No More “Deals” (Social Innovation Research Center)

By Patrick Lester

One of the strengths of pay for success is that it brings together several distinct worlds in pursuit of a common goal, including nonprofits, government, and the private sector.

As one might expect, however, the cultures of these different actors can also be very different.  One of these differences can be seen in the use of the word “deal,” whose roots can be traced to the world of finance.

At best, this usage can grate on those who come from a nonprofit or public sector background.  At worst, it suggests a certain detachment from the very people whose lives we are working to improve.

The world of social innovation includes many good people with highly diverse backgrounds and skill sets.  This diversity of talent is one of its central advantages.  However, this is one piece of the social innovator’s lexicon that needs to be put to rest.