How to align with the Common Form

Aligning with the Common Form will make organizational information easier for your clients to share or receive, providing important context to impact measurement data. 

The Common Form

The Common Form was created to contextualize the impact data collected using the Common Impact Data Standard. By adding more context about the organization behind the impact recorded using the Common Impact Data Standard, assessors are able to “compare fair,” so that factors such as geography, size, age, legal form, mission and program design could be considered when comparing impact data. This is an essential complement to the Common Impact Data Standard.

The Common Form:

  • Provides a standard representation for key organizational and financial data
  • Complements account user profiles on your existing platform
  • Complements the implementation of the Common Impact Data Standard
  • Supports interoperability between impact measurement and fund management softwares
  • Facilitates direct applications for funding
Formal language: OWL (Web ontology language) Interchange
Format: JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data)

Why align with the Common Form?

The Common Form will allow your software, database or website to:

  • enable the representation of precise definitions of organizational data points
  • foster data interoperability of information between organizations
  • make the details of an organization interpretable by a computer
  • empower your clients to apply for grants, loans or investments directly from their impact data’s home base

As we expand the roster of aligned impact management and grant/fund management softwares, the Common Form ontology will allow social purpose organizations who want to share their data, and the linked details, to do so at very little cost.

How to align with the Common Form

How to align:


Read through the Common Form Technical Guide and associated resources.

Consult the alignment checklist to learn more about what is required to align and determine which alignment level (basic, essential or full) works best for your software.

Reach out to Common Approach’s Standards Lead to get an official alignment agreement and support.

(Optional) Schedule technical support time with the Common Approach staff—you will receive up to six hours as part of the official alignment process.

Do the work to align your software with the Common Form. Complete the checklist based on your committed tier of alignment.


Check in with us for a final attestation of alignment once you’re done.

(Optional) Send us your logo! We’ll list you among the aligned software on our website and officially welcome you to our aligned softwares on social media.

Alignment with the Common Form is a dual-tier effort that should complement and not encumber your alignment with the Common Impact Data Standard.

Levels of Alignment


The software can capture an essential level of data most common to exchanges of organizational information.

The Classes included are:

  • Organization
  • Financial Information
  • Project
  • Funding Request


The software can capture a sophisticated level of organization data, including XBRL financial reports, and organizational assessments and standards like B-Corp, Imagine Canada and others.

All Essential Classes, plus:

  • All types of organizational data
  • XBRL reports

See the alignment checklist for more details about the properties for each of these classes.

Stay tuned for a list of aligned softwares and websites!

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