Common Impact Data Standard
The data standard makes better analysis possible
You can think of the Common Impact Data Standard as an organization system for your impact data. It provides a place for everything so that everything can be in its place. This makes it easier to share and aggregate data. Softwares can be more easily designed to support better impact analysis.
What is the Common Impact Data Standard
The Common Impact Data Standard is an organization system for your impact data that allows for easier sharing, aggregation and portfolio-level analysis of impact data.
The Common Impact Data Standard, released in collaboration with Mark Fox at the Centre for Social Services Engineering at the University of Toronto, is a standard for representing impact data that allows for data to be shared, aggregated and compared.
To create this standard, the Common Approach consulted with experts and aligned with other leading standards, such as the Impact Management Project, which itself consulted with over 2000 impact professionals.
Following the norms identified by the Impact Management Project, the Common Impact Data Standard has defined the necessary objects and relationships to represent the who, what, how much, contribution and risk of impact. These are the five dimensions of impact as identified by the Impact Management Project. In addition to those five dimensions, the Common Impact Data Standard includes information on inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes (as would be in a program logic model or theory of change) to describe how the impact occurs.
The how is important for questions around “what works”. The Common Impact Data Standard represents the who, what, how much, contribution and risk of impact, plus how. This means that this data standard is sufficiently well specified that it can support the representation of gold-standard impact measurement (there is a space for everything); but it does not oblige, mandate or even facilitate social purpose organizations to populate all the fields.
This standard provides a flexible, reputable standard for representing impact models and impact data electronically.
Non-expert Guide to the Data Standard
This is a quick study guide for people who are new to the Common Impact Data Standard.
Data standards tell you what to record and how to represent it.
Impact software aligned with the Common Approach
The Common Impact Data Standard is embedded into these social impact softwares so that social purpose organizations can have access to the standard without becoming data scientists. When looking for an impact data tracking tool, look for one that is aligned with the Common Approach.
We need a system that enables us to have everything feed into a report or some kind of centralized database, because it’s not always obvious what each of our individual data points is telling us about our impact on a larger scale.
Ontologies: Published by the University of Toronto
This work is being done in collaboration with Professor Mark Fox at the Centre for Social Services Engineering at the University of Toronto.
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The Common Impact Data Standard is almost complete
The Data Standard is an incredibly powerful component of impact measurement.
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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.
Kate Ruff and Elizabeth Searing describe the organizational information and financial indicators that are part of the Common Form.