new language

Why I don’t like the term “non profit”

  • It starts with a negative
  • It refers to tax status as opposed to purpose
  • It implies penury
  • It doesn’t include businesses that were founded with a social mission, which are increasingly important in our efforts to create meaningful and sustainable change on a global scale
  • It doesn’t include government agencies with a focused mission, which are also important to social change
  • It’s just plain old school

For a while now I’ve been struggling with finding language to describe people and organizations dedicated to social, environmental or spiritual change. As I wrote my webpage, which is dedicated to helping these people and organizations thrive, I kept bumping my head against this absence of vocabulary and promised myself to start a conversation here on TripTych to generate new language for this exciting development in our society.

I see a powerful, emerging movement that blurs the lines between traditional nonprofits, grassroots organizations, political movements, government agencies and socially-oriented businesses. What shall we call this movement?

Here are some ideas I’ve heard, but none are perfect, of course. If you have others you like, please share them!



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