Last updated on February 12th, 2019
Naming an organization is the first step towards its branding journey. A lot of thought needs to be given to the naming process as it makes a lot of difference in connecting with the audience. All companies, whether they deal in consumables, hedge funds, hospitality, and even charity organizations, rely upon their memorability amongst the masses.
Although many organizations spend a considerable amount of money into researching and generating good company names, it does not guarantee its effectiveness. On the other hand, sometimes it takes a handful of people with the correct vision and accurate insight into the business, its audience, and purpose to come up with a spectacular name.
A company’s success can also be measured by its reach and engagement amongst the audience. How familiar is the name across household? Can people place the company as soon as they hear the name? Are people able to connect the name of the company with its products or purpose? These are some essential questions that must be taken into consideration while naming an organization.
When it comes to charity organizations, it is imperative to be careful while finalizing a name. Influential names among the top charities such as Red Cross, Salvation Army, Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood Federation of America are great examples of strong business names. While all these charity organizations deal in various spheres, their purpose is clear from their name itself.
The best approach to creating a great business name is to address the task systematically. Each step has its own significance and must be given due time and attention.
Let’s Have A Look At How To Generate Business Name Ideas For Charity Organizations
01. Brainstorm And Generate Multiple Ideas
As you start thinking of prospective names for a charity organization, do not be hasty in the process. Sit with the people you believe can provide the best input and ideas for a brainstorming session. Try to come up with as many possible names, combinations and even ideas. The key is to remember no idea is a bad idea at this stage. The focus at this stage should be solely and primarily idea generation. These ideas can work as inspiration for names, even if you change your mind halfway through the process. Don’t dismiss any ideas thinking that all great charity names have been taken.
Create a comprehensive list with the various ideas and the focus words which you feel are the star. This will help create a roadmap where you can even choose different terms from the variations and create an entirely new name. You can also draw inspiration from the existing non-profit organizations across the globe. While generating these ideas, keep in mind that the name would also be translated into a charity logo and therefore become the organization’s identity. For instance, some churches are considered non-profit organizations and church logos have certain similarities. In case your charity has a connection to a church, make sure to consider distinct names to avoid confusion.
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02. Define The Purpose And Vision Clearly
When you begin the process of naming a charity organization, give some thought to the exact purpose of the organization. Ask the very fundamental yet critical questions. Why was the organization founded? Who founded the organization? What impact does the organization aim at making? These questions would not only inspire names but also provide a framework in creating a relevant name that conveys the message and purpose of the foundation. Most professional graphic designers always ask for an insight to design a spectacular logo design. These questions would also be crucial in providing the needed insight and graphic design ideas down the line.
At this stage, note down a vision for the organization. What do you wish to achieve through the non-profit? This vision will keep you check not only through the naming process but also help navigate other processes and decision making. If the non-profit is created in memory or honor of someone, it can be useful to sit down with their family and friends. They can shed more light on the goal and purpose envisioned for the organization.
03. Collect Answers To The What, Whom, And Who
The three most important questions for a charitable organization also provide inspiration and direction when looking to create a meaningful name. These questions are more elaborative than the purpose and vision for the foundation. With time it becomes vital that a brand identity is designed for the charity organization. To do so, it is essential that the name of the foundation is clear and can engage people.
Here are these questions which should play a huge role in deciding the name of the organization:
What does the organization do?
Each charity organization’s purpose entails a specific activity such as prevent, cure, heal, rehabilitate, research, spread awareness, etc. Once you have the answer to this question, you can create a name most relevant to the organization.
Who GETS THE BENEFITS?
Who would be receiving the help through the charitable organization? Try to answer this question in short, such as family, veteran, women, survivor, needy, homeless, victim, etc. This will help in identifying the beneficiaries and creating a good, engaging logo when you hire a logo designer.
Who will be helping?
Who will be working for the non-profit and carrying out the necessary work for the intended receivers? These members can be either professional, volunteers or both. For instance, if it is a charity organization focused on helping animals, it will be veterinarians performing the tasks and so on.
04. Come Up With A List Of Reinforcing Words
Words possess a lot of power and potential which can be unleashed when appropriately used. Look for firm, positive, and relevant words which can create a significant impact on the organization’s brand image. Words such as protect, stand up and save are concrete. These words send a positive inclination to everyone regarding the organization. Another benefit of incorporating such words in the name is that the people can instantly connect or interpret the purpose of the organization when they hear the name. This makes the foundation easy to recall and recognize, making it easier to build a brand identity.
A great name helps convey the non-profit’s cause, brand value and even character. In case such words are not included in the name, the people won’t be able to make a connection until and unless they engage with the organization. When looking for distinctive words for the name, identify the ones are easy to understand by all and provide a strong brand experience. You can experiment with certain words only if you the charity is working in a niche area.
05. Shortlist A Handful Of The Most Suitable Names
As you reach this step, you must have compiled a long list of proposed names for your charity organization. While all of these might seem great, an organization can have only one name. Therefore it becomes crucial to weed out the names which do not cut. It may not look so, but once you start shortlisting the potential, the process can be daunting.
A great approach to picking the best names is getting opinions, probably from the staff, as these people would be the ones working intimately and essentially with the organizations. This can be built into a great exercise at the early stages of the process.
Reaching a shortlist of 5-7 names is prudent. Any more or lesser number of names and the decision-making process would become harder. Choosing these names can become easier if you consider the following factors:
- Is the name easy to pronounce?
- Is it easy to read?
- Is it easy to interpret into a good logo design?
- Do you have a domain name available with the name?
- Does the name convey the foundation’s purpose well?
- Is there any name too familiar with your choice?
- Can you create a memorable and unique acronym?
06. Test Out The Shortlisted Names For An Objective Feedback
Now that some names have been finalized, it is time to give each of them some test to check which of these stands out. You can bring in the founders, staffers, and investors in this stage of the process. The key is to remember that the name preference for any organization can be subjective at the nascent stages.
Form a testing committee, consisting of people who were not active participants in the initial stages of the exercise. Provide them with a simple questionnaire regarding each name. This will help you quantify the feedback for each respondent, making it easier to check which name was the most favored and why. Here are some sample questions which you can consider asking in the “Name Test”:
- What was your first impression of the name?
- Were the words used in the name easy to understand and spell?
- Have you heard or read about a similar name?
- Was the name in any way misleading?
- Could you identify the purpose of the organization with the name?
You can also add an open-ended question at the end of the name test, asking for each respondent’s detailed opinion to get a better insight.
07. Give The Process A Deadline And Finalize A Name
Deciding a name for an organization has a great responsibility associated with it. It sets a precedent for creating a great brand identity. Considering the gravity of the task at hand, it can lead you to keep thinking and revisiting the choices. This can go on forever and the whole meticulous exercise to come up with a good name may become futile.
Therefore set a deadline for deciding the final name and stick to it. Until and unless a name has been finalized, no further step can be taken. Without a deadline, the decision making can go on for weeks, derailing the schedule for other tasks such as designing a logo, purchasing a domain, registration and so on.
Choose the best contender as this is where you may need to seek investors’ or founder approval. Equip yourself with all the supporting factors for the name to share the energy and research that went into creating the name.
08. Make A Final Check For The Decided Name
Once you have finalized a name, make sure to run a comprehensive list of checks to ensure that you have made the right decision. As this exercise nears completion, make sure that the name you have chosen does not fall short in any way. Here are some checks you should make while finalizing a name.
- Is the domain available for this finalized name? This can be checked here. While companies prefer purchasing a .com domain, in case of an organization, it should be a .org domain.
- Make sure that no other existing organization, group or company has the similar name. Certain similarities when it comes to religious charity names or religious logos may be acceptable but overly similar names for other organizations can be misleading as well as confusing in the long run.
- Do all the words have respectable meanings in other language or dialects? Check if the words are safe to use here.
Many people may believe that there is nothing in a name. But for a charity organization, it’s all about a name. Now that you have finalized a business name for your charity organization, it marks not the completion but a start for various other processes. Go ahead and get it documented with the proper authorities to get started. The first and foremost step would be to purchase the domain once the name gets registered. After this, you can tackle the branding for the organization. Begin with an attractive logo design, you hire a logo designer or consider online tools such as Designhill for graphic design services. These tasks while may seem daunting can be fun when tackled cleverly.