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3 meaningful fundraising metrics to track

Updated July 13, 2023 by Virginia Davidson

meaningful fundraising metrics

Tracking meaningful metrics enables you to evaluate and modify your fundraising plan for greater success—and to avoid losing the support of donors.

The first two metrics listed below are basic building blocks: what are your overall fundraising totals by year, and are your donors new donors or returning donors? The third set of metrics helps you get more strategic in terms of where to put your efforts: which sets of donors need your attention now?

Three essential fundraising metrics to track:

Fundraising metric #1: Overall growth from year to year

You can determine growth by calculating the sum of donations or number of donors in a given year. This information gives you a broad view of patterns that you can use to evaluate your fundraising efforts. You can calculate these numbers manually, or if you’re using Little Green Light, use the Fundraising Totals widget to see your three most recent year total’s at a glance. The LGL dashboard also has graphs showing similar data.

LGL Dashboard: Fundraising totals

Fundraising metric #2: New vs repeat donors

The number of first-time donors, consecutive donors, and recaptured donors tells you a lot about the effectiveness of your cultivation and stewardship efforts. With this information, you can determine if you’re welcoming a sufficient number of new donors per year and if you’re successfully retaining your donors. In Little Green Light, you can let LGL do the work for you by using the Donor Summary by Year widget on your dashboard.

LGL Dashboard: Donor Summary by Year

Fundraising metric #3: Stewardship opportunities

Are you staying in touch with your top donors? Do some of them only hear from you when you send your year-end appeal? Do you know which top donors haven’t yet made a gift this year? When you keep an eye on donors who haven’t had recent contact, you can reach out to them to keep them engaged. By stewarding these donors, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll continue to support your organization.

Little Green Light customers can rely on the Stewardship Opportunities widget on the dashboard for that information. This tool also identifies lifetime top donors who have not yet given this year or have had limited contacts from your organization, along with your LYBUNTS (donors who gave last year but unfortunately not this year) and SYBUNTs (donors who gave some year but unfortunately not this year) so you can make a plan to re-engage them.

LGL Dashboard: Stewardship widget


These three metrics will give you a strong foundation for evaluating and adjusting your fundraising plan. As you consider tracking other metrics, be mindful of how that information will inform your fundraising work. Answering that question can save your organization from tracking metrics that don’t provide meaningful, useful information.

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