On the left side, the title of the post. On the right side, an image of an individual looking at metrics for in-kind donations on a phone and laptop.

4 Types of Metrics to Track When Accepting In-Kind Donations

Although less flexible than monetary donations, in-kind donations are still valuable to nonprofits for various reasons. For instance, the non-financial nature of these donations may lead to increased generosity, as donors unable to make monetary gifts may be happy to donate items or services instead. Some fundraising organizations even offer the opportunity for your nonprofit to raise funds through the collection of in-kind donations by hosting events like a clothes drive collecting recyclable clothes.

To maximize any donation type, regardless of whether they’re major gifts or matching gifts, you must start with data. In-kind gifts are no exception, as you’ll need to collect information on key metrics to determine the best path toward increasing the support your nonprofit receives. But which data points do you need to track to do so?

In this guide, we’ll cover the four types of data to track when accepting in-kind donations. By collecting and assessing this information, your nonprofit can grow the support it receives and more conveniently fulfill its mission. Let’s dive in!

1. Donor Data

When it comes to securing recurring donations or support, donor data is key. With this information, you can segment your supporters into groups with shared characteristics. This allows you to send out targeted messages that are more likely to secure future support.

Key information you should collect on your in-kind donors include:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Demographics
  • Engagement history
  • Giving history
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Communication preferences

For instance, let’s say that a woman named Sarah drops off canned beans at your nonprofit’s food drive. You have her fill out a form that asks for the information above, and you learn that:

  • Sarah has donated canned food at your nonprofit’s past three food drives.
  • She hasn’t participated in any other in-kind donation drives or made a monetary donation.
  • She prefers to be contacted through email and text.
  • She usually finds out about your food drives through neighborhood flyers.

From this information, you can gather that addressing food insecurity is important to Sarah. You may be able to secure a larger in-kind donation from her in the future if she’s given more time to prepare.

With that in mind, you can group Sarah with other donors who share her views and preferences. Before your next food drive, you’ll send out an email to this group letting them know about your upcoming event and inviting them to donate. By doing so, you’ll secure these donors’ repeated support and may even increase the number of items they donate.

Be sure to store your donor data in a secure location to ensure that their privacy is respected. Kindful recommends using a constituent relationship management (CRM) system for this purpose. A dedicated nonprofit CRM allows you to easily access donor information, segment donors into groups, and send personalized messages requesting support.

2. Donation and Inventory Details

Since in-kind donations are usually goods or services, your nonprofit will want to create an inventory of donated items. This ensures you don’t use your hard-earned funds on an item you already own and helps you keep track of donations for bookkeeping purposes. Keeping an updated inventory is particularly important for any donation that you plan to keep long-term, such as livestreaming equipment, computers, or furniture.

When recording in-kind donations, be sure to include the following information:

  • Description of items or services
  • Estimated value
  • Quality and condition
  • Date of donation
  • Method of delivery, such as a drop-off delivery or pickup by staff members
  • Location

Additionally, depending on the number of in-kind donations you usually receive, you may need volunteer help to process and inventory these items. In that case, you may want to track volunteer metrics as well to ensure that you’re providing a great volunteer experience for your supporters.

3. Marketing Metrics

Donors can only make gifts to your nonprofit if they know that your organization needs support, making marketing a key aspect of your nonprofit’s operations. Therefore, tracking the success of your marketing efforts is crucial to securing future in-kind donations.

To assess the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s marketing, keep an eye on these metrics:

  • Conversion rate. This metric refers to the percentage of users who complete a desired action. In the case of in-kind gifts, this means dropping off a donation, scheduling a donation pickup, or pledging a service. For example, if you have a call-to-action (CTA) on your website to schedule an in-kind donation pickup, you can assess the conversion rate of this CTA to see how effective it is at getting web visitors to click and complete the pickup form.
  • Donor acquisition rate. If you’re hoping to secure new donors through in-kind gifts, the donor acquisition rate is key. To calculate this, you’ll divide the number of first-time donors by the number of all donors. For instance, let’s say you spent the entirety of last month focusing on requests for in-kind gifts. If you had a total of 200 donors and 47 of them were new donors, you’d have an acquisition rate of 23.5%.
  • Engagement metrics. Gauge the interest surrounding in-kind gifts by tracking metrics related to engagement. This includes website traffic, email open rates, and social media engagement on messages that feature in-kind gifts. If you have a lot of engagement with these messages, you’ll know that your supporters are receptive and open to making in-kind donations.
  • Referral sources. To determine which marketing channels are most effective at garnering in-kind donations, track referral sources to your key in-kind donation landing pages. Common referral sources include on-site CTAs, email newsletters, and social media posts.

By examining these data points, you’ll have a better understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing messages, which marketing channels are best for requesting in-kind donations, and how successfully you’re attracting new donors.

4. Donation Impact

Much like with monetary donations, donors want to know how you use their in-kind gifts to positively impact your beneficiaries. By collecting information related to donation impact, you’ll be able to answer their questions and alleviate concerns with quantitative data.

Metrics that you can track for donation impact include:

  • Cost savings. If you’re already tracking the estimated value of in-kind gifts, you can easily translate this metric into your nonprofit’s cost savings. For instance, let’s say that you recently requested donations of livestreaming equipment for your next hybrid event. You could let your donors know that their generous in-kind donations helped you save $5,000 in video equipment, lighting, and microphones.
  • Beneficiaries helped. If you’re collecting in-kind donations to directly give to your nonprofit’s beneficiaries, you can track exactly how many beneficiaries your in-kind donations helped to show your impact. Let’s say your nonprofit’s mission is to aid people experiencing homelessness and you host a clothing drive to collect warm winter clothing. In your thank-you letters, you could mention that your drive allowed you to provide warm clothes to 500 beneficiaries.
  • Environmental impact. According to Donate This Recycle That, in-kind donations of goods are a great way for supporters to recycle and give new life to old items. If your nonprofit deals with environmental issues, let donors know the positive environmental impact of their donations. For example, you can tell supporters that together, they donated over half a ton of clothing, saving these textiles from landfills.

These metrics are especially important when it comes to your donor recognition efforts. In particular, you can feature relevant information in your thank-you messages. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate the impact your donors have on your beneficiaries and show that your organization is trustworthy and deserving of support.

If you’re serious about maximizing the number of in-kind gifts you receive and the impact you create with them, it’s essential that you track these four categories of metrics. To streamline your data collection and analysis, consider looking into a partnership with a data analytics company. These organizations can help you get started and set you up for in-kind donation success!