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Creating KPIs in Blackbaud CRM™ 

By: Aaren Ballinger, Principal Consultant

So much of our time in Blackbaud CRM is spent in the minutia of data - entering gifts, adding prospect plans, creating marketing efforts, tracking event registrations, etc. But it’s important to step back from time to time and take stock of where your organization is as a whole. Are you meeting your goals? Where are you knocking it out of the park, and where are you falling short? That’s where KPIs come in. 

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators. In Blackbaud CRM™, there is a built-in tool to track many of the most common KPIs for nonprofit organizations.  Here are some simple step-by-step instructions:

To begin creating a KPI, navigate to Analysis > Information Library and click on the KPIs tab.

Click the Add button to add a KPI. The Select a KPI window will appear with a list of available KPI types organized into folders. 

Click the plus sign next to any folder to expand and view the available KPI types. Each KPI hase an icon that indicates the type of calculation being performed. There are three main types: percentage toward goal, count towards goal, and revenue towards goal. 

  • Percentage toward goal: Indicated by the percent sign icon, these KPIs compare two metrics and display a KPI figure using a percentage. These can be standard calculations like marketing response rates, or comparisons of two user defined selections. 

  • Example: “Percentage of Constituents” KPI calculates the number of constituents in a selection as a percentage of the number of constituents in a second selection. 

  • Count toward goal: Indicated by the numbers icon, these KPIs show a count of something based on certain criteria. 

  • Example: “Number of Prospect Plans” KPI tallies the number of prospect plans for a fundraiser. 

  • Revenue toward goal: Indicated by the stacked coins icon, these KPIs can perform a calculation based on revenue records. Several KPIs of this type offer the ability to report on SUM, AVG, MIN, and MAX of a particular revenue selection. 

  • Example: “Total Revenue Record Money in Selection” KPI allows you to choose a revenue selection and calculate either the SUM, AVG, MIN, or MAX of that selection. 

To begin creating your KPI, double-click on one of the options found in these folders. Let’s say we’re an Annual Giving staff member and want to track the total amount given to our 2021 Annual Fund. We can do this with the Revenue KPI “Total Revenue Record Money in Selection”. 

On the General tab, you can give the KPI a name and description, and choose a folder to store it in on the KPI page.   

The Criteria tab will look different depending on the KPI you have selected to build. For the “Total Revenue Record Money in Selection”, you first must search for the revenue selection to be used in the KPI. For our example we built a selection containing all gifts to the Annual Fund designation in 2021 - but the possibilities are endless when it comes to what revenue transactions you can select. The next criteria we must set is to choose the function for the KPI - SUM, AVG, MIN, or MAX. Because we want to see the total amount of money raised, we will choose SUM. 

Next, in the Preview tab, choose the “as of date” for the KPI. Click on the Preview button, and the data from the selection in the criteria tab will be pulled into view based on the date chosen.

At this point, the Goals should be determined. When you enter the overall goal, the system automatically calculates a “good target” and “satisfactory target”, but you can adjust these levels as needed. In addition to setting the targets, it is possible to add milestones to the KPI if more detail is needed for this metric. In this scenario, we have a milestone goal of hitting $1.5 million to the annual fund by the end of December. 

Lastly, on the History tab, decide if the KPI historic values should be archived or limit the archive to only the last XX values. This will determine the appearance of the trend line that will be seen on the KPI graph.

Click Save to save your KPI settings. You will now see your KPI listed on the KPI tab in the Information Library. 

KPIs must be manually run to see the most up to date information. This can be done by selecting Update KPI value from the drop down menu on the KPI tab in the Information Library, or from the Tasks menu on the KPI page. 

If this is a KPI that you will be keeping track of regularly, it’s a good idea to set up a job schedule that will refresh the KPI at a set interval - i.e., nightly or weekly. To add the job schedule, navigate to Analysis > Information Library and click on the KPI tab. Click the name of your KPI to open it, and then navigate to the Job Schedules tab. Set up your out-of-the-box job schedule by clicking Add. From this point, the process is the same as any other job schedule in the system - you select the frequency and timing that you want the schedule to run. 

Now, you have a KPI that gives your organization metrics to stay on top of the figures!  Assign someone on your team to update the necessary staff at a determined interval.  Together, gain an understanding of what the KPI is showing and take action to get to your goal faster or maybe have the ability to exceed your goal! 


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