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Blackbaud CRM KPI Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

By: Aaren Ballinger, Principal Consultant

KPIs are critical indicators used for the advancement of business objectives and/or goals. In our previous posts, we discussed how to set up some standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Blackbaud CRM™ and how to monitor them using dashboards. 

But let’s dive a little deeper - how should nonprofit leaders decide what KPIs they should track? Here are a few important tips for leaders going through the process of determining and tracking KPIs for their organization. 

Gain consensus among your staff on what KPIs would be meaningful to them.

Your staff are the experts in their respective areas, and likely have a lot of great perspective on what would be important to track. Make sure you involve them in the KPI and goal-setting process. Many times, improving business processes from the bottom up will make a difference for the entire organization! 

Narrow your focus to KPIs that align with your broader business goals. 

It’s really easy to get into analysis paralysis when it comes to KPIs! Too much data can make it really confusing to see the true picture of where your organization stands. Choose just a few vital metrics that will help staff envision the best way forward based on organizational goals. Focus on your biggest priorities and areas for improvement when whittling down the list. 

Set up a business process to go along with each KPI.

Without a process to review a KPI, no action can be taken. When determining KPIs, they must be measurable over some period of time and reviewed by a responsible party that can then take action on the report. If KPIs are set up and no action is taken, then it is impossible to move the business toward its goals. Assign someone the responsibility to monitor and report out to all involved, then work to take action on improvement.

Determine the appropriate reporting tool for your KPIs.

Many KPIs can be set up in the out-of-the-box functionality in Blackbaud CRM™. Some are more complex and require the use of a Data Warehouse or other reporting tools, such as Tableau or PowerBI. Choose something that can give you the functionality and flexibility you need, while also making the data easily accessible to all stakeholders. Here at BrightVine, we have helped many clients build custom reports and dashboards to help them track KPIs for their organizations. 

Set reasonable goals for each KPI.

KPIs should have attainable (but still ambitious!) goals assigned. You should also integrate milestones that help you determine your progress. These could be scores of high/medium/low for each value or percentage as determined by the KPIs responsible owner. If a department meets a goal too easily, dig in to identify if the goal was set appropriately. Conversely, if a department is struggling to meet a goal, determine if there are real operational issues or if the goal was too ambitious. 

Here are some KPI examples you may want to consider

  • Donor Retention

  • The percentage of donors that continue to give year over year.  A high percentage tells the organization that the donor supports the cause and believes in the organization. The average percentage rate for nonprofits in 2020 was 43%, as cited on March 15, 2021, by The NonProfit Times. “Dollars & Donors: Study Says Everything Up In 2020.”

  • Fundraiser Assignments

  • Using CRM Plans, determine how many touchpoints it takes before someone makes a gift. The number will be different for every organization. This must be reviewed over time until the number of touchpoints is determined. Use the CRM plans to determine if more touchpoints produce more gifts. This will also give staffing direction. For example, on significant donor plans, if it takes 8 touchpoints before receiving a gift, is there a need for increased staff per donor?

  • Fundraiser Increased Asks vs. Gift Amount 

  • The forecasted solicit ask value vs. the actual gift this year over last year.  This KPI will help determine if the fundraiser correctly identifies the lead or donor to determine the correct ask amount.  It will also show who is bringing in the highest percentage of increased gifts based on their solicitation strategy.  Those donors who are not engaged in a fundraiser should not be included in this KPI.

  • Response to Engagement - create an engagement score table

Don’t run your business on meaningless metrics. Setting KPIs may seem like a daunting task, but taking steps to create KPIs that are integrated with the organization’s objectives will prove worthwhile and help you reach your goals!


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