Events are a fundamental part of the nonprofit world. Whether they’re raising money, spreading awareness, engaging volunteers, providing education, or giving back to your community, events can be incredibly powerful. However, as nonprofit professionals like you know, events take a lot of time, energy, and money to execute, so you definitely want to do everything you can to ensure success and improve year over year. Collecting and acting upon data during the event planning process is crucial, as is monitoring important metrics that correspond to your nonprofit’s goals by establishing key performance indicators, or KPIs.
Let’s review some common KPIs for nonprofit events in four major categories: attendance, fundraising, marketing, and impact.
Attendance KPIs help you better understand the overall draw of your nonprofit’s events, both among your regular supporters and the general public, and track it year-over-year. It’s also useful to help you compare the response to the various offerings in your nonprofit’s event portfolio and inform decisions about continuing or discontinuing certain events. There are a number of KPIs to track related to event attendance, including:
- Registration numbers. The sheer number of attendees for each of your events gives you a good idea about where your supporters’ interest lies in terms of event type and format, and where you should invest your time and effort moving forward.
- RSVP response rate. Track the number of invitations you sent and the number of responses you received, in addition to the actual number of event attendees. This can give you valuable insight into the strategies you employ to invite potential registrants, your ticketing and RSVP process, and price points for registration.
- Attendee demographics. The demographics you target versus those that actually attend paint a more detailed picture of your donor base for future marketing and donor cultivation purposes. For instance, let’s say you’re organizing a charity golf tournament. If you find that you get the best response from recurring donors or corporate partners, you can aim your future marketing efforts at these groups to boost your turnout.
The majority of nonprofit events are held with fundraising in mind, whether it’s the sole focus or just a component of another effort. To better understand how the fundraising outcomes of each event are affecting your organization’s bottom line, keep these fundraising KPIs in mind:
- Total funds raised. This is perhaps the easiest metric to track, and helps you determine if you met or surpassed your fundraising goal for the event. Continuing with the golf tournament example, you’ll want to aggregate the dollars raised from golfer registrations, sponsorship sales, on-course games and contests, mulligan sales, raffle tickets, live or silent auction proceeds, and straight up donations to determine your gross funds raised.
- Donation conversion rate. The donation conversion rate is the number of donations per number of attendees. The more attendees that responded to the ask to make a contribution to your cause, the higher your conversion rate. This metric helps you understand how engaged attendees are in the event and your cause and how you can make better asks during the event.
- Average donation size. Look at the average size of the donations made during your event to glean whether your development team should focus on stewarding a few major donors or if you should more broadly target many, smaller donors.
Successfully marketing your nonprofit’s event is crucial to its success. Tracking metrics to help you better understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategy lets you grow and scale your event year over year and make improvements to reach even more people. Consider using UTMs in any online marketing, which are a way of tracking where folks come from in online marketing campaigns, and tapping into analytics to get additional data about your marketing efforts. Here are a few marketing KPIs to consider:
- Social media conversions. Social media has several KPIs you can track, such as post impressions, number of followers, and conversion rate. Impressions and number of followers can indicate how big of an online reach your event marketing has, while conversion rate can tell you how many of your followers feel inspired to take a desired action from your posts.
- Email open/click-through rates. Email marketing is extremely effective if you can make your messaging compelling and inspire action, which is what your click-through rate measures. These metrics tell you the number of people that opened your and how many people click on your email’s calls-to-action.
- Registration sources. Look at where folks are coming from to register for your event. Compare paper registration forms to phone calls to online registrations to determine the most effective ways to collect registrations in the future. Consider the time it takes for staff to process registrations and payments through the various methods to determine the most efficient ways moving forward.
The ultimate goal of your nonprofit’s events is to create an impact that furthers your mission, so it’s important to track metrics that show the direct results of the event. These KPIs could include:
- Tangible outcomes. Determine how the dollars raised from the event will directly impact the populations you serve or the cause you champion. For example, the number of people helped, projects funded, or other specific outcomes achieved. If the event raised money for a specific project or initiative, be sure to share that information with donors so they better understand how their attendance contributed to the impact.
- Donor retention. Measure how many donors who contributed to the event have continued to support the organization in subsequent months or years. A high donor retention rate indicates a successful event in terms of building long-term donor relationships.
- Comparative analysis. Compare the event’s performance to previous events or similar initiatives to identify trends and areas of improvement.
How to Monitor KPIs
If collecting and tracking the above KPIs feels overwhelming, not to worry—technology makes it much simpler to monitor KPIs while keeping your data clean and up-to-date. A simple way to start collecting this important information is through feedback and surveys from event participants, donors, and volunteers and pulling information from your CRM or event management platforms.
Look for a powerful software solution that fits your nonprofit’s specific needs. For instance, charity golf tournament organizers should consider using golf tournament management software, like GolfStatus, so they can not only track the most relevant data, but streamline their event management strategies.
No matter what tech tools or software your nonprofit utilizes, ensure you keep data hygiene best practices in mind, such as regularly auditing your records. NXUnite suggests completing your dataset by appending missing information so you always have the best understanding of where you stand.
Data is powerful, and when collected and analyzed properly, can tell a story about your nonprofit’s events that sets you up for continued success. If you don’t have software in place to manage your nonprofit’s events, start by researching options tailored to the specific event and how the platform will help you collect and manage data. Next, do a deep dive into data hygiene practices and implement recommendations. Finally, determine a strategy for collecting the important data that inform KPIs that help your nonprofit reach its goals.