• Capability(ies)

    • in general

      The power or ability to do something.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries
  • Capacity building (Noun)

    • in general

      Planned development of (or increase in) knowledge, output rate, management, skills, and other capabilities of an organization through acquisition, incentives, technology, and/or training.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: BusinessDictionary.com
  • Case control

    • in Evaluating

      A type of study design that is used to identify factors that may contribute to a medical condition by comparing a group of patients who already have the condition with those who do not, and looking back to see if the two groups differ in terms of characteristics or behaviors.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation:
    COMMENTARY

    A case control study is an observational study in where subjects (“cases”) who have a particular condition, often a disease, are compared with others (“controls”) who do not but are otherwise similar. In other words, subjects are not randomly allocated to intervention and control groups. This type of study is relatively inexpensive and well-suited to the study of medical conditions.

  • Catalytic First Lost Capital

    • in finance

      Catalytic first-loss capital refers to socially- and environmentally-driven credit enhancement provided by an investor or grant-maker who agrees to bear first losses in an investment in order to catalyze the participation of co-investors that otherwise would not have entered the deal. Catalytic first-loss capital has gained recent prominence in impact investing dialogue as more investors look to enter the market.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Issue Brief: Catalytic First-Loss Capital, Global Impact Investing Network
  • Causality

    • in Evaluating

      The relationship between cause and effect.

    • in Evaluating

      The claim that a program is responsible for the observed effects.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: Oxford Living Dictionaries (2) Evaluation: Carol H. Weiss, Evaluation, 2nd Edition, 1972
    COMMENTARY

    Confusion and tension can arise not so much from the definition of “causality” but from disagreements on what are appropriate methods and criteria for establishing cause and effect relationships. We infer causality from what we see. Evaluation has tools and approaches to help people make valid inferences, though differences in perspectives and bias can lead to different people inferring different things from the same observations and information.

  • Charity

    • in general

      An organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.

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

    Common usage in the UK to denote organizations with a social purpose and a certain tax status. In the US, “charity” more commonly denotes making financial or volunteer donations to an organization, rather than to nonprofit organizations themselves.

  • Clean technology

    • in sustainable development

      See definition for “Green tech”

    Practice & Source: (1) Sustainable development:
    COMMENTARY

    Long form for “cleantech.”

  • Cleantech

    • in finance

      See “Green tech.”

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing:
    COMMENTARY

    Short form for “clean technology.” Also written “clean tech” or “clean-tech.”

  • Client centered

    • See “client centric.”

  • Client centric

    • in business

      A specific approach to doing business that focuses on the customer. Client centric businesses ensure that the customer is at the center of a business’s philosophy, operations or ideas. These businesses believe that their clients are the only reason that they exist and use every means at their disposal to keep the client happy and satisfied.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: Investopedia
    COMMENTARY

    Outside of monopolies, all businesses need to be client-centric to some degree to survive. Taking a client centric approach refers to the degree a business focusses on clients and customers in how it operates. The term is used in the charity sector to emphasize a focus on the beneficiaries of services rather than the funders of the organization.

  • Client(s)

    • in business

      Customer of a professional service provider

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com
  • Collateral (Noun)

    • in finance

      Something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default.

    • in business

      Printed or electronic information used to help encourage people to buy a product, for example information sheets, websites, etc.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Financial Times Lexicon (2) Business/CSR: Cambridge Dictionary
    COMMENTARY

    In finance, “collateral” refers to a pledge of security. In marketing, “collateral” refers to a set of marketing materials. The noun may potentially be confused with the adjective.

  • Collateral (Adjective)

    • in general

      Additional but subordinate; secondary

    • in Accounting

      a) Accompanying as a secondary fact, activity, or agency but subordinate to a main consideration.
      b) Not directly relevant or material a collateral evidentiary matter a collateral issue.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries (2) Accounting: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    COMMENTARY

    The legal use of “collateral” as an adjective refers to something being a secondary, or immaterial, issue, whereas the financial use refers to something (e.g., a collateral loan) being backed up by an asset.

  • Collective impact

    • in Social enterprising

      Collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem.

    Practice & Source: (1) Social enterprise: Glossary, Mission Investors Exchange
    COMMENTARY

    The term was coined by John Kania and Mark Kramer in Collective Impact, a 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review article. The article describes a form of cross-sector collaboration that comprises five components: a common agenda, shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, constant communication, and a backbone support organization.

  • Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

    • in finance

      A private sector financial institution that focuses on personal lending and business development efforts in local communities. CDFIs can receive federal funding through the U.S. Department of the Treasury by completing an application.

    Practice & Source: (1) Finance/Impact investing: Investopedia
  • Community Interest Company (CIC)

    • in Social enterprising

      A type of company, designed in particular for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. CICs are easy to set up, with all the flexibility and certainty of the company form, but with some special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community.

    Practice & Source: (1) Social enterprise: Frequently Asked Questions, Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies, United Kingdom Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
    COMMENTARY

    Any CIC assets and profits (aside from those distributed in accordance with the rules on dividend capping) must be kept within the CIC and used solely for community benefit. This is known as an asset lock. The only bodies to which assets can be transferred are other asset-locked bodies, i.e. those organizations which already have an asset lock, such as charities or other CICs.

  • Comparator group

    • in Evaluatiing

      See definition for “Comparison group.”

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation:
  • Comparison group

    • in Evaluatiing

      A non-randomly selected group that does not receive the services, products or activities of the program being evaluated.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation:
  • Confidence interval

    • in Evaluating

      A range of values so defined that there is a specified probability that the value of a parameter lies within it.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: Oxford Living Dictionaries
    COMMENTARY

    “Confidence interval” has a specific meaning based on statistical probabilities that is different from the everyday use of being confident or not confident of or in something.

  • Constituent(s)

    • in general

      (a) A member of a body of customers or supporters. (b) A component part of something.

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

    In recent years, several players in the sutainable development, social enterprise, and impact investing fields have begun to use “client,” “customer,” “user,” “end-user,” “constituent,” and “stakeholder” in place of “beneficiary” as part of a movement to recognize the individuals who benefit directly from an intervention, product, service, or investment as active participants, rather than passive recipients. Though each of these terms vary slightly in meaning, they are often used interchangeably.

  • Content validity

    • in Evaluating

      The degree to which a measure or set of measures adequately represents all facets of the phenomena it is meant to describe.

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

    • The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

    • in Evaluating

      The ambient social circumstances that do or may influence what is being evaluated or the evaluation itself; by contrast with ambient physical circumstances that would normally go under “description.” Context includes attitudes and expectations by stakeholders (these factors also apply to consumers), access to documents and sites, and community status. Context has longitudinal (historical, diachronic) and a cross-sectional (concurrent, synchronic) aspect. Context is often crucial for establishing causation.

    Practice & Source: (1) Generic: BusinessDictionary.com (2) Evaluation: Michael Scriven, Evaluation Thesaurus, 4th Edition, 1991
    COMMENTARY

    Understanding context, or contextual analysis, is important in evaluation, philanthropy, and social enterprise, and to a lesser degree in economics, in determining whether a particular intervention in a particular point in time and place is likely to be or was successful. Realist evaluation methods in particular emphasize the role of context. Contexts include social, economic and political structures, organizational context, program participants, program staffing, and geographical and historical context, among other features.

  • Contingent valuation

    • in Economics

      The method of valuation used in cost—benefit analysis and environmental accounting. It is conditional (contingent) on the construction of hypothetical markets, reflected in expressions of the willingness to pay for potential environmental benefits or for the avoidance of their loss.

    Practice & Source: (1) Economics: OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms
  • Control group

    • in Evaluating

      A randomly selected group that does not receive the services, products or activities of the program being evaluated.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation:
    COMMENTARY

    The difference between a control group and a comparator group is that the former is randomly selected. The latter is not.

  • Control(s)

    • in Accounting

      Any action taken by management, the board and other parties to manage risk and increase the likelihood that established objectives and goals will be achieved. Management plans, organizes and directs the performance of sufficient actions to provide reasonable assurance that objectives and goals will be achieved.

    • in finance

      The power to govern the financial and operating policies of an entity so as to obtain benefits from its activities.

    • in generic

      The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

    Practice & Source: (1) Accounting: Glossary, Chartered Institute of International Auditors (2) Finance / impact investing: Glossary of Financial Accounting Terms, Pearson Education (3) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries
    COMMENTARY

    “Controls” is often associated with another word, such as “internal controls”, “accounting controls”, “management control”. Confusion can arise if “control” is used as a shortened version of “control group”.

  • Convention(s)

    • in General

      a) A way in which something is usually done. b) An agreement between states covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty. c) A large meeting or conference, especially of members of a political party or a particular profession or group.

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

    • in business

      Firm owned, controlled, and operated by a group of users for their own benefit. Each member contributes equity capital, and shares in the control of the firm on the basis of one-member, one-vote principle (and not in proportion to his or her equity contribution).

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: Investopedia
  • Corporate Governance

    • in business

      The framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in a company’s relationship with its all stakeholders (financiers, customers, management, employees, government, and the community).

      The corporate governance framework consists of (1) explicit and implicit contracts between the company and the stakeholders for distribution of responsibilities, rights, and rewards, (2) procedures for reconciling the sometimes conflicting interests of stakeholders in accordance with their duties, privileges, and roles, and (3) procedures for proper supervision, control, and information-flows to serve as a system of checks-and-balances.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

    • in Business

      Corporate social responsibility, often abbreviated “CSR,” is a corporation’s initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing. The term generally applies to efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators or environmental protection groups.

      CSR may also be referred to as “corporate citizenship” and can involve incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: Investopedia
  • Correlation

    • in Evaluating

      a) A mutual relationship or connection between two or more things. b) A quantity measuring the extent of the interdependence of variable quantities.

    • in Finance

      To talk of a correlation is to express the strength of the relationship between two variables. A correlation is said to be positive if movements between the two variables are in the same direction and negative if it moves in the opposite direction. A correlation of zero means there is no correlation at all between the two variables.

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: Oxford Living Dictionaries (2) Finance / impact investing: Financial Times Lexicon
    COMMENTARY

    Sometimes correlation is used in its statistical sense regarding the quantifiable strength (between -1 to 1) of a relationship between two variables. Other times it is used in a general sense to suggest there is or is not a relationship between two variables, without specifying its strength.

  • Cost allocation

    • in Accounting

      Assignment of indirect costs to a cost object (a job or task) without arbitrary apportionment. Costs can be allocated where the amount to be assigned can be determined accurately.

    Practice & Source: (1) Accounting: BusinessDictionary.com
  • Cost-benefit analysis

    • in Economics

      A method of reaching economic decisions by comparing the costs of doing something with its benefits.

    Practice & Source: (1) Economics: The Economist: Economics A to Z
    COMMENTARY

    The Economist definition notes that cost-benefit analysis “sounds simple and common-sensical, but, in practice, it can easily become complicated and is much abused. With careful selection of the assumptions used in cost-benefit analysis it can be made to support, or oppose, almost anything. This is particularly so when the decision being contemplated involves some cost or benefit for which there is no market price or which, because of an externality, is not fully reflected in the market price. Typical examples would be a project to build a hydroelectric dam in an area of outstanding natural beauty or a law to require factories to limit emissions of gases that may cause ill-health.”

  • Counterfactual (Noun)

    • in Evaluating

      The situation or condition which hypothetically may prevail for individuals, organizations, or groups were there no intervention.

    • in general

      A counterfactual conditional statement (e.g. If kangaroos had no tails, they would topple over).

    Practice & Source: (1) Evaluation: DAC/OECD Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management (2) Generic: Oxford Living Dictionaries
    COMMENTARY

    The “counterfactual” is an important concept in evaluation. It is an estimate of what might have happened without the intervention. This is different from the general use of “counterfactual” as a conditional statement. Both might be confused with the adjective.

  • Counterfactual (Adjective)

    • in general

      Relating to or expressing what has not happened or is not the case.

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

    • in business

      A party that receives or consumes products (goods or services) and has the ability to choose between different products and suppliers.

    Practice & Source: (1) Business/CSR: BusinessDictionary.com
    COMMENTARY

    In recent years, several players in the sustainable development, social enterprise, and impact investing fields have begun to use “client,” “customer,” “user,” “end-user,” “constituent,” and “stakeholder” in place of “beneficiary” as part of a movement to recognize the individuals who benefit directly from an intervention, product, service, or investment as active participants, rather than passive recipients. Though each of these terms vary slightly in meaning, they are often used interchangeably.