• Market

    • IN GENERAL

      Where buyers and sellers of goods or services carry out transactions, sometimes through an intermediary. Also, the whole group of potential buyers for a good or service.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Financial Times Lexicon
    Commentary

    Markets can be physical or virtual places where buyers and sellers meet.

  • Market-rate investment

    • IN FINANCE

      No clear, authoritative definition was found. See commentary.

    Commentary

    The term is used to differentiate an investment that expects to receive an average or typical financial rate of return for a given level of risk (i.e., a market rate return) from an investment that expects to receive a below average financial return but generate positive social and / or environmental impacts.

  • Materiality

    • IN GENERAL

      The quality of being relevant or significant.

    • IN ACCOUNTING

      Magnitude of an omission or misstatements of accounting information that, in the light of surrounding circumstances, makes it probable that the judgment of a reasonable person relying on the information would change or be influenced.

    Commentary

    As noted in the Corporate Reporting Dialogue’s Statement of Common Principles of Materiality, “materiality is both a general and legal concept” that is “pervasive throughout the business, financial, legal and regulatory communities of the world.” There is agreement on the generic definition of “materiality”, but there are many ways of deciding what is material and measures of materiality as well as tests to assess what counts as material for reporting purposes. All definitions tend to be conceptually aligned in that material information is any information which is capable of making a difference to the evaluation and analysis at hand. However a key distinction between major approaches to reporting about environmental and social performance is whether materiality is defined solely as what would be considered relevant to a financial investor/shareholder, or whether materiality is defined by all stakeholders who are affected in a significant way by the entity’s activities. Assessing what is material is a professional judgment. The Impact Management project defines material effects as “those that relate to important positive or negative outcomes ‘WHAT’, are significant ‘HOW MUCH’ and occur for groups of people and/or the planet who are not already well-served in relation to the outcome ‘WHO’.”

  • Measure (Noun)

    • IN GENERAL

      A number or quantity that records a directly observable value or performance. All measures have a unit attached to them: inch, centimeter, dollar, liter, etc. In contrast, an indicator is an indirect measure or a predictor (such as a leading Indicator) of performance.

    • IN EVALUATING

      Data expressed quantitatively to characterize a particular phenomenon; numbers assigned to objects or events according to rules.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: BusinessDictionary.com (2) Evaluation: Carol H. Weiss, Evaluation, 2nd Edition, 1972
    Commentary

    Measures can be direct or indirect.

  • Measure (Verb)

    • IN GENERAL

      Assess the importance, effect, or value of (something).

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries
  • Merit(s)

    • IN GENERAL

      a) The quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward. b) A good feature or point. c) Merits: The intrinsic rights and wrongs of a case, outside of any other considerations.

    • IN EVALUATING

      The intrinsic value of the evaluands, as opposed to extrinsic or system-related value/worth. For example, the merit of researchers lies in their skill and originality, whereas their worth (to the institution that employs them) might include the income they generate through grants, fame, or bequests, attracting other good faculty and students.

    Commentary

    In evaluation, “merit” refers to the intrinsic characteristics of that which is evaluated relative to legitimate standards or benchmarks. In business, “merit” is often associated with merit pay or merit bonus which bases an employee’s remuneration on performance according to specific criteria. As a legal term. “merits” refer to the inherent rights and wrongs of a case rather than procedural or other factors.

  • Meta-evaluation

    • IN EVALUATING

      The term is used for evaluations designed to aggregate findings from a series of evaluations. It can also be used to denote the evaluation of an evaluation to judge its quality and/or assess the performance of the evaluators.

  • Metric(s)

    • IN BUSINESS

      Standards of measurement by which efficiency, performance, progress, or quality of a plan, process, or product can be assessed.

    • IN FINANCE

      Parameters or measures of quantitative assessment used for measurement, comparison or to track performance or production. Analysts use metrics to compare the performance of different companies, despite the many variations between firms.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com (2) Finance / impact investing: Investopedia
  • Microfinance

    • IN FINANCE

      A type of banking service that is provided to unemployed or low-income individuals, or groups who otherwise have no other access to financial services. Ultimately, the goal of microfinance is to give low-income people an opportunity to become self-sufficient by providing a way to save money, borrow money and get insurance.

    • IN FINANCE

      Financial services targeting low-and-moderate income businesses or households that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. Microfinance services include credit, savings, insurance and remittances.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Investopedia (2) Finance / impact investing: TriLinc Global Impact Investing Glossary
  • Mid-term evaluation

    • IN EVALUATION

      Evaluation performed towards the midpoint of program or project implementation.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: USAID Glossary of Evaluation Terms
  • Milestone

    • IN GENERAL

      A significant stage or event in the development of something.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

    • IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

      The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN is also working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

    Practice & Source: (1) Sustainable development: Millennium Development Goals, United Nations
    Commentary

    The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Monetize

    • IN FINANCE

      To monetize is to convert an asset or any object into money or legal tender. The term “monetize” has different meanings depending on the context. Governments monetize debt to keep interest rates on borrowed money low and to avoid financial crisis, while businesses monetize products and services to generate profit.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Investopedia
    Commentary

    As well as being used to describe the process of converting an object into money or legal tender, “monetize” is also used to ascribing something that is valued (i.e., something that people like, such as a sense of well-being or happiness) a monetary value, even though it is not actually converted into money. This is often done to give a relative sense of importance in a business context to something of social value.

  • Monitoring

    • IN EVALUATING

      The performance and analysis of routine measurements to detect changes in status. Monitoring is used to inform managers about the progress of an ongoing intervention or program, and to detect problems that may be able to be addressed through corrective actions.

    • IN EVALUATING

      A continuing function that uses systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide management and the main stakeholders of an ongoing development intervention with indications of the extent of progress and achievement of objectives and progress in the use of allocated funds.

    Commentary

    Evaluators distinguish monitoring–periodic tracking to make sure an intervention is running as intended–from evaluation–an assessment of the difference the intervention makes.

  • Motivation(s)

    • IN GENERAL

      A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries