Allow us to reintroduce ourselves. We’re Bespoke Social Profit Solutions.
You might know us as Bespoke Non-Profit Solutions, the name that been on our email signatures for the last nine-plus years. In fact, many of you probably know us simply as Bespoke. If you’re one of those who hasn’t studied the fine print under the big letters of our logo, or if you’ve been scrolling LinkedIn on your phone without your glasses on (guilty!), this name change might have passed you right on by. But we think it deserves a little bit of your attention, so let’s chat about it.
We’ll be (respectfully) provocative and say that the terms “non-profit” and “charity” just aren’t doing our sector any favours. In fact, as Dan Pallotta explains so very well in his 2013 TedTalk (if you haven’t listened to the talk, we highly recommend!), the ways we’ve been taught to think about these terms are undermining the causes we love. “Social problems are massive in scale and our organizations are tiny up against them – and we have beliefs keeps them tiny”, Pallotta says. And we agree!
Talking about charitable organizations as non-profits minimizes their impact. We don’t have to tell you that your favourite charitable organizations are difference makers, and not just to the people, places or pets that direct benefit from their programs or services. They’re key contributors to health and vibrancy of the societies in which they operate. And, if you want to talk numbers, in Alberta these organizations supply close to 300,000 jobs and account for $5.5 billion in GDP annually, according to CCVO’s The Nonprofit Vote.
Social profit is a big idea, and our sector is all about thinking big. We tackle issues that are massive in scale, so we need to stop minimizing ourselves. As Pallotta says, too many organizations “are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done.” There’s a prevailing sentiment in the charitable sector that spending money is bad, especially on things like talent and operations, but to come up with and execute the innovative ideas that will truly produce social profit, charities need adequate time, space, and resources. We’re big proponents of trust-based philanthropy, and we also know that with this trust comes great responsibility. Shifting to a social profit mindset requires funders and charitable organizations to work together create conditions where trust prevails. It’s time to stop rewarding organizations for keeping themselves as small as possible and, instead, celebrate those that are creating the biggest possible impact.
While our name got a small (but important!) makeover, let’s talk about what’s not changing. For close to a decade, we’ve crafted revenue generating strategies and provided governance, marketing, communications, and strategic planning insights to the organizations that help make the world a better place, and that’s still what we’re all about. Our collaborative and immersive way of working isn’t going anywhere. And we’ll keep encouraging our clients to be bold and imagine the unimaginable. We’re proud to work with the people and the organizations that make our world a better place, and we’re excited for what’s to come as we move forward as Bespoke Social Profit Solutions.