Mission driven venture. Double and triple bottom lines. Not for profit, instead of nonprofit. Emerging cities, not depressed cities. Growth capital, distinguished from operating capital. For use on Twitter: #socent. 

Any new job will come with a unique glossary of terms and the social sector is no different.

Though not as acronym-heavy as other industries, many are still confused with what we are trying to do. Conferences, TED Talks and visiting lecturers, ostensibly targeted towards people who have an interest in social enterprise, nonetheless devote a significant amount of time to explaining what exactly it is.

On the flip side, while many people might not be well-versed in the social sector jargon and are quick to write it off, once they are engaged in a conversation on the topic, they get it.

You are trying to have a positive impact on people’s lives and the world? Yes. But you are also paying the bills? Yes. And you don’t have to choose one or the other? Exactly.

Just as a business model is most effective when its mission is fully integrated into its core operations, the best ambassadors for social enterprise are those who can speak about mission and business simultaneously and seamlessly.

Why not align a company’s success with its surrounding community? Why not source materials from facilities with positive labor environments? Why not develop products for people with the most direct physical needs?

So don’t worry about writing the social-to-English dictionary, but instead speak plainly and simply about the concept of doing good while doing well for yourself. Because people will not only understand it, they might just come on board.

As the movement grows, everybody benefits, whether they use phraseology that is in vogue or not.

- Dan Ostermueller

Dan is a 2014 Inspire Impact Summer Fellow