October 18, 2021

Abbreviations for social impact

Tired of using acronyms? Here’s a version of them you might actually enjoy.

2 min read

If you work in the social sector, you’re no stranger to abbreviations. You’ve probably come across the likes of FCRA, NGO, CSO, PHC, RTI, and a personal favourite—RMNCH+A. Try saying it five times quickly, I dare you.

Since the sector has forever changed what WASH means to me, I thought I’d note down some of my own versions of everyday acronyms, altered for nonprofit life.

1. TBD

What it usually means: To Be Decided
What it means in the dev sector: Tax Break Dena, please!
Use case: When you have to beg the government official issuing your 80G certificate to believe that you GENUINELY. ARE. A. NONPROFIT.

2. WIP

What it usually means: Work In Progress
What it means in the dev sector:
Waiting (for funding to come through) In Perpetuity
Use case: When you fill out all 342 pages of paperwork needed to access your donation tranche and surprise surprise, the foundation comes back to you with ‘just a few more forms’.

3. CFO

What it usually means: Chief Financial Officer
What it means in the dev sector: Corporate Friendly Outfit
Use case: When you have to ditch your beloved kurta-jhola-chappals trio for a pantsuit in order to be taken seriously by the MNC you have a meeting with.

Abbreviations artwork-nonprofit humour
Picture courtesy: India Development Review

4. ETA

What it usually means: Estimated Time of Arrival
What it means in the dev sector: Extreme Team Attrition
Use case: When an external consultant sent by your donor upends your nonprofit’s well-functioning systems and processes in order to create a ‘more serious’ work culture and your employees realise that if they’re stuck living the corporate life, they might as well get corporate salaries too.

5. CSR

What it usually means: Corporate Social Responsibility
What it means in the dev sector: Cold, Scathing Reply
Use case: When you’re asked whether your work is ‘so chill, na?’ from acquaintances who hear that you work in the social sector.

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Ayesha Marfatia-Image
Ayesha Marfatia

Ayesha Marfatia is a communications associate at the Good Food Institute India, a nonprofit working to build the alternative protein ecosystem in India. She has previously worked as a consultant for Eco Femme, and as an editorial associate at India Development Review, where in addition to writing and editing, she also worked on the podcast 'On the Contrary' hosted by Arun Maira. Ayesha's work has been featured in The Wire, Scroll, and Quartz India. She holds a BA from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai.