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Glossary of Terms

Activity: Actual events or actions that take place as part of the project to achieve goals and objectives.

Capacity Building: Supporting projects that strengthen the development of an organization’s core skills and capabilities, such as leadership, management, finance and fund-raising, programs and evaluation, in order to build the organization’s effectiveness and sustainability.

Capital (Campaign) Request: A planned undertaking to purchase, build or renovate a space or building or to acquire equipment.

Collaboration: Organizations often submit joint proposals for funding to address common issues of organizational capacity and program outreach where they have similar outcomes to accomplish.

Cultural Competency: The process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, spiritual traditions, immigration status, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each.

Diversity: Term that describes the presence of individuals from various backgrounds and/or with various identities. The term is often used to include aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability.

Doing Business As (DBA): Name under which the business or operation is conducted and presented to the world but may not the legal name.

Equity: The condition that would be achieved if the identities assigned to historically oppressed groups no longer acted as the most powerful predictor of how one fares, with the root causes of inequities eliminated. (Examples include the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce or fail to eliminate differential outcomes by group identity/background).

Evaluation: The process of undertaking an analysis, at various degrees of formality, of the impact of a grant-funded project, usually communicated in the form of a report to the funder.

Fiscal Agent: A nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that acts as a sponsor for a project or group that may not have its own tax-exempt status. Grants or contributions are made to the fiscal agent who manages the funds.

General Operating Support: Grant funds to support the ongoing services, mission or goals of an organization.

Goal: What is the desired result of the project in general terms? The broad, overarching purpose served by your project or service -- for instance, "Our purpose [or goal] is to help women victimized by abuse recover their strength, stability and self-esteem."

In-Kind Support: A contribution of equipment/materials, time, non-cash item and/or services that the donor has placed a monetary value on.

Inclusion: The degree to which individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes of an organization or group.

Letter of Intent: Also known as concept paper, white paper and pre-proposal is a brief, preliminary letter describing an organization and proposed grant request, usually sent prior to a full proposal.


Long-term Outcome: Occurs after the funding period or after program completion.

Marginalize: The process of making an individual, group, or class of people less important or relegated to a secondary position, which often leads to exclusion from meaningful participation in society.

Method(s): A particular procedure for accomplishing or approaching something.  See activity.

Needs Statement: Presents the facts and evidence that support the need for the project and establishes that your organization understands the problems and therefore can reasonably address them. The information used to support the case can come from authorities in the field, as well as from your agency's own experience.

Operational Support: A grant given to cover an organization’s day-to-day expenses such as salaries, utilities, office supplies, etc.

Outcome: The changes in (or benefits achieved by) individuals or communities due to their participation in project activities. Time-specific, measurable statements describing the results to be achieved and the manner in which they will be achieved. This may include changes to participant’s knowledge, skills, values, behavior, conditions, or status.  For example, “30 of the 40 third grade students participating in the literacy program will increase their reading level by one grade level.”

Output (Product): Direct product of project activities; immediate measures of what the project will do and/or has done in the past. Sometimes referred to as deliverables. Activities quantified.

Program: An organized set of services designed to achieve specific outcomes for a specified population that will continue beyond the grant period.

Project: A planned undertaking or organized set of services designed to achieve specific outcomes that are time-limited.  (Note: A successful project may become an ongoing program of the organization).

Responsibility: Individual(s) responsible for the stated activity and measurements.

Short-term Outcome: Occurs during the funding period or during program implementation.

Strengths-Based Practice/Perspective: Model of intervention that shifts the focus of work with clients and communities from power-over to power-with, from deficits to capacities, from expert-focused to the-client-as-expert. Nonprofits using this lens recognize the communities/clients they serves as capable, resourceful, and gifted rather than deficient.

Technical Assistance: Operational or managerial assistance given to a nonprofit organization.  It may include fundraising assistance, budgeting, or financial planning, project planning, legal advice, marketing, evaluation design or planning, or other aids to management.  Assistance may be offered directly by a foundation or corporate staff member or in the form of a grant to pay for the services of a consultant.

Timeline: When is the activity taking place and/or duration?

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