Do We Need to Change What We Call Ourselves?

If you’re helping to build a business with a social mission, maybe you can identify with this excerpt from an article I co-wrote in The Guardian.

Suggesting you are a social entrepreneur or work for a social enterprise often sounds a bit silly to first-time listeners. “Is that a fancy way of saying you’re a party planner?” Or “Oh, so you’re on Facebook a lot?” are popular responses to the introduction of our profession….

It is alarming then to learn that we are facing linguistic competition. For when a term is too inclusive and flexible, when it stands for too much, it ends up meaning little. Yet worse than a tepid label is the lost followers and supporters of what the label stands for. Without a name that people understand and can act on, how will they begin to self-identify as agents of social enterprise — and what will they call their work when they do?

Read the rest on The Guardian‘s web site and let me know what you think, in the comments or via email.

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  1. Justin January 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    This is a very good and pertinent point. As a social entrepreneurship coach I have the hardest time with this! Experiencing the same responses as you said above. NO, I’m not talking about social networking!

    Because of this, I changed the mission statement of our non-profit. Now our statement reads: To inspire, empower, and equip passionate people to reach their dreams of changing the world.