The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Dashboards: Types, Use Cases, Top Metrics, Best Practices, and Examples

Author's avatar Analytics Jun 27, 2023 16 minutes read

Table of contents

    Peter Caputa

    Enjoy reading this blog post written by our experts or partners.

    If you want to see what Databox can do for you, click here.

    With 75% of donors looking for information about a nonprofit’s impact and activity before making a donation, having transparent data to show is more important than ever for nonprofit organizations.

    And while you might already have some data collected in the form of spreadsheets or organized via different screenshots, ask yourself – will donors and shareholders understand these numbers?

    If the answer is no, then it’s time you make the upgrade to nonprofit dashboards.

    A nonprofit dashboard is a visual tool that provides an at-a-glance view of your organization’s most important KPIs. You can instantly check finances, fundraising efforts, program impact, and other areas relevant to your mission.

    Furthermore, you can tell a visual story with your data that will help donors and stakeholders quickly grasp how the organization is performing and help them make decisions based on those latest insights.

    In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about nonprofit dashboards and get free templates and examples that you can steal and customize to make your first dashboard in a matter of minutes.

    Let’s dive in.


    What Are KPIs for Nonprofits?

    Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the measurements used to evaluate whether an organization is seeing progress toward achieving its goals.

    And just like any other business, nonprofits also need to monitor performance KPIs to ensure they’re on the right track and are meeting their objectives.

    However, in the nonprofit sector, the KPIs used to measure success usually differ from those used in for-profit businesses.

    Depending on their size, mission, and objectives, nonprofit organizations should prioritize different KPIs.

    This includes program outcome KPIs, fundraising KPIs, financial KPIs, stakeholder engagement, and more. We’ll go into more detail on these in a second. 

    Just remember – when compiling a list of primary KPIs you’ll track, don’t forget to consider the audience. Different stakeholders tend to have different information needs, and you don’t want one segment to feel left out.

    What Is a Nonprofit KPI Dashboard?

    A nonprofit KPI dashboard is a visual tool that displays the organization’s most important metrics in a clear and concise manner. It allows the leaders and stakeholders to track progress toward goals, identify trends and patterns, and make data-driven decisions.

    You can customize the dashboard accordingly to display the specific metrics that are most relevant to your nonprofit’s goals and activities.

    Nonprofit KPI dashboards come in a variety of formats – from simple spreadsheets to sophisticated dashboards.

    Some nonprofits may choose to create their own dashboards using tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, while others invest in specialized software like Databox that offers advanced visualization and analysis features.

    In general, the dashboard should be easy to read and understand, and it should provide real-time updates on key metrics.

    Also, make sure it’s accessible to all stakeholders, including staff, board members, and donors.

    In terms of precise benefits, implementing a KPI dashboard can help a nonprofit to:

    • Monitor progress towards its goals and objectives
    • Identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth
    • Track fundraising efforts
    • Make the organization’s mission and activity more understandable to potential donors
    • Align staff and board members around common goals
    • Make data-driven decisions based on real-time information
    • Improve transparency and accountability to stakeholders

    Overall, it’s a powerful tool for nonprofits looking to improve their performance and increase their impact, and it can often be the driving factor in whether the organization will acquire new donations.

    How Do Nonprofits Measure Success?

    In the nonprofit sector, measuring success can be a lot more complex than with for-profit businesses, as the focus is often on achieving a social or environmental impact rather than financial gain.

    That said, there are several KPIs that nonprofits can track to understand the bigger picture and measure their efficiency:

    • Program outcomes: One way nonprofits can measure their success is by evaluating the impact of their programs on the community they serve. This can include tracking changes in behavior, knowledge, or health outcomes among program participants. For example, a nonprofit focused on education might measure success by tracking changes in test scores or graduation rates among students who participate in their programs.
    • Financial sustainability: Nonprofits need to be financially sustainable to continue delivering their programs over the long term. Measuring financial sustainability can involve tracking revenue and expenses, analyzing funding sources, and ensuring that the organization has adequate reserves to weather potential financial challenges.
    • Stakeholder engagement: Nonprofits depend on the support of stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries, to achieve their mission. Measuring stakeholder engagement can involve tracking donor retention rates, volunteer satisfaction, and beneficiary feedback, as well as evaluating the effectiveness of the organization’s communication and outreach efforts.
    • Impact on community: Another way to measure success is by evaluating their impact on the community the nonprofit serves. This can involve tracking changes in community indicators such as crime rates, poverty rates, or environmental quality, and assessing the nonprofit’s role in contributing to those changes.
    • Achieving objectives: It’s important for nonprofits to set objectives that guide their work. Achieving these objectives can involve tracking progress towards specific outcomes, such as increasing access to healthcare, reducing homelessness, or promoting environmental conservation.

    Ultimately, measuring success in the nonprofit sector requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, as well as a deep understanding of the organization’s mission and activities.

    By using a variety of metrics and evaluation methods, nonprofits can ensure that they are making progress toward their mission and achieving a positive impact in their communities.

    Related: How to Write an Executive Summary for a Report: Step By Step Guide with Examples

    How to Build Great Nonprofit Dashboards?

    In terms of checkpoints you need to cross when building your nonprofit dashboard, here are some of the general guidelines you can follow:

    • Define your goals: Before you start building your dashboard, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Put your organization’s mission and goals on a piece of paper, and make sure your overall strategic plan aligns with them.
    • Choose the right metrics: Once you have defined goals, you need to select the metrics that will help you measure progress towards them. Choose metrics that are relevant, measurable, and in line with the objectives. Avoid selecting too many metrics, it can make the dashboard cluttered and difficult to read.
    • Organize your data: Next up is to organize your data in a way that’s easy to understand and analyze. Group similar metrics together and use visuals such as charts, graphs, and tables to help users quickly understand the data.
    • Choose the right format: There are many different types of dashboards, from simple spreadsheets to sophisticated software platforms. Go with the format that’s appropriate for your organization’s needs and resources.
    • Update regularly: To ensure your dashboard is providing accurate and up-to-date information, it is important to update it regularly and notify important stakeholders in a timely manner. Choose a schedule that works for your organization, whether that means updating it weekly, monthly, or quarterly. In case you select a dashboard software to report on the performance of your nonprofit, you don’t need to update your data as it will sync automatically with your dashboards. You can also set alerts, scheduled snapshots and scorecards that will ensure your stakeholders stay in the loop at all times.
    • Make it accessible: Make sure that you make your dashboard available to all stakeholders, including staff, board members, and donors.

    Now, when it comes to specific elements, each nonprofit has its own way of doing things that’s based on its mission and objectives.

    But here are some of the elements that you should generally include:

    • Target audience data: Whether you include it directly in the dashboard or present it separately to the shareholders, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who the nonprofit’s target audience is. This could include demographic data, psychographic data, or other relevant information.
    • Graphs and charts: Visual representations of data are always a powerful way to communicate information effectively. Graphs and charts can help highlight trends, patterns, and outliers that may be difficult to discern from raw data alone.
    • Data-driven story: A nonprofit dashboard should tell a clear and compelling story based on the data presented. This could include identifying successes and challenges, highlighting key trends, and providing insights into what the data means for the organization’s future.
    • Findings and recommendations: Based on the data presented, the nonprofit dashboard should provide recommendations for how the organization can improve its programs to better meet the needs of its target audience. This could include suggestions for new initiatives, changes to existing programs, or adjustments to fundraising strategies.
    • Clear and consistent labels: To ensure that the data is easily understood, it’s important to use clear and consistent labels throughout the dashboard. This could include using the same terminology for similar metrics, providing definitions for technical terms, and avoiding jargon or acronyms that may be unfamiliar to readers.
    • Performance benchmarks: To provide context for the presented data, it can be helpful to include benchmarks that allow the organization to compare its progress against industry standards or historical performances.

    Nonprofit Dashboard Examples

    Depending on what KPI and data you want to track, you’ll need different types of nonprofit dashboards.

    Some nonprofits make the mistake of compiling all of their KPIs in one dashboard, thinking that multiple dashboards will cause confusion, but it only ends up being the reverse.

    It’s much better to organize your key KPIs with a personalized dashboard for each one and simply pull them up any time you need to get on track with what’s going on in a specific area.

    Below, you’ll see some nonprofit dashboard examples you can build using our free templates.

    Just remember that each of these dashboards can be customized to your organization’s specific requirements – you pick the data sources, visualization types, metrics, and other elements.

    And while they’re amazingly easy to create, we get that some of you simply don’t have the time. In that case, you can use our free dashboard setup service and have someone from our team build it for you.

    Let’s get into it.

    Nonprofit Financial Dashboard

    When it comes to your organization’s finances, you can’t rely only on the data from your balance sheets or income statements.

    You need a clear overview of your most important financial data, compiled in one place to tell a full visual story.

    And this is exactly what a Nonprofit Financial Dashboard can bring to the table. Use it to get full insight into all of your most important financial metrics, including bank accounts, sales, expenses, cash flow, and more.

    Nonprofit Financial Dashboard

    This example features data from Quickbooks, but you can connect any data source you want and find out things like:

    • How much income has the organization generated in the last month
    • How to measure the organization’s financial health
    • Overview of all expenses and payments incurred from your bank and credit card accounts
    • Insight into open and unpaid invoices

    And a lot more.

    Looking for something similar? Browse more financial dashboard examples.

    Marketing Performance Dashboard

    Which channels are generating the most traffic to your website? How are your lead generation campaigns performing? What’s the ROI on your email marketing efforts?

    You can get answers to all this and more with the Marketing Performance Dashboard.

    Marketing Performance Dashboard

    Depending on which marketing channel you want to focus on, you can simply connect the data source and drag-and-drop your most important metrics in a matter of seconds.

    Gain insight into everything you need to fine-tune your marketing strategies, see performance data in one glance, and track real-time changes as they occur.

    Browse through 200+ marketing dashboards and pick the channel you’re most interested in monitoring.

    Social Media Dashboard

    Use the Social Media Dashboard to track and manage your activity and performance on all of your nonprofit’s most important channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram Business, Twitter, or any other.

    You’ll get immediate insight into:

    • Total number of company page followers across different channels
    • What’s the best time to post on social media to get the most engagement
    • How many impressions your posts are getting
    • How fast are your pages growing
    • Which social channels is your target audience engaging with the most

    And a lot more.

    Social Media Dashboard

    You can include key social media metrics such as influence score, audience growth rate, engagement rate, number of impressions, follower demographics, progress toward campaign goals, and more.

    Organize them as you see fit and turn the data into stunning charts and graphs for a full visual performance story.

    Check out 30+ social media dashboard examples for your nonprofit and pick the channel you’re most active on.

    Annual Report Dashboard

    Want a full visual data-based story on everything that’s happening in your organization that will impress your shareholders?

    The Annual Report Dashboard helps you build this compelling narrative, highlight key achievements of each department, and present your KPIs in an understandable manner.

    Annual Report Dashboard

    It’s important to note that the narrative of your annual report dashboard should extend beyond numbers and metrics.

    The most effective reports incorporate stories from the field that demonstrate the impact of the organization’s work on the communities it serves. These stories help to humanize the organization and make its work relatable to stakeholders, donors, and board members. 

    Website Analytics Dashboard

    For a complete overview of what’s going on with your nonprofit’s website and to get a granular understanding of your web analytics data, you can use the Website Analytics Dashboard.

    Traffic sources, funnel conversion rate, top-visited pages, monthly traffic breakdown, total number of organic visitors, bounce rate, unique page views… these are just some of the metrics you can pull up and keep an eye on.

    Website Analytics Dashboard

    Connect your data source, drag-and-drop the metrics, visualize them, and get the full picture behind your website performance in just a few minutes.

    There are 100+ more integrations aside from HubSpot, you can browse through our web analytics dashboard gallery and download any template you want for free.

    Management Dashboard

    Creating dashboards that showcase the organization’s performance to external shareholders is a must – but what about C-level staff members and managers?

    Managers may need a bit more granular data compared to shareholders, so it’s always a good idea to build management dashboards that will provide them with key real-time insights that are just a few clicks away.

    Some of the key metrics and KPIs you can include here are donor engagement, fundraising performance, financial health, volunteer management, social media and website analytics, and similar organization-wide insights.

    Project Management Dashboard

    A Project Management Dashboard provides an overview of the current status, insights, and various data points of all your key projects.

    This is especially important if your nonprofit organization tends to juggle several larger projects at the same time.

    You can create a separate dashboard for each one, track the most important data, and deliver performance insights to the right people and team.

    Project Management Dashboard

    Some of the key metrics you can include are hours tracked, total billable hours, tasks overdue, tasks completed, project budget, and more.

    Browse through our free project management dashboard templates and download the ones best suited for your specific projects for free.

    Staff Performance Dashboard

    Managers running large teams that want to stay on top of staff accountability and performance can use a Staff Performance Dashboard to get an instant view of what’s going on.

    It’s a good idea for nonprofits to include a dashboard that displays information about each team member’s progress on specific tasks, tracks the productivity of each team member, and holds them accountable for their work.

    Additionally, staff performance dashboards can be used to identify areas where certain team members may need additional support or training.

    Staff Performance Dashboard

    With this Team Drilldown Dashboard example, you can get an idea of how you can structure and customize your own staff performance dashboard.

    Depending on what part of your staff’s performance you want to focus on, you can include metrics such as task breakdown by person, quality of work, attendance and punctuality, tasks completed, etc.

    Event Dashboard

    Have a big fundraising event coming up and want a detailed overview of how it performs?

    The Even Dashboard helps you analyze the event’s performance and provides valuable insights that can inform future planning efforts.

    Event Dashboard

    You can use it to stay on top of all key metrics like attendance, total tickets sold, sales by ticket type, auction items, and more.

    We have a bunch of other event dashboard examples you can use to track the performance of your nonprofit’s biggest events and get detailed insights into how everything turned out.


    Dashboard Reporting Tool for Nonprofits

    Overall, nonprofit dashboards can go a long way in convincing potential donors to support your mission and provide board members with a clear picture of how things are progressing in each part of the organization.

    Now, while you can technically create a nonprofit dashboard manually… why go through the trouble?

    Spending days compiling data, long nights cleaning it up, analyzing what will go into the dashboard… all of this takes a toll on both your schedule and your nerves.

    With Databox, stressful days turn into enjoyable minutes.

    You can have detailed, clear, and compelling nonprofit dashboards ready in just a few steps:

    • Connect your data source (100+ integrations)
    • Drag-and-drop the metrics you want to focus on
    • Turn the numbers into stunning visuals in a few mouse clicks

    We have 400+ dashboard templates in our gallery that you can download and start customizing immediately, but you can also design a custom dashboard from scratch.

    Track your nonprofit’s performance and report results anywhere and anytime. Staying on top of metrics and gaining groundbreaking insights has never been easier.

    Oh, and did we mention that our team can build a free dashboard for you?

    Even though it can take literally minutes to build it, we understand that sometimes even a few minutes can derail your entire schedule.

    In that case, you can contact our team, explain what you want to track in your dashboard, and we’ll have it ready in less than 24 hours.

    Try our free dashboard setup now and watch the expression of your shareholders when you present them with a stunning Databox dashboard.

    Author's avatar
    Article by
    Filip Stojanovic

    Filip Stojanovic is a content writer who studies Business and Political Sciences. Also, I am a huge tennis enthusiast. Although my dream is to win a Grand Slam, working as a content writer is also interesting.

    More from this author

    Get practical strategies that drive consistent growth

    Read some