The Ultimate Nonprofit Fundraising Tracker Guide

Reviewed by:


November 4, 2023

Last Updated:

November 6, 2023

It can sometimes be difficult to visualize your fundraising campaign’s progress, which is where fundraising trackers come in.

A fundraising tracker can help your nonprofit inspire giving, maintain donor trust, and achieve its fundraising goals. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this online fundraising tool, including why you need one and how you can create your own.

By the end, you’ll be ready to launch your own fundraising tracker for your next campaign. Let’s dig in!

What Is a Fundraising Tracker?

A fundraiser tracker is a tool to help you monitor and visually see your fundraising campaign’s progress.

Fundraising trackers are typically illustrated as thermometers (pictured below), but they can really be anything that helps you visually and strategically track the funds you have raised.

A fundraising tracker can be physical, digital, or even a combination of both! When they’re digital, they update in real-time, providing a sense of accomplishment to see how you’re moving the needle in your nonprofit’s fundraising activities.

These trackers are a great way to monitor your campaign’s progress, inspire people to give, and direct your fundraising efforts strategically.

In the following section, we will go into more detail explaining why tracking your fundraising is so critical to your nonprofit’s success.

Why Is Tracking Your Fundraising Important?

Fundraising trackers will help you meet your fundraising goals!

  • First, fundraising trackers require you to actually set a goal. Too often, nonprofits fundraise without a clear idea for what they hope to accomplish—making it difficult to fundraise effectively.
  • Secondly, a fundraising tracker represents your progress visually which can help inspire people to get involved. Your audience can follow along with you as you inch closer to your goal and participate to help get you there. When you’re close, it may even inspire people to rally and donate to reach your goal.
  • Finally, a fundraising tracker can help through increased donor visibility. You can share your fundraising thermometer on your website, social media pages, in direct mailings, and more.

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Drive Donor Engagement With A Fundraising Thermometer

While there are many different ways that you can illustrate your fundraising progress, one of the most common ways to do so is through a fundraising thermometer.

Fundraising thermometers are a simple but powerful tool that can help your nonprofit track its progress and raise more money.

There are many benefits to using a fundraising tracker, like a thermometer, to track your fundraising progress. Here are the top three:

  • It Makes it Feel Real: Goals, especially if they are lofty, can feel like they are a pie in the sky, but when you have a fundraising tracker, they feel real. For your donors, they can participate in filling the thermometer up, and they can see the progress in real time. With each gift, you’re all getting closer—and that’s a great feeling! The work you’re doing and the dollars your donors are giving truly make a difference.
  • It is Inspirational: A fundraising tracker can be inspirational both for your employees and your donors. For your employees, it helps keep them motivated. They see how much left they have to raise and feel good when they see it fill more each day. For your donors, they want to be part of the campaign and nudge you closer to your goal. Keep in mind that an empty thermometer may feel daunting, so consider soft launching your campaign to have some funds in it when you start.
  • It Helps You Celebrate: Once you hit your goal, you have something to celebrate! You can easily share it with your donors as a thank you or use it as motivation to keep going throughout the duration of the campaign. The more you can see your progress and what you’re working toward, the better. 

The Best Time(s) To Use A Fundraising Thermometer

Because fundraising thermometers are versatile, you can use them in many different scenarios. Anytime you are raising funds with a specific goal in mind, they can be implemented, including:

If you want to track your fundraising progress visually, a tracker can help you do it, no matter what the scenario is. You just have to decide if you want your tracker to be physical, digital, or a combination of both.

Example Of Successful Fundraising Thermometer

You can always go with the traditional fundraising thermometer. It’s a classic for a reason, and as long as the goal is clearly stated and the amount you’ve currently raised is visible, you can’t really go wrong with that approach.

However, you can also go with any image you want!

Your tracker can be themed to your organization, cause, or event, and it will function the same way. For example, the Parkinson’s Moving Day 5k walk has a figure walking as their fundraising thermometer. With each donation, the person is filled.

Parkinson’s Moving Day

This can be visually more engaging and a more fun, whimsical take on a traditional fundraising thermometer—but it’s not a must-have. As long as you’re tracking and sharing how much you raise, it’s a personal preference how it’s illustrated.

Wrapping Up: The Next Steps

By now, you should be ready to create your own fundraising tracker for your next campaign! You should understand what a fundraising tracker is, why it’s important, and how to go about setting one up.

Now, it’s up to you to get out there and make it happen! Your donors and partners will appreciate the transparency and hopefully will be inspired to donate to help you reach your goal. For more tips on raising funds for your organization, check out this list of four effective fundraising methods.

Happy fundraising!

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