10 Key HR Metrics for Nonprofits

10 Key HR Metrics for Non-profits
Written by - 20 Nov 2018 Category: Non-profit Challenges

HR Metrics are numbers that allow organisations to measure the effectiveness of people management practices and improve competitiveness as an employer. They are also known as scorecards, benchmarks, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

HR Metrics are numbers that allow organisations to measure the effectiveness of people management practices and improve competitiveness as an employer. They are also known as scorecards, benchmarks, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). HR Metrics are of particular importance to non-profits, who rely on human capital to drive their mission. Many non-profit are unaware of this need and hence we will demystify it for you.


How Will HR Metrics Help Me?

Metrics act as a goal.

If you are suffering from high attrition, you may want to keep the goal of ‘less than 10% turnover in the next 12 months’. Such a goal will force you to put in place measures to reduce attrition. Without an objective goal, even a well-crafted attrition reduction strategy will be difficult to measure.

Metrics help in managerial decisions.

If you observe that after rolling out your ‘Each One Teach One’ programme six months ago, the number of lessons delivered has increased 30%, it means that the programme has been a growth driver and must continue. Overlooking such metrics may result in haphazard decision making regarding the fate of the programme.

Metrics are a great team-engagement tool.

When organisational goals are numerically defined and known to the team, everyone understands how their work contributes to the overall objective. If your goal is to decrease first-year resignation rate by 10%, older employees are more likely to work closely with newer employees to mentor them and to resolve their concerns which may otherwise result in resignations.


Which HR Metrics Should I Track?

It is challenging to pick the exact set of metrics for any organisation. You should pick metrics that measure your goals or provide you with some insights about matters otherwise unknown. Metrics also depend on your mission. Metrics for a natural history museum’s subjective mission “to advance human understanding of science” are poles apart from a hospital’s objective mission “to provide medical care to patients suffering from dementia”. That being said, here are the top 10 HR metrics that will make sense to non-profits, when it comes to assessing people management practices.

Cost Per Hire

What does it cost you to hire one employee/one volunteer? The cost can be in terms of money, time, or efforts. You may want to compare the costs of different time periods or hiring practices.

Employee Retention Rate

Out of 100 employees hired, how many stay with me at the end of, say, one year? You may want to compare metrics with different time frames to know how your employees behave as they spend more time in your non-profit.  This is a key data point that can also be combined with other metrics, e.g. Employee Net Promoter Score, to gain advanced insights.

Average Tenure of Volunteers

Similar to the above metric, it is important to know how long a particular volunteer stays with you. Most non-profits have a significant number of volunteers, and it is useful to know how much productivity can be expected from an average volunteer.

The Ratio of Volunteers and Employees

How many volunteers do I have for 100 employees? Depending on the nature of your work, you may want to target a particular ratio. For example, for a hospital, which requires an employee base with special expertise, a low Volunteer/Employee ratio can be sufficient. In contrast, for a non-profit with a mission of environmental conservation, a high Volunteer/Employee ratio is of critical importance.

Demographics of Employees/Volunteers

It is critical to know the age, gender, education qualification, salary etc data for all your team. Non-profits must try to find trends in this data. For example, if you realise that 60% of your volunteers are females in the age group of 18-22, you know whom to target while growing your volunteer base.

Employee Satisfaction Rate/Employee Net Promoter Score

How likely are my employees to recommend me as an employer to their family and friends? This may be tricky data to capture, but frequent employee interaction and one-on-one meetings with managers can help non-profits come up with a reasonable estimate of this metric.

Absenteeism Rate

How many of my employees are absent on an average on any given day? Who are the employees with top 10% of leaves? This data can help non-profits identify the problem of regular absenteeism and deal with it in time.

NOTE: CiviHR’s Reports functionality allows non-profits to derive this insight from leave data. You may read more here or sign up here for a trial.

Training Effectiveness Rate

How many of my employees underwent training and are now competent in new areas? This metric is of much use during the appraisal process - to assess employee growth as well as training quality.

Percent of Performance Goals Met

Another key metric in the appraisal process is: how many of my employees met their performance targets identified at the start of the year/quarters? This data needs to be carefully tracked, but when available, it drastically simplifies the appraisal process.

Beneficiary Per Employee

This is a mission-driven metric. How many beneficiaries do I have for one employee? There may not be a direct relationship between the number of employees and beneficiaries, but over a period of time, this metric will allow you to see whether your growing team size is enabling you to contribute to more beneficiaries. This information can optimise your recruitment policies, as well as operations.


How Do I Get Started?

After identifying metrics that are suitable for your non-profit, it is now time to track them, with a start and end date in mind. It may take a bit of planning to implement data tracking as a regular practice, but the rewards are promising. So all the best with your first step in the direction of an optimally run non-profit team!


- - - - - - - - -

This post is the next in the series of addressing specific challenges non-profits face, and builds on top of earlier posts such as acquiring the right talent, employee retention strategies., and workplace culture.

- - - - - - - - -

CiviHR is a philanthropic project funded by a charitable foundation, on a mission to create a best-in-class people management solution for organisations that deliver social good. You may read more here or sign up here for a trial.

About CiviHR

CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.


CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.