I came across this article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (a publication you should get by the way) that proposes the idea that we change the way we refer to the organizations that live in the "nonprofit" world.
I have to say my initial reaction to this idea was "Why does it matter?"
The author then makes a very compelling argument, in a very well written way, as to why it does. Think about what the words non and profit mean. In it's basic form, it implies simply that the organization simply doesn't generate a profit.
Kind of boring description don't you think?
When you dig deeper, you learn that when you combine both words into one, it becomes what nonprofit executive Dan Pallotta describes:
I still don't know what etymologically means exactly, but the point remains...the term to describe the field in which we work is not reflective of the work we actually do. Feeding the hungry, counseling the mentally ill, preserving our oceans, and finding cures for diseases are not simply bottom-line institutions. Sure they need to be run with sound financial and structural leadership and guidance; but what we do is simply this:
Improve our world.
So I join Ms. Gauss in the movement to change the term nonprofit, into something that reflects the impact of a sector working hard to improve many aspects of our world and lives.
I like social impact sector, although it doesn't roll off the tongue well. What do you think?