A data standard is a system for organizing information. Sometimes referred to as an ontology, it provides guidelines for how collected data is described and recorded. Software can align with the data standard, which social purpose organizations can then use in their impact measurement practice.

Common Impact Data Standard

How the Common Impact Data Standard and Microsoft Nonprofit Accelerator Architecture Align

When you hear the term “crosswalk”, there’s a very good chance that crossing the street is the first thing that comes to mind. However, in the context of data and analysis, it means something different. In this sense, a crosswalk is a way to identify similarities and differences between two schema or data standards. The purpose of this exercise is to better understand the relationship between them—it can help in planning and decision-making when considering how two systems might work together.

The Common Approach recently completed a crosswalk between its Common Impact Data Standard and the Common Data Model for Nonprofits, stewarded by Microsoft. The analysis was undertaken by Mark Fox, on behalf of the Common Approach, and Dan Lammot, on behalf of threshold.world and the Common Data Model for Nonprofits (CDM).

You can view the crosswalk table and more technical details by downloading the full document here.

The analysis shows that the two data models are compatible: they model different kinds of data in complementary ways. Both groups see value in bringing the models into closer alignment. The team will propose that the CDM adopt elements of the Common Impact Data Standard, and the Common Impact Data Standard will evolve to more closely mirror the CDM.

This crosswalk is the first step in aligning the Common Impact Data Standard and the Common Data Model for Nonprofits. Common Approach and Microsoft will continue collaborating to further align these models, with a planned update on our progress in Spring 2022.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Common Impact Data Standard, or Common Approach’s other three impact measurement standards, be sure to sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About the Microsoft Nonprofit Accelerator

Microsoft is dedicated to working with nonprofits and partners to develop solutions based on entities and attributes that nonprofits commonly use for constituent management, fundraising, awards, program delivery, and impact tracking. The Common Data Model for Nonprofits (MS NP) and Dynamics 365 nonprofit (NFP) accelerator aim to help organizations eliminate data silos, enabling powerful insights into their data. To learn more about Microsoft’s nonprofit products and offers, please visit their nonprofit page or follow them on Twitter or Facebook

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