Selecting the right URL for your nonprofit domain name is an important step in the beginning of the journey of creating your online presence.
By choosing the right domain name for your nonprofit, it will cause your site to be more trustworthy for all—from your constituents to search engines and more. You want a URL that is easy for people to remember and to reference in casual conversations.
There are several key factors to take into consideration when making this choice. In this article, I’ll discuss 5 points for selecting your ideal nonprofit domain name.
The Nonprofit Domain Name Extension
First, a nonprofit organization’s domain name should end in .org, .ngo, or .ong (or match your country’s code, like .org.uk if you’re in the UK).
By ending your site in these three extensions, you’re signaling to your audience (your donors, constituents, volunteers, etc) that you are an organization and not a for-profit business. You don’t want to be misconstrued as a business before a person even visits your site.
Just a quick note—the .org domain extension does not require proof of nonprofit status to register, but .ngo does.
Shorter Is Better for Your Nonprofit Domain Name
A short, memorable domain is more important than a domain that includes your entire organization’s name.
Domains should be as short as possible and be made of whole words, not abbreviations, in order to be legible and memorable.
Here are a couple of examples of shorter domain names for longer organization names:
- HumaneSociety.org represents The Humane Society of the United States
- Rescue.org represents the International Rescue Committee
Ideally, your nonprofit domain name should be two words or less.
Because of the shorter length of your URL, the domain may be more expensive than a longer one. However, the investment may be worth it! If your audience remembers your domain incorrectly, would that cost you?
Choose An Acronym or Use Whole Words In Your Domain — Not Both
You can use your nonprofit organization’s acronym or abbreviation in your domain name, but only if it’s a well-known version of the name.
It’s important not to mix up the use of acronyms and whole words, though, because this will make your nonprofit domain name harder to remember or understand.
A perfect example is ASPCA.org—this is much easier to remember and communicate than “AmericanSocietyPCA” or “ASPreventionCA.”
Use Easy-To-Spell Words or Keywords
When choosing your domain name, make sure to use words that are easy-to-spell or contain keywords for who your nonprofit organization helps. As mentioned above, rescue.org is short for the International Rescue Committee.
Your domain name is not the place to be clever with unique spelling or puns. By using spellable words or recognizable keywords, your URL will again be more memorable.
How to Communicate Your Nonprofit Domain Name
No matter what you choose, it’s important to communicate your domain name using CamelCase (where the first letter of every word is capitalized).
You should do this when:
- Writing the domain name on marketing materials
- Including the URL on images
- Sharing the domain in a link, like in an email
By writing your nonprofit domain name out this way, your URL will be accessible to screen readers and will be read aloud to someone as “Your Domain dot org” instead of letter by letter, like “Why. Oh. You. Are. Dee. Oh. Em. Ay. Eye. En. dot org.”
As a bonus, writing out your domain in CamelCase makes it easier for all users to read and understand, too.
(Of course, if your domain name is an acronym, you’ll use all uppercase or lowercase letters.)
These tips will guide you to choose the perfect domain name for your nonprofit organization. If you need some guidance, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you in these beginning stages!