Glossary of SROI terms

SROI terminology explained!  The SROI process, whether you are reading a case study, or writing a SROI report, will introduce you to some expressions that may need explanation. If you require more information, please contact us.

Attribution
An assessment of how much of the outcome was caused by the contribution of other organisations or people.
Cost allocation
The allocation of costs or expenditure to activities related to a given programme, product or business.
Deadweight
A measure of the amount of outcome that would have happened even if the activity had not taken place.
Discounting
The process by which future financial costs and benefits are recalculated to present-day values.
Discount rate
The interest rate used to discount future costs and benefits to a present value.
Displacement
An assessment of how much of the outcome has displaced other outcomes.
Distance travelled
The progress that a beneficiary makes towards an outcome (also called ‘intermediate outcomes’).
Drop-off
The deterioration of an outcome over time.
Duration
How long (usually in years) an outcome lasts after the intervention, such as length of time a participant remains in a new job.
Financial value
The financial surplus generated by an organisation in the course of its activities.
Financial model
A set of relationships between financial variables that allow the effect of changes to variables to be tested.
Impact
The difference between the outcome for participants, taking into account what would have happened anyway, the contribution of others and the length of time the outcomes last.
Impact Map
A table that captures how an activity makes a difference: that is, how it uses its resources to provide activities that then lead to particular outcomes for different stakeholders.
Income
An organisation’s financial income from sales, donations, contracts or grants.
Inputs
The contributions made by each stakeholder that are necessary for the activity to happen.
Materiality
Information is material if its omission has the potential to affect the readers’ or stakeholders’ decisions.
Monetise
To assign a financial value to something.
Net present value
The value in today’s currency of money that is expected in the future minus the investment required to generate the activity.
Net social return ratio
Net present value of the impact divided by total investment.
Outcome
The changes resulting from an activity. The main types of change from the perspective of stakeholders are unintended (unexpected) and intended (expected), positive and negative change.
Outputs
A way of describing the activity in relation to each stakeholder’s inputs in quantitative terms.
Outcome indicator
Well-defined measure of an outcome.
Payback period
Time in months or years for the value of the impact to exceed the investment.