Common Framework

A flexible standard for impact measurement

The Common Framework will allow each organization to choose the measures that are the most meaningful to their work and allow their funders, collaborators and networks to aggregate those measures.

The guidelines define a flexible standard.

The Common Framework is composed of guidelines that define a flexible standard for measuring social and environmental impact.

This flexible framework will allow groups of organizations to aggregate their bespoke indicators according to well-recognized frameworks such as the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) and the Canadian Index of WellbeingThis element of the Common Approach focuses on what to measure.

Case study summary

We collaborated with Carleton University and Rally Assets on a case study using the example of an investment portfolio focused on affordable housing. It demonstrates How the Common Impact Data Standard and the Common Framework help to make one-of-a-kind impact accounts interoperable. 

Flexible standards briefing

This document outlines how a flexible standard can be created for social and environmental indicators.

I think one of the reasons why we struggle to have a standard in social impact measurement is we’ve been really fixated on the idea that it has to be measurement based-equivalence, rather than the idea of ‘these are just different ways of getting at the same idea; let’s focus on that idea’. Let’s focus on what it means to have a good job and let definition and measurement be flexible so it can be the most appropriate for that particular organization.

Kate Ruff

Common Approach Lead, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation


The Common Framework is expected to take many years.

What do we mean by impact measurement?

Impact and impact measurement are both terms with many meanings.

More like this

Case study summary: Impact Evaluation of a Portfolio of Private Investments

Case study summary: Impact Evaluation of a Portfolio of Private Investments

To illustrate how these two Standards work, we collaborated with Carleton University and Rally Assets on an example using an investment portfolio focused on affordable housing. This case study demonstrates how these Standards can be used to represent impact data, allowing for a nuanced analysis across a portfolio while reducing the burden of reporting.

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Showcase your alignment

Showcase your alignment

For the standard to grow, people and organizations need to be able to demonstrate that they are using the Common Approach. Social purpose organizations aligning with all five practices, trainers and consultants, developers can request use of the identifier.

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Thank you to these organizations for participating in our research.

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