfrances Porter

Do you lay awake at night wondering “what are KPIs (key performance indicators) for nonprofits?”

I have been working with a large, international corporation’s social responsibility department for over a year now. When we first started talking, they wanted to know “what KPIs should we be tracking to understand whether we are getting return on our investments?”

Corporations are focused on KPIs and profit because better KPIs result in higher profit. What does this mean for the nonprofits they invest in? How do nonprofits – who produce goodness not profit – speak to their corporate funders?


Corporate key performance indicators

Corporate KPIs are simply things measured which help corporate leaders understand how well the corporation is running. KPIs might be targets for sales, milestones to track sales progress, or goals for marketing. Examples of KPIs are revenue per client, client satisfaction, client retention rate, profit margin, and revenue growth.

These things are tracked because they can be acted on. Tracking KPIs means that leaders have their finger on the pulse of the business and understand the most effective ways of creating profit. This allows leaders to set goals for success, detect problems early, and use data to make informed, moment-to-moment decisions.


Nonprofit key performance indicators

Nonprofits want to understand the most effective ways to create goodness for the people they serve. Therefore, nonprofit KPIs should be focused on the production of goodness.

There are essentially two markers of successful creation of goodness:

(1) The depth and breadth of programming (“Are we doing enough work?”) – how much programming is provided, and how many clients are reached (i.e., productivity)

(2) The success and value of programming (“Is the work we are doing resulting in goodness for the people served?”) – what clients get from, and how satisfied they are with, programming (i.e., immediate impact)

Therefore, nonprofit KPIs are reflected in productivity and immediate impact: how many clients are served, client satisfaction, and amount of goodness clients received.

Tracking these things allow nonprofit leaders to understand the most effective ways of creating goodness by setting goals for success, detecting problems early, and using data to make informed, moment-to-moment decisions.

You can call these KPIs or the outcomes/impact of program evaluation. . . I call this Actionable Measurement which is used both improve programming and tell your impact story.


A real life example

A nonprofit focused on affordable housing needs to tract the following so the nonprofit and the funders understand the amount of goodness being produced.

Productivity (typically tracked monthly): number of people are served; number of affordable housing units are created; number of affordable housing units are upgraded to be safe

Impact (typically tracked quarterly): number of people moving into quality, affordable housing; number of people able to stay in upgraded affordable housing; number of people satisfied with their housing



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This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions. I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling consultants you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

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By Published On: July 11th, 2023Categories: Blog - Powerful Data Analysis, Blog - Solid FrameworkComments Off on 2 Critical Nonprofit KPIs