Earlier this year, registration opened for nonprofits who wanted to reserve .ngo and .ong domains for themselves. The domains, which stand for “Nongovernmental Organization” and its romance-language equivalent, are managed by the Public Interest Registry, itself a nonprofit, and are available only to vetted nonprofit organizations. Should your organization move your site to an .ngo domain? Here are some cases where the move might be a good decision:
If Your Organization Does International Work
The term “NGO” might not be super prevalent in the United States, but it’s a very familiar term for many other countries all over the globe. If your organization works extensively outside the country, having an .ngo or .ong domain will immediately signal to your international audience and donors that you’re a legitimate nonprofit organization.
If You Want the Credibility
The .ngo and .ong domains are closed domains, and any organization that applies for one of those domains goes through a vetting process before getting their domain. The eligibility requirements set in place by the Public Interest Registry require that all organizations with .ngo/.ong addresses are legal nonprofits that are active, independent, and trustworthy. Any organization that meets their requirements are put into a registry, which can be reassuring to donors who want to be sure they support legal, trustworthy organizations.
If You’re Concerned About Your Brand
Brand preservation is a huge deal in the nonprofit industry (and most other industries, for that matter). Because the .ngo/.ong domains are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, many nonprofits rushed to snap up names that they’re already using with other web suffixes. If you’re concerned that another nonprofit might claim a domain name that’s very similar to your own, it might be worth dropping the money to reserve it for yourself.
If You’re a New Organization
If you haven’t already set up your nonprofit’s website with a .org address or something similar, it’d definitely be worth using a .ngo/.ong domain. The two domains come as a package (you don’t have to buy the two separately) and you don’t have to worry about re-training your readers and donors to go to a new web address. You also probably already have to provide proof of your nonprofit status to other entities, like your bank and online donation provider, so the vetting process shouldn’t require a ton of new work.
What do you think? Will you sign up for an .ngo domain or stick with the domain you already have?