Social Performance: Glossary

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Client Assessment - Process of gathering and assessing information about clients using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Ideally, it includes assessing clients’ perspectives and experiences.

Client Monitoring - Routine process of tracking changes in clients’ status or of providing important descriptive information about clients. It may be quantitative or qualitative in nature.

Client Protection Principles - The minimum standards that clients should expect to receive when doing business with a microfinance institution.

Client Satisfaction - An organizational measure of the extent to which the needs, wants, and expectations of clients are met.

Code of Conduct - Set of principles indicating how an organization expects its members to act. It is frequently general, and enforcement is left to the discretion of the organization.

Code of Ethics - General code that articulates an organization’s values or moral standards, focusing on the duties and responsibilities of organization members.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) - Principle that corporations have a responsibility to the local community, broader society, and the environment. It may involve the integration of social value directly into business operations or it may refer to philanthropic activities indirectly related to business operations.

Depth of Outreach - Degree to which an organization reaches poor people with financial services.

Impact - Organizational outcomes that can be attributed to the activity of the organization above and beyond what would have happened anyway.

Impact Assessment - Research activity undertaken with the objective of attributing observed outcomes to organizational activity. Impact is determined by the counterfactual. Determining the counterfactual in turn requires comparing a treatment group to a valid control group.

Impact Monitoring - Periodic or routine tracking of selected client outcomes. In contrast to impact assessment, impact monitoring does not attempt to attribute observed impacts to organizational activity.

Impact Monitoring System - Integration of impact monitoring into an organization’s internal processes, routines, and management information systems.

Microfinance Institutional Rating -  A single rating methodology that examines the financial, institutional, and social risks faced by microfinance institutions in order to provide an opinion on the long-term institutional sustainability and creditworthiness.

Output - A measurable action taken by an institution to improve client well-being (e.g., number of client trainings completed, number of savings accounts opened).

Outcome - A measurable change in the well-being of the client, community, or environment (e.g., improved business skills, increase in household assets).

Qualitative In-Depth Individual Impact Assessment Protocol (QUIP) - An assessment method that uses in-depth interviews of microfinance clients to help MFI managers better understand them. It is designed to be conducted simply and inexpensively over a short period of time to produce detailed information about how particular clients feel about financial services and the impact they have on their lives.

Social Audit - An examination of the records, statements, internal processes, and procedures of an organization related to its social performance. It is undertaken with a view to providing assurance on the quality and meaningfulness of the organization’s professed social performance.

Social Bottom Line - The social outcome measurement that parallels the financial bottom line. It is equal to the net social benefit from operations.

Social Impact - The change in net social welfare due to an organization’s activities. It includes the wider local, national, and global communities.

Social Investment - Investment that aligns an individual’s or an organization’s investment policies with its social values, that is made principally for the purpose of earning a social return.

Social Performance - The effective translation of an organization’s social mission into practice. Social performance is not just about measuring the outcomes, but also about the actions and corrective measures that are being taken to bring about those outcomes.

Social Performance Management (SPM) - The process of managing an organization to achieve a social mission. It is a management style that puts customers at the center of all strategic and operational decisions.

Social Rating - An external evaluation of an institution’s social performance management practices and results. Most social ratings incorporate the SPTF Universal Standards for SPM.

Social Reporting - Public disclosure by an organization of its social performance.

Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) - Investment that aligns individual or organizational investment policies with social values and is made principally for the purpose of earning a social return.

Social Return on Investment (SROI) - Monetary summary of an organization’s social return from a capital investment. A term originating from return on investment (ROI) used by traditional investors.

The SPTF Universal Standards for Social Performance Management - A set of core management practices that constitute “strong” SPM. The Universal Standards bring together strong practices implemented successfully throughout the industry in one comprehensive manual in order to clarify and standardize SPM.  Developed through broad consultation, the Universal Standards both reflect current practice and push practitioners toward better performance.

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