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What do the terms in the True Impact platform mean?

Read through this alphabetized glossary of terms to better understand the language you’ll see when completing your Social Impact Report.

Key Terms

  1. Beneficiaries
  2. Core Services
  3. Data Quality / Measurement Categories
  4. Budget / Expenses
  5. Funder's Claim / Portion Funded
  6. Indicator
  7. Intervention
  8. Investment
  9. Investment Tiers
  10. Invitation
  11. Logic Model / Impact Model / Theory of Change
    Program
  12. Report Builder / Report Wizard / Platform
  13. Report Period
  14. Report Sections
  15. Report Stage
  16. Report Status
  17. Social Impact
  18. Social Impact Report / Impact Receipt / Report
  19. Service

Beneficiaries

This section focuses on your ultimate / end beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are those whose lives improve due to your work. When you consider your end beneficiary, what are their demographics? Our demographic categories are based on Candid’s Philanthropy Classification System for Populations. If you have directly measured data regarding your beneficiary demographics you may use that, or you may opt to share demographic data based on best estimates. Where possible, we encourage reports to include estimates on gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial identity, and age. If you need support in identifying estimates for your beneficiaries, US Census Bureau Quick Facts is a helpful resource. At the end of the As you complete the Beneficiary is section, there’s an opportunity to share a short written narrative as well as share estimates of representation across demographic categories (females, students, etc.).

For more information refer to: How do I complete the beneficiary section if we don't collect demographic data?

Core Services

This is a section header on your Social Impact Report that includes basic information about your intervention including responses to specific questions as well as an area that provides space for a brief written narrative.

Data Quality / Measurement Categories

All data reported through True Impact must be categorized by its source. Top-level measurement categories include:

  • Directly measured: Direct measurement of program results, including testing, monitoring, or reporting by the beneficiaries or program implementers, using subjective or objective evaluation criteria.
  • Estimate: Estimate based on data from other, similar programs; indirect tracking of outcomes (e.g., government data); or the program's past results.
  • Guess: Guess based on experience, anecdotal results, or logical assumptions.

The first two categories – direct measurement and estimate based on data – are considered high-quality (or evidence-based) data, providing some validation for the reporting organization’s assertions. Guesses are considered low-quality data (better than nothing, but an area that should be improved).

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Budget / Expenses

This section focuses on the total cost of running your program and achieving the impacts included in the Outcomes section. In the budget section there’s an opportunity to share a budget figure for the following categories:

  • Direct Cash: cash expenses spent directly on programmatic work
  • Direct In-Kind: value of in-kind services or goods spent directly on programmatic work
  • Indirect Cash: cash expenses spent on organizational / overhead that supports that program indirectly
  • Indirect In-Kind: value of in-kind services or goods spent on organizational / overhead that supports that program indirectly

Recall that your budget should represent expenses for the designated reporting period. It is also important to note that you are not required to complete each of these sections. At a minimum, please include a figure for Direct Cash. There’s also an opportunity to provide a brief note per line item and to attach any back-up documentation if your funder specifically requests this. Otherwise, we do not require back-up documentation for every report. 

For more information, refer to this article: How do I complete the Budget section?

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Funder's Claim / Portion Funded

Near the top of a completed Social Impact Report you’ll see a box that contains a Portion Funded percentage and Funder’s Claim. This box articulates the portion of your social impact that your funder can claim based on the amount and type of funding they have provided to you.

  • Portion Funded: If the Investment Tier is designated as Incremental or Significant, this percentage is calculated by dividing the amount of funding from this funder by the total program expenses for the designated reporting period. If the Investment Tier is designated as Foundational this percentage will automatically equal 100%.
  • Funder’s Claim: The Funder’s Claim is calculated by utilizing the Portion Funded percentage and applying it to your indicator values in the Succeed section. In other words, the values that appear here are the portion of your social outcomes that can be directly attributed to this funder’s investments to your work.
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Indicator(s)

In the Report Builder process it’s required to select indicators from True Impact’s standardized indicator library to represent your work across the logic model stages (Program Development, Reach, Learn, Act, Succeed). Indicators are presented as options based on which logic model/service is selected. In your completed Social Impact Report, you’ll see that each indicator includes a generalized definition, your program-specific definition, and details about how you measure each indicator. 

  • Success Criteria: This section captures what the indicator means for your program and what success is defined as (information you entered in Step 1 of each indicator in the Report Builder). Prompts are provided directly in the Report Builder as guides for each logic model stage such as “What specific knowledge, skills, or motivation gains will define success at this level?”
  • Sources/Assumptions: This section shares  information about how you decided on your forecasted or final value for the indicator (Step 5 of each indicator in the Report Builder). Prompts are provided directly in the Report Builder as guides for each logic model stage such as “Briefly describe how the learning data will be collected, including who will do it, when, and how frequently.

For more information refer to: How do I complete the Outcomes section?

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Intervention

The intervention section in the Report Builder is designed to capture basic information about your work. It includes the following sections:

  • Core Service: The Report Builder will prompt the user to choose one option that best represents the category of work.
  • Type: The Report Builder will prompt the user to choose an option that best represents the kind of work, as bulleted below. Choose one that best fits the program.
    • Direct Service: Distribution of goods, services, knowledge, or training directly to beneficiaries or their caregivers.
    • Capacity Development: Improving the efficacy of existing organizations or service providers through technical assistance, professional development, systems, or operational improvement, infrastructure development, or collaborations. 
    • Policy and Advocacy: Changing laws, policies, resource allocations, or institutional structures or systems through education, advocacy, litigation, or coalition building.
  • Frequency + Duration: The report builder will prompt the user to choose an option that most accurately represents the duration, frequency, or amount of engagement of an average program beneficiary
  • Additional Information: This provides a brief space for a written narrative providing additional information about the program.

For more information refer to: Digging deeper - Intervention Section 

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Investment

In the True Impact platform the term Investment refers to the designated funding amount, as defined by the funder. Investments need to be allocated to reports before beginning to build a report. Most commonly, one investment is tied to one report. However, there are circumstances that may require multiple investments to be associated with one report or one investment to be associated with several reports.

For more information refer to: I want to allocate an investment 

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Investment Tiers

As a user allocates an investment to a report, they are required to designate an investment tier to define the kind of investment as it relates to the overall program. The tiers are defined as:

  • Incremental: A non-primary contribution to the program’s overall funding.
  • Significant: One of the largest contributions to the program’s overall funding.
  • Foundational: Catalyzed other investors, or was significant enough that its absence might have undermined the viability of the program.
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Invitation

In order to complete a Social Impact Report, a user must first be invited to the True Impact platform by a funder. An invitation refers to the email that a user will receive when invited to first log in to the platform.

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Logic Model / Impact Model / Theory of Change

A step-by-step illustration of how a program creates value. In addition to efficiently explaining and quantifying how the program's services translate into social impact, the logic model helps distinguish between outputs, interim outcomes, and end outcomes (i.e., social impact), enabling both the donor and the nonprofit to focus on the proper metrics for evaluating success. The stages of True Impact’s logic model are bulleted below. Only two of the stages (Reach and Succeed) are required as the others are optional and should only be used if relevant to the program.

  • Program Development: The number of improvements in infrastructure, operating practices, systems, or staff used to deliver a program’s services (Inputs).
  • Reach: The number of people served by the program (Outputs). required
  • Learn: The number of people who as a result gain the skills, knowledge, motivation, or access to resources that will enable them to achieve success (Interim Outcomes).
  • Act: The number of people who then take action or change behavior in order to achieve success (Interim Outcomes).
  • Succeed: The number of people who gain income, health, housing, or otherwise improve their wellbeing by achieving the program's end goal (Social Impact or End Outcomes). Required

For more information refer to: How do I complete the Outcomes section?

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Program

Program refers to the designated project or initiative that a user is invited to report on by a funder. 

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Report Builder / Report Wizard / Platform

These terms refer to True Impact’s web-based portal that allows users to build Social Impact Reports.

For more information refer to: The Report Builder - A Brief Orientation

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Report Period

As a user builds a report they are required to designate a report period. The report period is the date range that guides the information that you include in your report. A user will enter this date range in the “Overview” section of the Report Builder. Often, this date range is the same as the program year or a calendar year. It’s important to ensure that the report dates cover the full span of program activities that you describe in the body of the report. 

For more information refer to: What time period should my report cover?

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Report Sections

Report sections refer to the parts of the Report Builder which include:

  • Overview
  • Intervention
  • Beneficiaries
  • Outcomes
  • Budget

For more information refer to: How do I create my Social Impact Report? and How do I complete the Overview, Intervention, and Beneficiary sections?

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Report Stage

Report Stage refers to what stage the program / project / work is at. The report stage options are as bulleted below.

  • Initial Forecast / Report: The program has not started, or is just starting, so the content represents a forecast of what will be achieved by program’s end (for designated report period).
  • Interim Forecast / Report: The funded program is in progress, and the content is being updated to include a latest forecast of what will be achieved by program’s end (for designated report period).
  • Final Report: The funded program has been completed and final results will be reported (for designated report period).

For more information refer to: How do I complete the Overview, Intervention, and Beneficiary sections?

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Report Status

Report status refers to which point in the reporting process a Social Impact Report is at. This status is visible to a nonprofit user in their True Impact dashboard. 

  • Waiting: An investment was shared with a nonprofit, but not allocated to a report. 
  • Draft: The report is partially complete but not yet submitted for review.
  • Awaiting TI Feedback: The nonprofit user has submitted their draft report for True Impact's review.
  • TI Feedback Provided: True Impact has reviewed and shared feedback with the nonprofit user to guide in report updates.
  • Awaiting TI Verification: The nonprofit user has updated their report based on True Impact's feedback and submitted an updated version for True Impact's final review.
  • Awaiting Funder Feedback: True Impact has verified the report, and is now in the queue for funder review.
  • Funder Feedback Provided: The funder has reviewed and shared feedback with the nonprofit user to guide in report updates.
  • Awaiting Funder Verification: The nonprofit user has updated their report based on the funder's feedback and submitted an updated version for the funder's final review.
  • Published or Finalized: The report has been successfully completed.
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Social Impact

We define social impact as the ways people’s lives are improved or contributions to society. Though our Report Builder includes multiple sections, the social impact is mainly captured in the Succeed section of the logic model.

In most cases - but not all - our Succeed indicators are measured in people units. 

Here are some examples of Succeed indicators that utilize people as the measurement unit:

  • protect, improve health
  • beneficiaries gain safe and affirming environments
  • students access post-secondary education

Here are some examples of Succeed indicators that utilize other types of measurement units:

  • businesses created, saved, or strengthened
  • acres of land cleaned, protected
  • dollars ($USD) in total socio-economic savings
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Social Impact Report / Impact Receipt / Report

The True Impact platform supports nonprofit users in building a Social Impact Report, also known as an Impact Receipt or Report. Based on the report stage, these reports may include a forecast or final social impacts for a program during a designated report period.

For more information refer to: How do I create my Social Impact Report? and How do I download my completed Social Impact Report to share with others? and How do I read a completed Impact Receipt?

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Service

In True Impact’s platform the term Service is used to refer to a specific logic model template. A nonprofit user will see “Service” as a subsection in the “Outcomes” section where a selection of logic model templates will be provided as options for selection, as identified by True Impact and your funder. Examples of services include:

  • Community Development
  • Education: K-12
  • Employment
  • Health
  • Positive Youth Development

For more information refer to: How do I complete the Outcomes section?

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Looking for more information? Contact the True Impact team.