From Social Justice to Social Profit: How this ONE word changes everything.
Saturday afternoon I ripped open the package our mailperson handed me, and a sticky note inside read “Mitzi, here’s the book promised on our last call.” The book, “The Social Profit Handbook” by David Grant. Heard about it? Read it? This summer David and I presented at the Artist Thrive Summit (go ahead and click that link to learn more!). During his presentation, my mental radar went off when I first heard the term SOCIAL PROFIT I was ready to shout Aaamen, YaaaS! (and midway of his presentation, actually I did.) David recently said to me; the phrase “social profit” is sometimes synonymous with “social justice,” but the noun “profit” makes us look at it in a different way. (Hmmmm tell me more). It is not an abstract do-gooder idea; it is a highly-desired end. It helps frame social profit as a choice, and as something to invest in. Otherwise the quest for financial profit always wins, even if it demonstrably reduces or inhibits social profit of all sorts. Why would anyone call your work of creating social change not for profit? Your work really moves society forward! In these challenging times we must make it plain to our mayors, chancellors, and funders that our work is vitally important to our communities and yields incredible outcomes. The Social Profit Handbook offers prompts for organizations to describe social profit together allowing for that oh so important mission time of creating a shared vision, reflecting, experimenting, and learning. AND THEN, dig this: plan backwards from there! How about us setting the perimeters of a rubric that we’ll use to measure the success of what matters most to us. This kind of focus and attention gets us to where we actually want to go as change-makers. SOCIAL PROFIT. We gotta proudly wear this label. The process of defining and reckoning, and holding ourselves responsible for social profit can be long, but with clarity of purpose and patient leadership, the process bends towards outcomes that are more fair and just and ultimately more desirable for everyone.
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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” you already know–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.