The Inspiration Sector

It has always irked me that our sector is defined by what it is not, i.e. the ‘non’ profit sector. Even more irkesome is when you go back to the roots of the word profit, which Dan Pallotta does in his book Uncharitable, and realize ‘profit’ means ‘progress’. So we’re the non-progress sector. Hmmm.

Last time I checked, we were very much about progress. Progress on education, poverty eradication, sustainability, public health, the arts. You name it, we’re pretty much in it to make progress that will lead to a healthier planet with happier people living on it. It’s pretty audacious to think we can achieve this type of  progress given how challenging the issues are that we’re tackling. Like President Obama, we have the audacity of hope.

I think this type of audacity is inspiring.

Many alternatives to ‘non profit’ have been floated–third sector, social change sector, social sector. [And as Chanelle Carver pointed out in the comments below, there’s a logical extention of Hildy Gottlieb‘s concept of Community Benefit Organizations to Community Benefit Sector. Thanks Chanelle for making this connection!)

I’d like to add an alternative to the list: the Inspiration Sector. (And, if someone else has already floated this, then I’d like to second the submission!)

I realize it’d take time for us to adjust to an entirely new name and that there are pragmatic implications (think of all that web copy we’d need to update!), but I, for one, would love to wake up every day and say, “I’m off to work in the Inspiration Sector!”

Want work in the Inspiration Sector with me?

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  1. I like Inspiration Sector! And I definitely welcome a change to the term nonprofit sector. Hildy Gottlieb has been floating around another term for some time – community benefit organization, so I’d take that as working in the community benefit sector. My concern is that people from the personal development/growth fields may object as a large part of what they…we do is about motivating and inspiring others. So there would seem to be an overlap. What do you think?

    • If there’s an overlap and overabundance of inspiration, I’d say we–and the world–would be all the better for it! A bounty of inspiration would be fantastic. Thanks for highlighting Hildy’s community benefit concept. I’ve incorporated it into the post.

  2. This is a longstanding need/discussion… Nicely stated… I’m definitely a Hildy fan and believe in the “Community Benefit Sector” but have always wanted something more concise. I personally think of ours as the “Mission Sector” but also really like “Inspiration Sector.” The reason I like “Mission Sector” is that I think the business (for-profit) world has long known they a mission is employed to get money, whereas we know money is employed to meet a mission. This is the fundamental distinction in the economics of our sector from the other.


  1. […] glad I work in the Inspiration Sector and got to be inspired by this fantastic group of change […]

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