Glossary of Terms

Cause Marketing The pro-social public relations campaigns of an organization. Cause marketing is defined as public relations activities in which a nonprofit or social issue is highlighted in conjunction with a corporation’s brand, product, or mission (ie. “Our company cares about this cause” and/or “A percentage of this product’s proceeds will be donated to this cause”)
Citizen-Centered The concept that puts individuals at the core of a community building process, sometimes independently of traditional institutions. Citizen-centered approaches allow “ordinary people” to come together, deliberate, and take action on problems or issues that they themselves have defined as important in ways they deem appropriate—whether through volunteering, voting, activism, or organizing.
Civic Engagement The common thread of participation in and building of one’s community. It means improving the quality of life, making a difference, and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, trust and motivation among people to give back. Elements of civic engagement include community service, participation in groups, connection to information and current events, connection to individuals and organizations, and political involvement.
Civic Engagement Program (CEP) A corporation’s holistic approach to “doing good,” the CEP is about improving the quality of life, making a difference, and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, trust and motivation among people to give back. This includes programs and initiatives that provide and support activities such as volunteering, pro bono service, in-kind giving, philanthropy, sponsorship, cause marketing, neighboring, and nonpartisan information sharing. (See also: “Civic Engagement”)
Civic Health The measure of how communities are performing in civic activities. It is determined by the levels of at which individuals are participating in civic engagement activities, such as political activity, service, and giving, as well as their levels of trust and connectedness, both to each other and to information and current events.
Civic Organizations Organizations that promote involvement in the political process, including voting and election participation, expression of political voice, creation of public policy, facilitation of town hall meetings, and opportunities for deliberative dialogue.
Civility The act and process of respecting view points and opinions of others, whether or not one agrees with them.
Community Issues The social problems that impede the “common good” of those who live and work in a specific geographic or demographic area. Examples include, but are not limited to: homelessness, infrastructure, unemployment, environment, education, and health.
Community Partners Organizations to which institutions make a specific commitment of time, talent, or treasure at least once per year.
Corporate Citizenship The process through with a corporation demonstrates its commitment to giving back, often through development of a “Civic Engagement Program” which allocates financial and human resources toward improving communities in which they operate.
Cross-sector collaboration The practice of an organization working strategically with another institution outside of their sector (ie. a business partnering with a nonprofit to address an issue or start an initiative).
Deliberative Democracy The facilitated process of engaging many diverse voices in discussion to determine the best course of action in a situation. Also commonly referred to as “deliberative dialogue.”
eCitizenship The process of participating in civic acts on the Internet (ie. social media, YouTube, or blogs) or through other technology, such as mobile devices.
Employee Volunteering A corporation’s programs and policies that mobilize employees to engage in direct service on an issue or with a nonprofit organization. Common forms of this activity can include, but not limited to painting, environmental clean-up, mentoring, and tutoring.
Generation X Individuals born between 1965 and 1979.
Millennials Individuals born between 1980 and 1995. Sometimes referred to as “Generation Y,” this generation is often characterized by its affinity for technology.
Neighboring The informal actions individuals perform in service to their neighbors, such as exchanging favors.
Philanthropy The act of making a grant or financial donation to a cause, organization, or individual.
Political Involvement The ways one participates in the political process, including voting and being registered to vote, as well as non-electoral participation such as contacting an elected official or expressing political views.
Pro Bono Service The process of individuals using professional skills (or donating skilled labor) in service on an issue or in service to a nonprofit organization. Also known as skills-based volunteering, this can include, but is not limited to, services such as accounting, marketing, finance, graphic design, and technology.
Service Activities through which one contributes time toward a cause, including formal volunteering through an organization and less formal ways of helping others, such as working with neighbors to fix a community problem.
Social Capital Refers to the connection within and between networks of individuals. These connections and relationships allow for build-up of “credibility” that individuals then “spend” on themselves or on others in order to influence them to do something productive.
Social Connectedness Informal ways that people interact with their family, friends, and others in their community, such as spending time with others and exchanging favors with their neighbors. Usually leads to creation of social capital.
Social Entrepreneurship The practice of using a business approach to achieve an outcome that benefits the greater good (rather than solely profit).
Social media The connective technologies that allow for two-way communication and transmission of information by and between individuals and/or institutions. These include tools like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and blogs. Also referred to as “new media” and “web 2.0 technology.”
Transparency The process through which an individual or organization makes information about itself (such as operations, activities, or outcomes) publicly available.