Investors & Funders

The Common Approach helps investors and funders get the impact data they need without imposing additional burdens on the organizations they fund.

The Common Approach is a standard designed around the needs of the businesses and charities that you support. This is not an investors-focused standard. This complements those standards in ways your fundees and grantees will appreciate. 

Working with meaningful indicators.

Common Approach indicators are not imposed. Social purpose organizations work with the indicators that are meaningful to them and funders and investors can roll them up to the portfolio level.

Here’s how it works

The Common Foundations

The Common Foundations is a minimum standard for impact measurement practices. You can look for alignment with the Common Foundations as part of your due-diligence as an indication that the social purpose organization truly has its eye on impact. You can request your grantees and investees align with the Common Foundations without burdening them. The Common Foundations specifies a level of impact measurement practices, without dictating any particular method or approach. It is a minimum standard that is obtainable. 

The Common Impact Data Standard

Collecting data is a pain. We know. It’s like a spreadsheet tornado. There is a better way. Software!

The software option is available without a Common Impact Data Standard but it requires that you force all your investees and grantees to use the same platform you do. Data collection is easy for you, but your grantees and investees are not happy campers. 

Or, you can use a software that is aligned with the Common Impact Data Standard. Now you have easy impact data management. If your grantees are on a different software, no problem. As long as it aligns with the Common Impact Data Standard, they can send you information. Or, if they are happy in the spreadsheet tornado, as long as they set up their spreadsheet using the data standard, it too can be imported. With the Common Impact Data Standard, you get easy impact data management, and you look like a hero to your investees and grantees who are gratedul to be able to choose the software solution that meets their needs, not yours. 

The Common Form

Help ease the reporting burden of the social purpose organizations you support. Soon to be ready, the Common Form is a great tool that will make grant and funding applications simpler for social purpose organizations. This will be available shortly for investors and funders to offer to their grantees.

Coming soon. Stand by. 

The Common Framework

The Common Framework works together with the Common Form and the Common Impact Data Standard to roll-up organization-level indicators for a portfolio-level view of impact.

Coming soon. Stand by.


The Common Approach is Community-Driven

Be part of the community shaping the direction of the Common Approach to impact measurement.  

The Social Funders Advisory Board

Investors and grantmakers have come together to establish the inaugural Social Funders Advisory Board. They are reviewing the Common Approach’s standards and progress with investors and grantmakers needs’ in mind. 

The Social Funders Advisory Board is convened by Tessa Hebb, Distinguished Research Fellow, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Contact for more information on the Social Funders Advisory Board.

I believe that the common processes recommended will greatly enhance the capabilities of social enterprises to understand and tell their own impact stories, while simultaneously providing a framework for the whole sector to demonstrate the aggregated impact. 

Tessa Hebb

Distinguished Research Fellow, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation


Common Organizational Information

This document outlines the content of a common organizational profile that will convey to investors and other funders details about the type and nature of the organization.

The Common Foundations of Impact Measurement

At their foundation, all the many tools and approaches to measuring impact share the same five essential practices. Read the essential practices in full.

Creating Flexible Standards

This case study outlines how a flexible standard can be created for social and environmental indicators.

Videos on this topic

Why a Common Approach? (3:42 minutes)

Social Funders Advisory Board

Investor Group

Grantor Group

More like this

Showcase your alignment

Showcase your alignment

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.

read more
Four approaches to evaluation

Four approaches to evaluation

Meet consultants Cathy Lang, Kerri Klein, Laurie Ringaert, and Garth Yule. They have incorporated Common Foundations into their work with social purpose organizations.

read more

Get email notifications

The Common Approach is a community-driven effort. Get updates and notifications on events and opportunities.

Thanks for subscribing.