The Common Approach

Working towards better impact measurement for social purpose organizations.

A flexible standard for impact measurement.

The Common Approach is composed of 4 related standards that are community-driven.

Common Foundations

Essential practices are the pathway to impact measurement.

The Common Foundations provide guidance for how to measure impact. They are a minimum standard and social purpose organizations can know when their impact measurement practices are ‘good enough.’

Common Form

It’s possible to simplify funding and investing applications by asking the right questions.

The Common Form means that key organizational information and financial numbers can be entered once and used across the network. It makes it easier for social purpose organizations and funders and investors to communicate – and saves time.

Common Impact Data Standard

Computer science wizardry that makes the flexible standard possible.

You can think of the Common Impact Data Standard as an organization system for your impact data. It provides a place for everything so that everything can be in its place. This makes it easier to share and aggregate data. Softwares can be more easily designed to support better impact analysis. 

Common Framework

The world needs a flexible framework for social and environmental impact indicators.

The Common Framework is a way to loosely aggregate the dissimilar indicators used by social purposed organizations. Adopting a flexible standard would permit each organization to choose the measures it finds to be the most meaningful – while also allowing funders, investors, collaborators and networks to analyze the impact of their portfolio.


Standards are communities, not documents.

The Common Approach is an impact measurement standard that is created for – and governed by – social purpose organizations.

Common Foundations News

Common Foundations training videos by the Social Enterprise Institute will have you up-and-running in 30-minutes.


The latest version of the data standard is available. Download from the University of Toronto's website.

After clicking the link, search "Common Approach". 

Community News

Meet the Champions – Impact evaluators who are putting the Common Foundations to work.

The Common Approach to Impact Measurement is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada by the Government of Canada and is an Investment Readiness Partner.

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Welcome to the Common Approach community! Bienvenue dans la communauté de l'Approche commune.