Monthly Archives: August 2015

Is upgrading to .NGO worth it?

If you’re in tune with the Nonprofit Twitterverse, you may have read that .ORG is going the way of the dodo, and upgrading to .NGO is necessary for any nonprofit that wants to stay relevant. But is it really worth the hassle? The NGOpocalypse isn’t upon us just yet but, at the cost of only about $50, migrating over early (or even just parking your domain) is a great investment in your 501c3’s future.

 

Finally, a parking job you can be proud of.

Finally, a parking job you can be proud of.

 

.ORG, the current gold standard for nonprofits, has been around for thirty years. It definitely exudes more legitimacy than .COM or the much-maligned .NET, but there’s still a certain percentage of casual web visitors that will have doubts about donating or even signing up for a newsletter online because unlike .GOV and .EDU, .ORG doesn’t require independent validation. This inability to instill virtual confidence spells trouble for start-ups especially, though it harms all nonprofits that can’t rely fully on person-to-person fundraising (in other words, all nonprofits). The fact that hypothetically any yokel could’ve snagged the domain savethechildren.org is the reason why the self-proclaimed “public interest registry” OnGood began to work out the possibility of upgrading to .NGO.

Not that the new validation process is strenuous; it requires little more than an FBI determination letter. Even so, .NGO (and its Latin language family equivalent, .ONG) will help wonderful lesser-known nonprofits surmount the surprisingly debilitating obstacle of proving that they’re not profiteering tricksters. The main drawback to the whole process is that it requires buying the domain from a registrar and opening a profile with OnGood. The former task is getting simpler each month, though some big domain name players, notably GoDaddy, haven’t joined the fray just yet. The latter is somewhat annoying because OnGood is set up so that pages that no one had time to “personalize” for an hour or four look like colonial North Carolina cheese – “sad and full of holes,” as one dismayed colonist put it. If your nonprofit dares to set up a donation option via Ammado, which is actually an amazing service that accepts contributions in 75 currencies, that’s further investment of your poor beleaguered intern’s time.

 

You might miss .ORG the way those colonists missed British cheese, but don’t look back.

 

If you are willing to invest four hours and $50, upgrading to .NGO makes enormous sense. There’s no question that early adopters benefit from having their pick of domain addresses and that this “global experiment” will eventually bear fruit in the form of a better philanthropic experience. Even if you’re not down for migrating over just yet, you can always purchase and park your future .NGO home.

Though it may well be three years from now, please consider investing in page-by-page migration when you’re ready to say au revoir to your .ORG, forwarding every document and taking care of those pesky 301 errors. This will ensure that all the SEO juice you worked so hard for will follow you on your .NGO adventure. After all, erasing doubts about the legitimacy of your nonprofit won’t be very useful if people can’t find it anymore!

Looking for tips on keeping your website exciting, relevant, and reassuring to prospective donors? We’d love to help out! Get in touch with our team at Wild Fundraising here.    

Our Children LA: A Roof is not a Home

A Los Angeles nonprofit named Our Children LA is charting an unprecedented course by bringing technology, information, and people of all stripes together to improve the lives of homeless youth.

 

 

our children la

Group shot of OCLA’s constiuency. No big deal.

 

For the last two weeks, our intrepid group of Wild Fundraisers has been helping Dr. Denise McCain-Tharnstrom sew up an abundant amount of content for the new website of Our Children LA. It’s been quite an experience from the get-go! From a content writer (or grant writer’s) perspective, the first task is to find a voice, something particularly challenging for this project precisely because the website expects to serve not only bigwig philanthropists but homeless teens, librarians, social workers, researchers, government officials, and one million hamburgers too. On top of that, nonprofit websites need to appeal to foundation representatives, so a certain amount of Board-approved nonprofit lingo is mandatory. And on top of that, certain sections needed to appear neutral, such as the fact sheets, whereas others needed to be calling an outraged community to action. How did we do? Well, time will tell, but we think we created content that every site visitor will find accessible and welcoming, while sprinkling in some unexpected anti-jargon to help Our Children LA distinguish itself from other nonprofits with similar mission statements.

Over the course of this project, though, what turned out to be the real challenge was learning to stomach the horrible details about the lives of homeless children and teens in Los Angeles. Both foster care and the juvenile justice system, for example, are rigged to funnel disadvantaged kids onto the streets. Other youth get thrown out of their parents’ homes for being gay or pregnant, or run away to escape abuse so vile that they actually rate their ability to remove themselves from it, even at the cost of becoming homeless, one of their proudest accomplishments. A statistic that stuck with us in particular: In a survey of homeless Los Angeles youth, 40% said they felt safer on the street than they’d felt in the home they left behind.

 

runaways

Part of the bank’s 1962 child abuse-themed ad campaign.

 

 

Through WIN, Our Children LA’s mobile app, the organization will offer these kids something innovative: Not only technology capable of connecting them with open shelter beds, open soup kitchens, and other resources, but an invitation to collaborate in and even guide community efforts to end youth homelessness. Through WIN – which stands for “What I Need,” a name Dr. McCain-Tharnstrom came up with in the shower – homeless kids and teens will be able to tell well-meaning Angelinos precisely what they need.

 

slot 1 coming soon

#winning

 

We’re as excited as anyone for WIN’s launch and for the first truly community-wide response to youth homelessness in Los Angeles. Judging from what’s already out there, our hunch is that what these children will tell us they need is so much more than just a roof over their heads. A roof isn’t a home. They need a path away from abuse, foster care, and the juvenile justice system. They need education and a means to heal from trauma, affordable housing and an end to being judged and vilified. If Our Children LA has its way, the voice that finally announces the end of youth homelessness in Los Angeles will belong to the children themselves.

 

Want to learn more about this amazing nonprofit? Visit ourchildrenla.org or send questions to the Wild Fundraising publicity team.