CIDS - Common Impact Data Standard

The Common Impact Data Standard is a standardized way to represent a social purpose organization’s (SPO) impact model (i.e. their theory of change, logic model, outcome chain, etc). It is a way to represent impact as defined by the Impact Management Project Norms (now housed at Impact Frontiers). It enables the exchange of impact information between organizations regardless of the impact models being used.

We understand “impact” as a change in outcomes for people and the planet. To represent impact, the Common Impact Data Standard represents the five dimensions: what, who, how much, contribution and risk, plus a sixth dimension of how.

Built on linked data and using the JSON-LD exchange format, the Common Impact Data Standard also allows for data interoperability. This means that any aligned software can read the bespoke data sets and reports coming in from another aligned software platform. Links to data can be shared from platform to platform with little human effort.

The Common Impact Data Standard represents impact models We use “impact models” as a general term to describe a family of similar relational maps such as a logic model, logical framework analysis, a theory of change, outcome chain, impact map, results framework, and outcomes map. The Common Impact Data Standard also represents the processes by which an SPO delivers outcomes to or with its stakeholders.

The Common Impact Data Standard is defined using the OWL semantic web ontology language and conforms to linked data standards.

A widely adopted data standard will create a uniform representation of impact while allowing each organization the flexibility to design an impact model that is most relevant to it and its stakeholders.