Charitable organizations seeking attention and donations in the increasingly competitive online environment now have a new way to stand out.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that starting this week, nonprofits around the world can register for website addresses with new domains—.ngo and .ong—that alert donors they have met certain standards and deserve of a donation.
Only active, independent and nonpolitical charities will be able to purchase the domains from an accredited registrar after having been vetted and approved by Public Interest Registry, a nonprofit group that manages the domains.
The nonprofits will then be able to create profile pages on the online nonprofit directory OnGood, recently launched by Public Interest Registry, and use a payment mechanism called Ammado to solicit donations.
Successful applicants will automatically receive both domains.
The domain acronyms use phrases that both English speakers and those who speak romance languages recognize as referring to nonprofits: NGO, which stands for nongovernmental organization, commonly used in the U.S., and ONG, used in France, Italy, Spain and other countries that speak romance languages.
The OnGood directory, which is written in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, accepts donations in 80 currencies and via 20 payment methods.
According to The Chronicle, Public Interest Registry solicited feedback and conducted workshops in 30 countries over a three-year period to learn what domain features would most benefit nonprofits.
“They want to be trusted online, and they want to connect with donors,” the registry’s chief executive, Brian Cute, told the publication.
Cute also said that one of the registry’s goals was to offer an online presence to small charities in countries with few nonprofits to serve the needy. He foresaw donors searching OnGood for credible local charities seeking donations during disasters.
The report said Public Interest Registry tried to make sure competition for the new domains did not hurt nonprofits that had already trademarked their names.
It said charities that have registered their names with Trademark Clearinghouse had until April 20 to register domain names that match their trademarks.
The Chronicle noted that nonprofits must purchase the domains and ancillary services, such as the directory, through one of sundry accredited registrars that set their own prices.
Cute estimated that many would charge $44 to $50 a year for the domains, $30 of which would go back to Public Interest Registry.
In mid-April, Public Interest Registry will roll out its own registrar, Enset, which will sell the domains and services.