At the Common Approach to Impact Measurement, we are ardent believers in impact measurement. And we want you to be too. However, we invite you to embrace impact measurement with all its limitations in full view. Some people become fanatical about impact measurement, seeing it as a solution to all problems. It is tempting to look for silver-bullet solutions, but ultimately we need diverse solutions that allow for the complexities of society. We want you to see impact measurement for what it is, for what it can be, and for what it can never be or do.

Common Foundations

Limits of Impact Measurement: Colonialism

As noted in our blog post regarding Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconcilliation and in our Guiding Principles,  we 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.

We are still learning what anti-colonialist measurement looks like. We also recognize that Indigenous practices of measurement existed pre-contact and we are working on making sure that our standards become anti-colonialist. If you have ideas on that, please be in touch!

For the time being, please reflect on the extent to which impact measurement is right for your organization before you adopt the five essential practices.

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Limits of Impact Measurement: Consequentialism

Limits of Impact Measurement: Consequentialism

Impact measurement measures outcomes—specifically, changes in social or environmental outcomes as a result of an organization’s activities. Different theories of ethics play out in the different ways that people understand and define social enterprise and social economy enterprises.

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