To ensure a clear comprehension of certain terms, the Norms Committee in association with Credibility Alliance member organizations has developed a set of definitions. Those terms are found throughout CA's reading materials including the website, brochures, annual reports, and newsletters. All definitions are based on in-depth research and feedback by member organizations. They are in line with the Credibility Alliance Values, programmes and activities.
For the purpose of this document, Voluntary Organizations / organizations will include people - centred organizations undertaking service, development activities or empowering marginalised sections of society through a variety of strategies including organization, action, research, documentation, networking, advocacy and other professional support. These organizations known as Voluntary organizations / NGOs / VOLAGs / DEVORGs are registered under the Societies Registration Act, Indian Trust Act and the Bombay Public Trusts Act or under section 25 of the Companies Act.
The vision is seen as the dream or the aspiration that an organization has for the kind of world or society it wants to create. It is a description in words that conjures up a similar picture for each member of the group of the destination of the group's work together.
The mission is its first operative statement of the vision as it specifies what is intended to be done to achieve its vision. It articulates the organization's essential nature, its values and its work. The mission of an organization would be applicable for a period of five to ten years.
An organization's objectives are those expected outcomes that it must achieve to carry out its mission. Objectives by nature are more specific than the mission statement. Objectives can be considered as the translation of the mission into specific, concrete terms against which actual results can be measured more easily. The objectives of an organization would be applicable for a period of one to three years.
The term constituency is seen as synonymous with beneficiaries, communities and clients. While the term constituency may have an overt association with electoral and political processes, it still seems a more appropriate term to collectively address the people the NGOs work with/ for, reflective of a more equal/ positive relationship than client or beneficiary.
Stakeholders are groups and individuals who can affect or are affected by the achievement of an organization's mission. Stakeholders would include the constituencies, staff, board members, donors and others such as media and government depending on the issue being addressed by the organization.
In order to plan programmes that would respond to the needs and requirements of the constituencies and ensure that resources would be utilised efficiently, an organization undertakes needs assessment.
Monitoring is the process of measuring, recording, collating and communicating information and feedback to all levels of the organization to enable the process of project management and ensure that the project and activities are being implemented according to the plans.
Evaluation is a systematic and scientific assessment of whether an organization has fulfilled the objectives that it had set to achieve and to determine the organization's efficiency, effectiveness, impact, sustainability and relevance.