I have worked with hundreds of college entrepreneurs for over a decade, and their No. 1 request for help is often about funding. I don’t blame them — money is scarce — but cash is the ultimate commodity. When we think about investing, it’s pretty mathematical: Money in hopefully leads to more money out. But impact investing has been changing that game.

Impact investors, while seeking good returns, also celebrate the relationships and support they can bring to bear. That said, the nomenclature around impact investing is inadequate because it’s not just about making connections when something is looking to grow; it’s about creating a robust ecosystem for those things to take root, grow and propagate. Impact investing starts before a dollar is invested, and I think it’s time for impact-focused organizations to adjust our language.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) reported in its 2018 survey that impact investing is on the rise, and that more “conventional” investors are engaging more frequently in impact investing. The 229 organizations that responded to the survey manage $228 billion dollars in assets that they deploy for impact and a return simultaneously. As mainstream investors begin to require impact metrics and lenses, it has become critical to consider the vocabulary that is used around it.

Impact investors are certainly on the right track and should be praised for making the important step of backing impact-focused organizations. However, they are only bringing one of the many tools required to achieve the results they are looking for. By deploying cash only in investments, they are ignoring the ecosystem players who create the space for that growth and impact.

For asset managers truly seeking impact, those impact ecosystems should be the target of visibility, investment and partnership. With proven models starting to emerge, the linkages that ecosystems provide for building sustainable impact offer the greatest potential for growth. I want to address some of the emerging ways that these bridges are being built and offer insight on what we can do to contribute to their improvement.

Read the rest of George Tsiatis’ article in Forbes