Don’t forget the URL

For many reasons, organizations often consider a name change.  Or, more likely, a new organization needs to come up with a catchy name.  Finding the right name is important, and for nonprofits that want to be known and remembered, having the right name can make all the difference in the world.

We even had a nonprofit Foundation hire us to help wage a PR fight for a domain that they said was rightfully their’s, but was registered by a former employee.  An intellectual property attorney was engaged and was able to force the return of the domain.

The primary reason a nonprofit might change its name is because the name no longer reflects the mission of the agency.  If those served has expanded, the organization’s board wants the name of the organization to reflect the new reality.  Usually the reason is fundraising, thinking the circle of donors will widen if the organization’s name is more inclusive.

But after the new name is chosen and everybody is relieved and thrilled, one task is often forgotten.  That is finding out if the internet domain name is available.  As we all know, it is almost impossible to register the domain name, with the right extension, that an organization wants.  There are just too many organizations and only so many domains available.

That’s why from the moment an organization decides on its name, someone should immediately see if the domain is available.  If it is not, then the nonprofit may have to compromise on not getting the (dot) org and settle for (dot) com or (dot) something else.  More likely, they will have to try different combinations, adding dashes or the initials of the city.

We have had many PR clients that have undergone the name change process.  When doing so, our first recommendation is to find out if their first choice for a domain is available.  It often isn’t, but then the work begins.

This is not to say an organization should create a name based on the domain(s) available.  That would be working backwards.  But when the decision is made, don’t waste any time checking on the domain and hopefully you’ll reserve the domain that fits your organization and makes the Board happy.