Insights from 17,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

How to Name Your Nonprofit Organization

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Great names preframe a brand experience, attract attention, get remembered, connect with an audience, and facilitate buzz, referrals, and sales. Your company name can be a true communication asset, helping you reach key business goals – and we’re not just talking about abstract goals like the development of brand recognition over time:

When the owners of a nonprofit use a great name, they are likely to attract more customers from volunteer research than their competition who is using a flat, uninteresting name.  And no one wants to be the business that causes this awkward situation:

“Hey, where did you volunteer last time? I’d love to help out there too.”

“Oh, that. It was a whole lot of fun and it was a great donation. Over at … oh, I can remember the name right now.”

With this in mind, follow these guidelines to develop your own amazing business name ideas and finding a great name that will help you succeed:   

Time To Get On

You are launching a new business, and you’re struggling to find the right name. The first step is to hone the creative process. Start by thinking about the brand that you’re trying to build, and determine some core concepts essential to the success of your company.

Consider nonprofit organization name ideas that will strongly align with your mission and resonate with your stakeholders. Powerful names built on real words will help you capture attention and share your vision immediately.

Ask yourself, What do I want people to know about my company immediately?

Here are some common answers:

  • It is High-end
  • It is Modern
  • It is Unique
  • It is Fun

Deciding which direction works best for your company will give you a sharp focus and help you develop a name (and a brand) that will support your success.  

In Their Shoes, a winning name from one of the many Squadhelp Nonprofit Organization Naming Contests, is a great example of a name that’s unique and definitely paints a picture at the same time.  

Know What’s Happening

Now that you’ve decided on a central direction, create a one or two sentence project statement to keep your naming efforts laser focused. Here are some examples:

  • We need a name that’s fresh and new and really makes people want to help out.
  • We need a name that’s descriptive and tells all about what we have to offer.
  • We need a name that’s fun and creative and showcases our values of bringing people together
  • We need a name that’s going to prove we’re one of the best places to donate time and money to help the world

A lot of businesses dive into their naming project head first without taking the appropriate time to set the stage for success, hoping that “creativity” and “inspiration” will swoop in and provide an amazing outcome. After 15,000 naming projects, developing hundreds of nonprofit organization name ideas, we believe strongly in a more systemic and strategic approach.

This is a simple but very telling name that’s all about what you could be doing to help. The project statement that resulted in the brand name probably read something like this: We’re looking for a name that’s all about what we have to offer.

Find What Drives Your Business

Now it’s time to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard … stylus to tablet). However you like to work, it’s time to brainstorm ideas.

Don’t censor yourself when brainstorming – There is no wrong answer when brainstorming. Just let the ideas flow. Sometimes a “bad” ideas will inspire a “great” ideas. When you’re developing name ideas, one thought leads to the next, and censoring your ideas will stop this amazing creative flow. And don’t forget to have fun.

Develop an Inspiration Deck – You can find inspiration for your company name ideas in so many places. Take a drive around town writing down your favorite names that you find, get a list of successful brands across any industry you can image using your go-to search engine, or explore winning business names ideas from crowdsourced branding contests. Building a list of inspiration is a well respected copywriting technique, and it will certainly help you develop great business name ideas as well.

When searching through nonprofit organization name ideas, you might be surprised and inspired by an outside the box approach like Shoulder to Soldier. This organization is all about helping veterans get back to their lives and the name definitely does prove that.

It’s Time to Start it Right

From a technical naming standpoint there are some important principles that you want to keep in mind:

Is it easy to say? Unfortunately, you may have to pass on a meaningful name if it’s difficult to say. For example, the iae vowel construct of the Latin word patriae (country) could cause much confusion if used in a business name.

Is it easy to hear? Test your name by calling a friend and saying, “I’m thinking about [insert name] as the name of my business. What do you think?” If there is a long pause or the reply is “What’s the name again?” You might have an issue.

Is it easy to spell? Simple misspellings such as Lyft, Flickr, Xero can work really well for a brand. But names that are very hard to spell will hinder your marketing and communication efforts.

Is it appealing?  Is your name pleasant to see and hear? Many times, in a quest to be unique or edgy, companies will select a name that lacks appeal with the target market. Consumers should like how your name looks and sounds. If they do, it’s much more likely that they’ll want to learn more about your business and talk to friends about your brand.

Is it remarkable?  Is your name memorable, and does it start conversations? Today’s average consumer is constantly bombarded by companies and products vying for their attention and business.

Is it evocative? Is your name emotional, experiential, descriptive, elegant, witty? A name should inspire a response from your target audience.

Also remember to avoid …

Obscure names: Can your name only be understood by a few people? Don’t go for an obscure name that only a handful of your target audience will be able to recall quickly. While a small number of your customers may appreciate an obscure name that only they understand, the rest will be confused and move on.

Neutral names: Is your name too safe or too boring? While you don’t want to choose an obscure or difficult name, you also don’t want to overcorrect and select a name that simply doesn’t excite consumers. A dull name means that you won’t stand out in a sea of competitors, putting you at a disadvantage from the start.

Envision What You Want

A great nonprofit organization name will always be less appealing than your competition’s mediocre brand. It’s very hard to look at a list of names and get excited about them. One, two, or three words on a page can often feel flat.

The ability to bring a business to life in your mind is critical to the naming process. Imagine the story. Visualize the logo. See it on your products and packaging. Without envisioning your brand, you’ll have trouble getting behind any of the business name ideas that you’ve generated.

Can you see how this fun name really brings to life the idea of helping others? Especially paired with a simple logo to go along with it.

Putting in Effort

Developing business name ideas is only the beginning of the process. There are four important name validation steps that you’ll definitely want to complete before deciding on your business name:

Once you’ve decided on a few name ideas, you’ll want to get unbiased feedback. It’s great that you and your team are excited about your business name ideas, but general audience approval is an encouraging way to know that you’ve found a name that will truly help you succeed. Positive feedback via audience testing can indicate that your name resonates well and properly aligns with your target audience. While objectively there are no “perfect” names, vetting your shortlist of business name ideas against each other with an unbiased group will provide you valuable information that will help you make a final decision with confidence.

Learn the three additional critical validation steps – discover how to pick a business name.

It’s Up to You Next

Follow this tested process to create a business name that will become a true asset for years to come. Take the time to set the foundation for your project, develop great ideas, and validate there usability – and you’ll find a name that will attract attention, make connections, get remembered, and increase your bottom line.

Squadhelp is a one-of-a-kind platform where entrepreneurs and marketers get nonprofit organization name ideas (quickly and easily), and create strong brands by launching naming contests to engage hundreds of naming experts as you’re guided through our agency-level naming process, or explore our hand-picked collection of premium names available for immediate purchase.

Nonprofit Organization Domains for Sale

 

An intriguing mix of altruism and vastness, which are great aspects of volunteer work.

You can definitely change the world with a simple name like this and the cute logo that goes with it.

View our full list of nonprofit organization domains for sale.

 

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