Impact Terms Contributor Style Guide

The intent of this style guide is to assist authors on the Impact Terms (“IT”) website to create content that fits well with the design and goals of the platform.


The ImpactTerms site has an encyclopedia style structure. The format is similar to a Wikipedia format in that the main content page (“Article”) starts at a novice/beginner level but gets more detailed and complex as the content builds out. The Articles have internal navigation so that users can quickly click on highlighted text to open other articles that further expand on the text while keeping the base article at an approachable length. A good example of a site using this design currently is


The Impact Terms platform is a library resource for different constituencies in the impact investment field – Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Professionals (e.g. lawyers, accountants, bankers, accelerators, intermediaries, consultants and advisors). The constituencies have different needs and come to the site with varying sophistication and understanding about impact terms and many aspects of the transaction process. 

Content – When writing the main Article on a topic, we wish to first serve the needs of inexperienced entrepreneurs and build out to serve Investors (of varying sophistication) and Professionals (lawyers, advisors, accountants). We request that you write your content in a voice and sophistication level suitable for the least experienced users while building-in content for more sophisticated users. You can reference complex additional resources through highlighting text and the site’s navigation system, allows experienced users to quickly find the content they need.

When writing Related Articles on a topic, please use the same format as the main article as detailed in the above paragraph. Keep in mind that if the Related Article is meant to provide detailed and complex content for experienced users, it is not necessary to repeat novice level content already provided in the main Article. Rather, reference back to the main Article if needed. We request that you focus on building new content and avoid repeating materials already available in the library.

Site Voice 

The voice should address the needs of novice/newcomers to the impact space with base content then build out to expert level understanding. Additionally, the voice should convey neutrality rather than opinion. Where opinion is included, it should be identified as such. Note that we will allow Curators and Contributors to vote up or down and comment on such opinions.

Definition of Terms

  • Article:  Articles are the main content features of the platform.  Each Article should contain one main topic and may contain one or more sections.  Each Article is a stand-alone website page and someone who has searched for or navigated to specific content on the platform will land at an Article.  Each Article will have a table of contents that will show the Article’s Sections.  
  • Related Article:  While each Article should make sense as its own document – we expect that the main Articles will have several Related Articles.   Related Articles can be referred to and linked from other Articles. To decide if the content should be a Section in the main Article or instead be a Related Article, the author should ask the question – does this content make sense as a stand-alone topic.  If the answer to that question is yes, then that content should be a Related Article.  
    • For example, if your main article is on “Soup” but you want to write about “Bread” as a good side dish for soup, you would create a Related Article for Bread and in your Soup  article mention “Bread” and its role (summarizing the related article) but link to the “Bread” Article for full details.
  • Section:  Each Article can contain multiple Sections.  Sections are ways of organizing an Article and link to the Table of Contents for the Article so that a user can find and navigate to each Section of the Article.   Sections are visually separated by dividing lines.  
    • Each Section has a Heading and can have multiple sub Headings as part of the section.  The Table of Contents will be generated by the way the Headings are created using standard formatting options H2, H3, H4 etc (H1 is reserved for the Heading of the Article)

For Example, the Article Soup would have 

  • “Soup” as a heading formatted as H1,
    • “How To Make Soup” formatted as H2
      • “Ingredients” formatted as H3
      • etc
    • “Soup Around the World” formatted as H2
      • “France” formatted as H3
      • etc
  • Sections will vary between Articles but most Articles should have a section for Additional Resources, References and Contributors. 
  • Links:  Articles will link to their Related Articles and to external resources via hyperlinks.  
  • Case Studies: Case Studies are Related Articles that are created to show real-world examples of one or more concepts.  When an Article has related Case Studies there should be a Case Studies Section in the article that lists, summaries, and links to the Case Studies.  The format of Case Studies is further defined below.


Articles and other content will be integrated into the site map.  The site map allows navigation from the center out, with the main Article providing base information, useful for novices and with the entrepreneur as the central target.  

Each major theme should have one parent content piece (“Article”). Each Article should start with an overview that is written in a voice and level of sophistication suitable for less experienced audiences. Each article should have subsections that go into appropriate additional detail for more sophisticated users. The subsections for each Article depend on the specific content requirements including related term sheets, case studies and additional resources, along with a list of contributors for that Article. The main Article should link to many Related Articles found elsewhere on the site search and navigation.  The decision to add content to a Related Article instead of a subsection of an Article should take into account if the content is required to understand the Article and whether users are likely to want to see that content as its own Article.  

Content can link to other sites like Investopedia to leverage existing libraries of common core terms that are common to all investments.  For example, an Article that uses a general investment term may choose not to define that term but instead to link to where that term is defined in Investopedia

Ensuring Quality 

Impact Terms has a layered editorial approval procedure allowing contributors to publish content while at the same time ensuring site quality. As you write, please consider the following:

  • What question is the content addressing for the constituent, what is the background and goal?
  • Would this language make sense to someone who doesn’t have your level of subject matter knowledge?
  • Could someone quickly review the content and understand the material?
  • Write short sentences and use familiar words. If you need to use an abbreviation or acronym, please explain what it means on first reference.

Legal content should have the following attributes:

  • Accuracy: the objective is to present the correct information in a truthful way.
  • Clarity:  avoid legal jargon and overly formal wording.
  • Succinctness:  we want our users to read and understand the legal references
  • Informational: while content should inform our constituencies about legal considerations, it cannot offer legal advice

Group Authorship

It is our objective to keep content on this site up to date and incorporate the input of multiple experts.  Articles, therefore, can start as or, may over time, become the work of more than one author. We are implementing a group authoring, commenting and editing system that will help manage the work of multiple authors.  All authors will be listed in the Contributors section of each Article.
Please note that the Impact Terms is a public library and its content is available to any user for free, therefore no confidential information or proprietary information should be included in the Articles without the owner’s permission.

List of case studies