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Nonprofit Domain Names
Nonprofit organizations need a good domain name to establish a presence on
the Internet as much as any for-profit business. While people often use
search engines like Google to find information on the Web, most marketing by
nonprofits is still conducted offline. By simply including in that material
an invitation to learn more about the organization through a memorable
domain name, people can take action going online to support your charitable
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a series of letters, numbers or both that directs a visitor
to your Web site. Generally, the easier your domain name is to remember and
associate with your charity, the more likely it is someone will find the
information they need about your nonprofit. An easy to remember domain name
is one that consumers associate with your organization because it matches a
name by which you are known, a service you provide, or is descriptive of
your charitable mission.
As a nonprofit, should the domain name be a .org,
.com or what?
Many nonprofit organizations are found at the .org tld (top level domain).
While this was the initial intention for an orderly Internet, today anyone
can register a dot org domain name. Other top level domains include .com,
.net, .info and .biz in addition to many country codes (for example: .de =
Germany, .fr = France, .uk = United Kingdom and .us = United States). One
issue with the dot org registry is that many people, and Americans in
particular, have been conditioned to use dot com (.com) when typing a web
address and often do so accidentally. There is no reason, other than cost or
availability, that a nonprofit canít use a dot com name either with or
without having registered the corresponding dot org. Some are choosing other
extensions like .info or .us - for the United States - as it is difficult to
find the exact domain name you need due to the high number of current
registrations in the dot com and dot org registries.
What does a domain name cost?
A domain name can cost as little as $10 or so to register new although
almost all easy to remember and relevant domain names already have been
registered. Many good domain names, however, can be obtained from domain
resellers on a secondary market but not for $10. Often good domain names
sell for premium prices but can be worth it for the value it brings to an
organization. Nonprofits will spend an enormous amount of money on a single
mailing or advertisement to achieve a low response rate compared to how
little they would consider paying for a premium domain name with long-term
value. Good domain names in the .org tld can be obtained for $500 to $5,000
but the price of some dot org domain names can reach much higher. As the
Internet increasingly is used for outreach, advocacy and fundraising,
nonprofit organizations will begin to realize the value of an easy to
remember domain name.
Why is a memorable domain name valuable to a
There are several reasons.
When advertised, an easy to remember domain
name helps people find your Web site which is an inexpensive way to offer
in-depth information, automated donation services, volunteer recruitment
An easy to remember domain that is relevant
to the organizationís name or mission provides a level of instant
credibility and professionalism.
Every time you send email, you market your
brand or service.
How do I register a new domain name or buy an
It is easy to register a new domain name. Most domain registration Web sites
have a search function that will allow you to try all sorts of word, letter
and number combinations to find a domain name that is available for
registration. Some include additional services like a free or low-cost Web
site builder that can help an organization create a basic Web site without
needing special skills. If you can type and click a mouse, you can create a
Web site with these programs. A domain name registrar called Enom has a good
selection of services that are offered free or at low cost with domain name
registrations. There are many resellers of Enomís services that charge just
$10 to $15 dollars for domain names.
How do I buy or make an offer on a domain name
someone has already registered?
To buy an existing domain name can be a challenge. There are online
marketplaces including Sedo.com or Afternic.com with searchable databases of
domains for sale. Some domains are priced, others are listed for offers, and
each site has a system for making an anonymous offer for a domain name.
Another way to purchase a domain name that is already registered is to
contact the domain registrant directly to make an offer. If the domain is
being used, it is unlikely it will be for sale. If it is not being used, a
decent offer may produce a sale. You can find the contact information for a
registrant by checking through a process called a whois search. Simply enter
a domain name and a record of registration information will be provided.