Core Number Calculator

Your Core Number is an expression of what it costs your nonprofit to deliver a unit of service.

Knowing and using your Core Number can make fundraising easier because you can quickly help prospects understand exactly how their donation will make a difference. (People love knowing that!)

Start by figuring out what your smallest unit of service is.

Here are some examples:

Type of Nonprofit Example Unit of Service
Animal shelter One day/night of care for one animal
Homeless shelter One bed for one night for one person
Food pantry One meal for one person
Free medical clinic One visit with one doctor for one patient
Theatre/Performing arts One performance for one audience member
Tutoring program One hour of tutoring for one student

Identifying your unit of service isn’t the easiest thing especially if your nonprofit has a variety of programs. Just keep looking for what they have in common – there has to be something they all provide like an hour of support or experience in your programs.

To calculate your Core Number, simply divide the total expenses for a year by the total units of service for that same year. Be sure to include ALL costs – not just direct costs.

Now, you can crunch the numbers yourself or use this handy Core Number Calculator to do the work for you.

If your Core Number is $20 or less, that’s great! It’ll be a fabulous tool for fundraising.

If not, see if there’s a smaller unit of service you can use.

Want more insight into what a Core Number is? Sign up below for our free Core Number video training. In this 8-minute video, I’ll walk you through some examples of Core Numbers and how to calculate yours, plus how to use your Core Number in fundraising.