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.
.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.
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.