Change.ngo?

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By Akash Ghai, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Development Three (D3)

The Internet.

Without it small and mid-sized NGOs around the world would no longer be able to work efficiently. The .ngo domain is the latest internet/ web-based update seeking to provide NGOs with unique outreach opportunities. For smaller and start-up NGOs it is particularly difficult to attract funding and obtain visibility. It is hoped that by adopting this domain they will be better positioned to achieve success. Some might say that by having this domain NGOs can retain focus and align its organisational development to be just that, an NGO. Yet others may argue that by having a .ngo domain, it can prevent an NGO from moving outside of its lanes. An NGO should it adopt a social enterprise model for example, may be unable to shake off the tag of being “just an NGO.” It’s a glass half empty/full situation.

I personally feel individuals who want to set up an NGO and have little experience in development can use this as an inexpensive way to test the waters. It will be a growing trend among start-up organisations to achieve automatic NGO status. By tracking its progress among start-up organisations, established organisations will be able to get an idea of whether it will help them. The domain name will take time to warm to, after all the .org domain is the golden egg within the global NGO community. However not all start-up NGOs have a global .org focus, some are localised and the .ngo domain could keep them in control of how they build online presence alongside delivering their work.

There are many questions NGOs need to answer before they go down the .ngo route:

 

  • “How long will it take for the .ngo trend to grow?
  • Can we afford to wait for this to happen?”
  • “Will this domain help us attract the people we need to get things moving?”
  • “Where are we headed, will we be working internationally or staying local?”
  • “Will it give us an edge over our competitors?”
  • “What is the back-up plan in case the domain doesn’t help us establish an online presence?”

These self-assessing questions are what NGO leaders should consider. Ultimately, this all depends on where the NGO is positioned. If it’s a start-up, the decision will affect the development and longevity of the NGO. If it’s a small but establishing NGO, it could impact current operations and force a marketing rethink. If it is a mid-sized established NGO, a lengthy assessment is definitely needed.

You can also register your interest in a .ngo domain here: http://pir.org/domains/ngo-ong-domain/ If you run an NGO what are your views? Will you be changing your domain name? Let us know via email: akash@development3.org or send us a tweet @Development_3

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