Annual Report Design
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Nonprofit Impact Measurement: Identifying the Metrics to Track

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Learn how to define your nonprofit impact through data tracking and how to use your data to craft compelling visual stories and shine a light on your organization’s mission.

Why Measure Your Nonprofit’s Impact?

By measuring your impact, you show tangible results of your efforts and your impact on the community. 

You can showcase your impact measurement data on your website, in your newsletters, in PR, on social media, and in your annual impact report. This data is influential in attracting and connecting with potential donors, volunteers, and stakeholders who want to see what (and where) their contributions do (and go).

In addition to providing accountability and transparency to donors and your supporters, impact data can be used to find areas of improvement in your organization. By monitoring data and trends, you can make more informed decisions to leave a greater impact on your community.

Nonprofit Impact Measurement: What to Track in Your Organization

Most nonprofits will track the same data, such as donors and donations, fundraising and expenses, budgeting, and people served, among a few. But, the exact statistics and impact measured will depend on your organization and mission.

For example, impact data regarding students and graduation rates may be found in an educational equity nonprofit’s annual report – information that wouldn’t typically be included in a political nonprofit’s report.

But, here at Acton Circle, we’ve noticed seven common data points you should make sure to include in your nonprofit impact measurement tracking:

1. People Served

Include the people in your nonprofit's community, including the goals you’ve helped them achieve in alignment with your nonprofit’s mission.

2. Volunteers and Volunteer Hours

You can track your volunteers' hours and calculate the monetary value of their time. As a starting point, consider the current estimated national value of volunteer hours.

3. Donors and Donation Tracking

All nonprofits are required to track donations and record them in their statement of activities. Recording donations and their donors provides a financial record of where your funding comes from, along with the data you’ll need to thank your donors for their contributions in your annual report. 

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4. Fundraising, Program, and Administrative Expenses

Tracking your donations, fundraising, program, and administrative expenses allows you to accurately record where your donations go, along with which area of your nonprofit uses most of your funds. This transparency builds trust with your donors and supporters.

5. Budget Spending

A nonprofit budget is used to plan and predict expenses to allocate resources appropriately. Your budget spending is the actual report. Your report shows how your organization performed in comparison to its original budget.

6. Net Income

With the information gathered so far, your nonprofit organization should be able to easily record its net income – aka revenue minus expenses and losses.

How to Showcase Your Impact Data

Your impact data is more than just information; it reports how your organization and supporters impact your cause. 

Your annual impact report is where you turn your data into a story your community and supporters can understand (and enjoy). It can help you bring attention to and simplify complex data. When used correctly, your annual report can address significant data gaps in your community that you strive to close. 

These stories are then shared with your community through emails, infographics, quotes, social media, and public features. Each story told is another opportunity to create awareness and build support for your organization’s mission.

Ready to make a difference with your data? Let’s work together to tell your story and make a bigger impact on your community.

Published
April 22, 2024

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