Glossary of Terms

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The following are definitions of terms used in the Civic 50 Orange County survey.

 

Business Outcomes/Impacts:  Meaningful changes in the performance of a business function such as an increase in employee engagement, sales or brand recognition. Although the precise definitions of the evaluation terms “impact” and “outcome” differ slightly, for the purposes of the Civic 50 they are interchangeable. 

 

Cause Marketing: A marketing effort pursued by a company that also aims to raise awareness, money, and/or consumer engagement for a social cause/issue. May also be known as cause-related marketing.

 

Community Engagement: A company’s efforts to mitigate social causes/issues such as hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, for example, and/or to promote the public good, including economic development, education and social justice, for example.  Community engagement is implemented through employee activities/volunteering, including extra-hands, skills-based volunteering or pro bono service; monetary giving; in-kind giving, social cause leadership and other company or employee actions.

 

Community Engagement Program (CEP): The totality of a company’s formal community engagement efforts to mitigate social causes/issues such as hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, for example, and/or to promote the public good, including economic development, education and social justice, for example.  Community Engagement Program elements include employee volunteering including pro-bono and other skills-based service, monetary giving, in-kind giving and social cause leadership.

 

Community Partners: Organizations working to mitigate social causes/issues and/or promote the common good to which a corporation contributes employee volunteer (including extra-hands volunteering and pro-bono and skills-based service), financial, in-kind or leadership resources at least once per year. Community partners are typically US tax-exempt status organizations, but can also be organizations with an alternative tax status that promotes progress on a social cause/issue including social enterprises, public schools and military entities. 

 

Company-sponsored Volunteerism: Volunteer activities performed by employees in which the company invests non-negligible resources by dedicating staff time to organize the activities, paying intermediaries or community organizations to organize the activities, issuing “dollars-for-doers” grants or paying employee salaries or wages, for example. Common forms of this activity can include, but are not limited to painting community partner buildings, conducting environmental cleanup and mentoring students, amongst others. Employee volunteers and employee volunteer hours submitted as part of the Civic 50 application need to be part of a volunteer activity supported through company resources, as defined in this paragraph.

 

Dollars-for-Doers Grants: A program in which the company contributes a grant to a community partner (see definition) where an employee or a team of employees volunteers.

 

Employee: A person on the company payroll for full-or part-time work. Temporary and intermittent employees are included, as are any employees who are on paid sick leave, on paid holiday, or who work during only part of the specified pay period. Proprietors, self-employed, unpaid family or volunteer workers are excluded.

 

Employee Volunteering: Activities performed by employees to support a social cause/issue in which the company invests non-negligible resources by dedicating staff time to organize the activities, paying intermediaries or community organizations to organize the activities, issuing “dollars-for-doers” grants or paying employee salaries or wages, for example.  Common forms of this activity can include, but are not limited to painting community partner buildings, conducting environmental cleanup and mentoring students, amongst others. Employee volunteers and employee volunteer hours submitted as part of the Civic 50 application need to be part of a volunteer activity supported through company resources, as defined in this paragraph.

 

Employee Volunteer Program: The totality of company efforts to support employee volunteering (see definition above) by investing non-negligible resources such as staff time to organize volunteer activities, paying intermediaries or community organizations to organize volunteer activities, issuing “dollars-for-doers” grants or paying employee salaries or wages during the time they volunteer, for example. Employee volunteers and employee volunteer hours submitted as part of The Civic 50 application need to be part of a volunteer activity supported through company resources, as defined in this paragraph.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI): The Global Reporting Initiative is an independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable sustainability reporting guidelines that help organizations to report on the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of their activities, products, and services.

 

“Hands-on” Volunteering (also known as traditional and extra hands volunteering): Employee volunteering (see definition) that does not involve applying the employee’s workplace skills.

 

Impact Investments: Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

 

In-kind Contributions: Goods, products, services, or equipment that are donated to a community partner excluding employee volunteering (which is counted separately in the Civic 50). Examples of in-kind contributions include donation of used computers, meeting rooms or commercial product.

 

Matching Gift Grants: A program in which the company contributes a grant to a community partner (see definition of community partner) where an employee makes a monetary contribution, often by matching the employee’s contribution dollar-for-dollar.

 

Outputs/Accomplishments: Measures of the Community Engagement Program’s activities, services, events and products that indicate progress towards business and/or social outcomes/impacts (see definitions) but fall short of capturing such impacts and outcomes because they don’t show a change in a social issue (e.g. increased academic performance) or business outcome (e.g., increased employee retention). Examples of outputs/accomplishments include volunteer hours contributed, individuals served and tutoring session held, for example.

 

Outcome Measures: Indicators of social outcomes/impacts or business outcomes/impacts (see definitions). Examples of social outcome measures include graduation rate for students in a tutoring program, income reported by participants in jobs training program and increases in knowledge reported by individuals in a financial literacy course. Examples of business outcome measures include retention of employee volunteers as tracked by HR, sales resulting from a cause marketing campaign and customer loyalty among individuals who are have seen ads featuring the community engagement program.

 

Philanthropy: The act of a corporation making a grant or financial donation in support of a social cause/issue.

 

Pro Bono or Skills-Based Volunteering/Service: Employee volunteering (see definition) that uses professional skills in service to a community partner (see definition). This can include, but is not limited to, the donation of services such as accounting, marketing, finance, graphic design, and information technology.

 

Public Good: The well-being of society as a whole. Public good efforts include reducing crime, increasing employment and cleaning up the environment, for example.

 

Social Causes/Issues: Challenges, difficulties and other problems faced by a society, often referred to as charitable causes. Examples include but are not limited to: homelessness, unemployment and access to education.

 

Social Outcomes/Impacts: Meaningful changes in individuals, groups, organizations or communities served by the Community Engagement program such as improvements in graduation rates, reduction in health problems or increases in financial literacy. Although the precise definitions of the evaluation terms “impact” and “outcome” differ slightly, for the purposes of the Civic 50, they are interchangeable.

 

Traditional volunteering (also known as “extra-hands” or “hand-on” volunteering): Employee volunteering (see definition) that does not involve applying an employee’s workplace skills.