The Common Approach is a set of four impact measurement standards that are created for – and governed by – social purpose organizations. This is an inclusive approach to building a standard.
Standards are communities, not documents.
We believe that a standard is a community more than a document. To create a standard, a community must create documents, but it is the community, not the documents that will sustain over time. A standard becomes strong and effective by focusing on building community, not by focusing on building documents.
To create a community we are committed to creating mutli-stakeholder participation that is inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible.
The following guiding principles inform the Common Approaches decisions and actions.
1. The Common Approach is shaped by all its users. The social purpose organizations that adopt the standard have input and decision-making roles in the standards’ ongoing evolution.
- We believe that a standard is a community more than a document. To create a standard, a community must create documents, but it is the community, not the documents that will sustain over time. A standard is made more effective by focusing on the qualities of the community more than on the qualities of the document.
- We are committed to being accountable to all stakeholders through transparent and reliable communications allowing for broad input to ensure relevance and feasibility of adoption.
- We are committed to scaling in an inclusive way, so people and organizations know they are making a difference.
- We create processes that are designed to be inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible.
- We recognize that processes must be proportional to the capacity and resources that the Common Approach has; we will work to secure the resources for a resilient, inclusive, initiative.
- Allowing for complexity and moving at the pace of trust and adoption, we will seek to have a balance between centralized and distributed decision-making that achieves our goals while holding strategies for longer-term impact.
2. We recognize that both impact measurement and standard-setting are practices associated with power, permitting action at distance. We are committed to building impact measurement standards that place the power with operating charities and social-purpose businesses and those they serve, rather than focusing primarily on the impact measurement needs of foundations, grantmakers and impact investors.
- We commit to multi-stakeholder participation that is inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible, as outlined in principle one.
- We commit to developing and promoting impact measurement standards that maintain a plurality of voices in impact accounts.
- We commit to developing and promoting impact measurement standards that have the flexibility to be malleable to the needs of social purpose organizations, rather than imposing burdensome constraints.
- We regularly pause to reflect on ways that the Common Approach to Impact Measurement’s four standards and governance systems distribute power.
- In all the above, we specifically recognize the colonial histories present within impact measurement and many contemporary data practices and that they can promote universalist/colonialist worldviews and clientelism rather than self-determination. The Common Approach recognizes the diversity of jurisdictions, legal regimes, and cultural views on information as a collectively held resource and respects Indigenous Data Sovereignty. We recognize the First Nations principles of ownership, control, access, and possession of First Nations information and data in Canada. We also recognize that Indigenous practices of measurement existed pre-contact. We recognize that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples have developed or are developing distinct principles for the governance of their own data.
We do this through our governance structure, Action Tables, and our engagements with social purpose organizations (such as webinars, surveys and research).
Many people have come together to support the development of the Common Approach.
The initial community-driven processes are nearing completion
A growing community
The Common Approach community is made up of an expanding network of members, partners and supporters. Each of these groups is playing a foundational role in the launch of the Common Approach, helping to set the stage for widespread adoption of its standards.
Executive Director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale
Chantier de l’économie sociale, an independent organisation that brings together actors and partners of the social economy, in order to promote collective entrepreneurship and develop new sectors and tools able to support the emergence of this development model. A privileged interlocutor of the Quebec government in matters of social economy, the Chantier is also recognized internationally for its work to develop an ecosystem to enable the development of the social economy. For several years, Mrs. Alain has been particularly interested in the means and strategies to facilitate dialogue and ultimately the collective action of stakeholders from different sectors and different territories in order to reinforce the development of the social economy. Mrs. Alain, who has a background in economics and political science, is also copresident of the TIESS, an organisation that enables the liaison and transfer of social innovations in the social economy that contribute to territorial development in Quebec, as well as Secretary of the Board of the Chantier de l’économie Trust, a patient-capital fund for social economy enterprises.
Executive Director of EcoEquitable
Anouk has worked in social enterprises, non-profits, and sustainability for the past 15 years. She loves to tackle complex problems with system thinking to tease out new win-win solutions. Anouk is currently the Executive Director of EcoEquitable, a female-centric organization that works primarily with vulnerable and visible minority women. EcoEquitable is the recipient of the United Way’s 2018 Community Builder of Year Award in the category of Poverty to Possibility and the 2019 Best Performance in Social Entrepreneurship by the Best of Ottawa Business Awards. Anouk is currently a member of the National Advisory Board for Common Approach to Impact Measurement, a national project that seeks to create common indicators for charities and purpose-based organizations to use in their work. She is a member of Buy Social’s SUPER Advisory Committee on recommendations for social enterprises wanting to bring their goods to market. She has been interviewed by Social Shifters, Canada’s community for Social Entrepreneurs. Anouk holds an MBA in Sustainable Business. Anouk is bilingual in French and English and identifies as she/her. Read her thoughts on social enterprise on the Pro-Co Cooperative Blog.
Dr. Javaid Hayat
Action for Healthy Communities
Dr. Javaid Hayat is a management and strategic professional with vast experience in various leadership roles in Asia, Europe and in Canada in the non-profit sector. He is skilled in program development & management, monitoring & evaluation, research & analysis, and community capacity building. Currently, he is working with Action for Healthy Communities, Edmonton, Alberta.
Executive Director at Furniture Bank
Dan Kershaw is Executive Director at Furniture Bank, one of Canada’s leading examples of an integrated social enterprise charity. The charity creates homes from housing through the reuse, and redistribution of unwanted furniture and home goods for thousands of families per year. Measuring the social, economic and environmental impact of ending furniture poverty across Canada.
CEO of Ajah, and Director of Powered by Data
Michael Lenczner works in the areas of nonprofit information management and open government and is currently the CEO of Ajah, and Director of Powered by Data, a nonprofit initiative on the MakeWay shared platform. He is a frequent collaborator on academic-community research partnerships and serves on several nonprofit boards and advisory groups related to technology, democracy, and civil society. Since 2018, he has been a Fellow at the School of Public Policy and Administration of Carleton University.
Executive Director Opera.ca
With a 20 year career encompassing senior roles in ballet, dance and opera, Christina has led Opera.ca as Executive Director since 2009 with a deep care agenda focussed on helping the sector build resilience, navigate change, and be a positive force for civic good. Recognized for her innovative thinking, collaborative leadership and cross-sectoral approach, she has launched new initiatives and programming for the opera sector in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship and lean start up principles, and evaluating impact.
Most recently, she has led the development of a unique Civic Impact Framework for Opera in Canada to be released this fall, a powerful new tool for evaluating, measuring and amplifying the social impact of opera in communities across Canada.
Evaluation expert and a knowledge broker
Lynda Rey is an evaluation expert and a knowledge broker. She is passionate about combining scientific knowledge and evaluation approaches to improve management practices and public policies, and drive transformative change. Her research and consulting areas of interest include social innovation, multi-actor partnerships, and evaluation capacity building. In the past 5 years, she has carried out several mandates in strategic planning, performance measurement and evaluation, at local and global levels, with public, philanthropic and community organizations. Lynda was the Director of Evaluation and Learning at the Montreal-based “One Drop Foundation” that strives to achieve sustainable access to drinking water in Central America, Africa and India.
In 2018, Lynda was appointed as Professor of Program Evaluation at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration Publique in Montreal. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Health and a postgraduate degree in Analysis and Evaluation of Health Interventions, both from the University of Montreal. Prior to her Ph.D. she completed a Master's degree in Development Policies and Humanitarian Action at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master’s degree in Political Science at the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Aix-en-Provence, France.
She serves on the editorial advisory board of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, and is a member of both the Canadian and Quebec Evaluation Societies. Finally she is a member of the Order of Chartered Administrators of Quebec.
RBC Corporate Citizenship Impact Measurement practice Lead
Mike Ronchka believes in using data to unlock the potential of people and organizations. He leads the RBC Corporate Citizenship team's Impact Measurement practice, and has a decade of experience in data analytics, change management and communications. In his current role he brings the RBC Impact Measurement Framework to life by illustrating the Social, Environment, Economic, Employee, Brand and Business impacts of enterprise programs and initiatives.
Mike works closely with the Citizenship team and RBC’s charitable partners on leveraging data analytics to identify actionable insights, developing KPIs that drive continuous improvement and enabling compelling communications about RBC's social impact.
He is responsible for developing and deploying the RBC Future Launch dashboard which is used by more than 130 non-profits in Canada to assess program effectiveness in preparing youth for the future of work. The dashboard puts powerful and intuitive data analysis capabilities in the hands of RBC's charitable partners, enabling them to monitor results in real time and benchmark against peers.
Interim Executive Director of the Common Approach
Kate is the interim Executive Director of the Common Approach. She is passionate about flexible standards that give voice to the people whose lives are most affected by organizations’ impact. She has a PhD in Accounting from Schulich School of Business, York University and a MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Sprott School of Business and Co-Director of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation.
Consultant, Learning & Evaluation at Vancity Community Foundation
Bryn Sadownik has been involved in impact measurement and cost-effectiveness analysis for over 20 years leading projects for government, private sector and non-profit organizations. Accomplishments include receiving the Canadian Policy Research Award and leading the Demonstrating Value Initiative (dvtools.org). She currently holds the position of Consultant, Learning & Evaluation at Vancity Community Foundation.
Co-Founder and CEO at RIDDL
Jenelle is a co-founder and CEO at RIDDL, a software that tracks, manages and measures ESGs, impact investments and quantifies returns. Jenelle hosts the podcast Good Done Well for Riddl.
Partner and former Managing Partner of Code + Mortar (norex.ca), an interactive web and invention firm, globally recognized by the Webby’s (the Oscars of the web). Code + Mortar was acquired by Revolve Marketing in 2020.
Jenelle was recognized as the National Emerging Leader in ICT by Women in Communications and Technology (2017), awarded STFX’s Young Alumna of the Year (2017), received Digital Nova Scotia’s Power IT Up Next generation Award (2016), recognized as one of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s Change Agents of the Year (2015).
Jenelle taught social innovation at UNB (2019). Jenelle holds a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation, University of Waterloo (2014), Masters of Arts in Political Science, UNB (2011).
Impact Investment Manager at Vancity Credit Union
Heather Tanaka is Impact Investment Manager at Vancity Credit Union. Her includes managing a Fund-of-Funds that invests in high impact VC funds in sectors that include affordable housing, sustainable food and agriculture, advanced materials, life sciences, Indigenous entrepreneurship, women-led ventures, climate tech, health and wellness tech, and cooperatives. She is also responsible for the Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) of the portfolio. Heather has a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Victoria and an MBA in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University.
Executive Director The Canadian CED Network
Mike Toye has been a consultant on community economic development and the social economy, a social entrepreneur, author, lecturer, researcher and a Policy Analyst for the Library of Parliament. He has been involved with the Canadian Community Economic Development Network since 2000, and been Executive Director since 2008.
Our Supporting Partners
The Common Approach to Impact Measurement is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada by the Government of Canada . The Common Approach is part of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program.
Contributing Community Members
Social enterprises and investors want to move forward with better impact measurement but they want to move forward together. The Common Approach is about building the community that will advance impact measurement together.