Looking at the performance of your nonprofit, there are quite a lot of numbers and data you could collect and track. It’s easy to get lost. Besides, who has time to look at everything? Here are 5 key numbers to know about your nonprofit. Insight in these numbers will help you keep doing great work with your great team without panic. Or if one of these numbers causes a panic, you’ll know what to address to stabilise the situation and keep going. 

Hours spent

I guess timesheets are the least favourite topic of all time. I love them, though. Because they can deliver super valuable information about how your team is doing. 

  • What does your team spend most time on? (When?)
  • What does their workload look like? 
  • Do you have sufficient people to work all the hours needed for the work (as per your budget)? 

OK, so what if I have timesheets?

If you talk with your team about their timesheets you may spot a difference between perceived workload and the workload you think they have. If someone feels they spend most of their time on things they don’t like doing (like admin), they’re likely to feel overloaded. The same is true if they feel they don’t have enough time to do their work properly. Looking at timesheets together you can start a conversation about priorities, job happiness and workload that will help you take good care of your team. And that’s key because after all, your team is your key asset for the work your nonprofit does.

Reserves & Funds (Equity)

Knowing how much money you have been able to save up helps you understand to what extent you can handle emergencies and setbacks. If you know you don’t have reserves, you can start planning for creating reserves. Restricted funds leftover from prior years can be used to cover costs of activities even if you don’t get income for them this year. (If the activities are aligned with the conditions of the restricted funds).



Success rates

If you know how much income your campaigns usually generate, you can assess what’s your best next step. Does it make sense for you to scale your campaigns or should you cancel your campaigns, if you look at the balance between cost and income generated?

It’s also useful to know how you’re doing with your project proposals. Do you get a lot of rejections? Do you know why? Are you successful with specific donors? Are your donors supporting you more than once? Knowing this will help you focus the best energy on calls fro proposals with the best chance for success. 


It’s good to know how many proposals you’ve submitted and how many campaigns you’ve already planned out. If you combine this information with insights into your success rate and the average campaign income, you’ll know when to start panicking.

Cash flow

You can avoid payment challenges if you manage your cash flow. In fact, if you know how much money you have in the bank and how much you expect to pay out every month in the next 6 months this can give you a lot of peace of mind. Or a challenge to address!

General operational costs

Knowing how much money you need to keep your office and basic operations going for a year is crucial. It will help you be realistic in your budgeting and cost presentations. 


The 6 key numbers I shared are mostly to do with money and income. However, none of that makes sense if you cannot deliver great results for the community or the cause you serve. Therefore, the final number I recommend you look at is a number that reflects the impact you create and the satisfaction of your community with that. This can be a number from your monitoring framework. Alternatively, it can also be a story about the change you helped bring about in the life of one person only. Always make sure you  have such a story ready to tell – whether to yourself or your team to keep going or to your potential donor to motivate them to work with you!

How I can help

If you would like simple steps to set up and organise your finance & admin foundations guidance by me, you can get a bundle of six simple and short workshops here: https://www.changingtides.eu/financeandadminbundle

If the bundle is too much for you at this moment, feel free to pick one or more of the workshops individually:

Please note, the bundle is cheaper than buying all six workshops separately: https://www.changingtides.eu/financeandadminbundle

If you want to learn more about how you can design your own monitoring framework and budget in the best, practical way, join my course Project Design for nonprofits. You can learn at your own pace and ask me anything in our live sessions and in our members only community. Find out more and enroll via this link: https://www.changingtides.eu/projectdesign

Want to take about dilemmas you face as a manager, join the Nonprofit Management Confidence Club.

Watch my video Money mindset in nonprofits 7 key numbers to know about your nonprofit to change panic for planning. You can also check out my YouTube channel here, and find a collection of videos on HR issues, fundraising, annual reporting, donations and other nonprofit operations topics.

Want to know more and ask questions?

If you want to discuss this more – jump into my nonprofit support community and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free nonprofit support community

You can join my free nonprofit support community on the Heartbeat platform here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc. You can visit the community via a browser or via an app. Here is the link to download the Heartbeat chat app in the Google Play store.

Want to support me with a cup of coffee?

The seaside always inspires me and helps me think of articles, videos, workshops and courses I can create for you. If you want to support me without getting a paid workshop, course or review – you can donate me a coffee and speed up my thinking process! You can support me here: https://ko-fi.com/suzannebakker