Introducing .NGO/.ONG at @InsideNGO’s Annual Conference, Exclusively for the NGO Community

Last week, Public Interest Registry had the privilege to exhibit at this year’s annual InsideNGO conference in Washington, D.C. InsideNGO is a membership association that focuses on strengthening “inside” operational staff members and leadership in the international NGO sector; this particular event provides members of the NGO community with the opportunity to share strategies, solutions, policies and procedures with one another. This was Public Interest Registry’s first time attending, and we truly benefited from the experience.

Many if not most of today’s NGOs occupy the digital space by sharing their story and working for a cause through a .ORG website. As the longtime operator of the .ORG domain, it was inspirational for us to meet face-to-face with the members of some of the amazing organizations currently using .ORG to advance their mission. Still, we recognize that the biggest issues that these NGOs seem to face are money, resources and sustainability. With that being said, we were delighted to present a new offering to these members, an invaluable tool for NGOs across the world, that Public Interest Registry will soon make available: .NGO (.Non-governmental organization) and .ONG (the translated equivalent of .NGO for regions that speak romance languages) domains.

Expected to launch January 2015, .NGO/.ONG will be closed domains, accessible only for validated NGOs, and they will be offered as a bundle, meaning, a single registration includes both domains. Obtaining the .NGO/.ONG domains will also mean inclusion to our NGO Hub – an online community where NGOs can find and communicate with each other, donors, volunteers, and potential partners. Think of it like “a Facebook for NGOs” that will feature profile pages and the ability to search for NGOs by name, cause or region.

The feedback that we received from the conference attendees about .NGO/.ONG domains was positive and enthusiastic. Many wanted to know when and where they could sign up. Here are some of the most common questions we received at Inside NGO:

1)     I know .NGO is something my organization will want to utilize. What can I do now in preparation for the .NGO launch?

Answer: You can go to www.globalngo.org for the latest news and updates about .NGO/.ONG, and subscribe to our newsletter. At globalngo.org, you can also submit a free and unbinding Expression of Interest (EOI) for the .NGO/.ONG web address you desire.

2)     I’m on a .ORG website right now. Do I need to switch from my .ORG if I want to buy .NGO/.ONG?

Answer: We actually encourage NGOs to keep both web addresses. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • To maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, your supporters likely already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue with this trusted recognition.
  • To increase brand awareness. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain, it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO. When people see the extension to the right of the dot in your organization’s web address, it will be understood that you have undergone a vetting process to attain this.
  • To secure your brand name. If another NGO has a name that is similar to yours, it will be important to distinguish yourself and minimize confusion from the consumer perspective.

3)     How much will .NGO/.ONG cost?

  • The price has not yet been finalized, however, if you sign up for our newsletter on globalngo.org, you’ll be one of the first to know when we release pricing information.

In fact, as we get closer to the launch of .NGO/.ONG we will certainly provide more updates including the development of the NGO portal through our monthly NGO newsletter. To sign up for this newsletter is highly encouraged.

Our ultimate goal is to reach as many NGOs across the globe as possible and create a place online for meaningful connections. Please, help us spread the word about .NGO/.ONG and share the guide below!

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You may also view this guide here: http://www.ngotld.org/files/NGOFlyer_Final.pdf

We would like to just give a quick thanks to InsideNGO for organizing this important annual event. We are very fond of the work that this organization does to help provide NGOs with more resources and opportunities. And thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit us in the exhibit hall! It was a pleasure meeting you all, and we look forward to connecting again soon in the future.

#TaliasLegacy

This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.

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Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’

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Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.

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Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”

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Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

Reflection on UBM’s Business4Better

Last week, UBM held its 4th annual Business4Better event in London. This two-day conference is part of the company’s Community Engagement Series, which was founded in Brazil in 2009 and now also takes place in India and the United States. Business4Better “brings together not-for-profits, social enterprises, business leaders and corporate responsibility professionals to share, learn and connect.”

Thuy LeDinh of Public Interest Registry had the opportunity to attend B4B for the first time and witness how UBM has made this event, along with the rest of the Community Engagement Series, part of its personal commitment to operate as a responsible and sustainable business in its longterm effort to bring the voluntary and business sectors together.

There has been a growing trend for businesses to exercise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) through foundations, events, campaigns, specialty programs, and projects for various causes. What is inspiring about UBM is that they have truly begun facilitating their business based on the idea of improving society. UBM understands that the interconnectivity between sectors is vital for success in a future society.

For decades, we have recognized three main sectors: business, government, and independent. In the standard model the third sector has essentially been perceived and labeled as a third wheel because its consituents (not-for-profits, NGOs, NPOs, etc.) have not clearly defined a universal name to use, and do not have the same resources that businesses and governments have access to. The overarching problem with this model is that the three sectors rarely – if ever – seem to work together cohesively, simultaneously.

LeDinh reflects on a story that Lord Michael Hastings, KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, shared in London:

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story building collaped in Bangladesh. This building, the Rana Plaza, contained apartments, a bank, a variety of other shops, and garment factories for some of the world’s largest apparel companies, such as H&M, Primark, and Walmart. Despite concerns and evacuation requests that Bangladeshi NGOs had voiced to employers about cracks in the building, workers were prompted to show up the next day. That very next morning, the building collapsed, trapping 3,122 workers inside. After 17 long days of digging through rubble, the death toll reached 1,127 people, and approximately 2,500 people rescued from the building alive were injured. Given that the majority of these workers were women that were single parents and/or sole providers for their families, the entire village of people was disrupted, and effectively destroyed.

After this horrific tragedy, some of the questions we are left asking are:

  • How do we prevent tragedies such as this from happening again?
  • What dialogue needs to happen? Between who?
  • Who will be held responsible for making sure that brands and businesses who set up international factories implement proper safety precautions and pass factory inspections?
  • How do we promote ethical working environments, and ultimately ethical consumerism?

In the case of the Bangladeshi factory collapse, it would have been advantageous for dialogue to occur between advocates on behalf of the workers, businesses, and government officials – to regulate safety measures before allowing people to work in the building. Communication must work both ways; if businesses and governments work together with the independent sector, they will likely have more effective and efficient results.

Like UBM, Public Interest Registry strongly believes in a new paradigm where businesses increase their interaction with government and members of the independent sector in order to develop strong relationships that will improve society. We feel that to make this happen, there is a need to go beyond a digital impact and aim to create interpersonal connections via civil partnerships.

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[Image taken from the World Economic Forum’s Report: The Future Role of Civil Society]

UBM is taking the first step toward trying to unite all three sectors; we would like to see this trend become a way of life across the globe.

Public Interest Registry will be offering .NGO, a new and exclusive domain extension representing “Non-governmental organization”, as a part of this initiative – to give NGOs around the world the opportunity to find and communicate with one another, with donors, and with potential business partners. The ultimate goal is to help NGOs build capacity and become sustainable while working towards improving society.

The .NGO domain is expected to launch in 2015. Its counterpart, .ONG – the acronym for .NGO used in Romance languages – will also become available to the public by Public Interest Registry at that time. To learn more information and submit an expression of interest for these domains, visit www.ngotld.org.

CEO Brian Cute on Computerwoche: A Facebook for NGOs

Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry, recently sat down with Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de in Germany to discuss the 1400+ new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming to the Internet. Public Interest Registry is the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain database, one of the original TLDs, and will soon be offering two new exclusive domain extensions, .NGO and .ONG, for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as 4 international domain names (IDNs) in Cyrillic, Hindi, and two Chinese scripts.

Key points from the interview:

  • Since Public Interest Registry already operates the .ORG domain, we are excited to give a voice and a platform to the NGO community.
  •  Our decision to apply for .NGO was based on three goals: to support NGOs, give the NGO community an identity of its own, and build a verification process required to obtain .NGO/.ONG.
  • The verification process will be a challenge, but can be managed with support of the community (national registration lists, relevant authorization documents etc.).
  • Public Interest Registry’s internal benchmark for .NGO registrations is one million.
  • Each NGO has to decide which domain extension is the best fit for their organization.
  • The .NGO/.ONG domains will also offer a directory and the option to set up a profile page (“a Facebook for NGOs”).
  • The .NGO directory will help to increase readiness to donate, as it enables searching for specific organizations.
  • The website is the most important tool for NGOs to create visibility as it is under their own control – unlike Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms.
  • A growing number of companies will use different domains for different purposes, e.g. a .ORG domain for their CSR activities.

See the interview (in English) below:

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Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry
Photo: Public Interest Registry

CW: The gTLD approval process is like a cliffhanger. At what stage is it currently?

CUTE: ICANN would like to begin with their release by the end of September. We at PIR have applied for four IDNs and expect that this can go live in the fourth quarter of 2013. Since our applications for .NGO and .ONG had higher numbers in ICANN’s draw, they were placed a little later in the series for approval and launch. About 20 top-level domains are to be released each week, so we expect the start of the launch phase of .NGO/.ONG to begin toward the middle of next year.

CW: How many gTLDs have been approved by ICANN?

CUTE: A total of 1,400 (at 1930 applications ). 663 of them are brand-based and applied by their respective rights holders, for example, .BMW. 400 are generic, such as .Hotels, .Aero, or .Jobs. 84 entries have a social or charitable purpose – we fall in this category. Then there are the IDNs and TLDs for specific geographic regions or cities.

CW: Why did you choose to apply for .NGO/.ONG?

CUTE: With the .ORG domains, we give a non-commercial community a voice and a platform. When we were thinking about whether we should apply for new TLDs, it came to the question of where we would have the best opportunities. The main argument, on the part of users for a domain, is its own identity. Precisely for this reason, .NGO was on the wish list; we wanted to distinguish non-governmental organizations from the crowd and help them create their own identity. The counterpart to .NGO is .ONG, which is the acronym used in Romance languages, so with both extensions the entire globe is covered.

Create a global trust

After these considerations, we had about 18 months of workshops organized – in Africa, Central America, India. We wanted our own idea of ​​the web identity for NGOs at the grassroots level, so to speak, at the grassroot test. The feedback was positive – particularly in the southern hemisphere, where non-governmental organizations have a very strong self-image. In addition, we asked for an admission for the new domain extensions – which means a verification process that is used to ensure that only NGOs may apply for these TLDs. That aspect has also found wide support. Finally, it has been often shown that current events such as the tsunami a few years ago bear a number of companies with fraudulent intentions that call themselves NGOs, collect donations and disappear from the scene.

In short, there are three key factors that drove us to ensure the purely moral support of NGOs to give the community an identity and establish a verification process for these organizations.

CW: A formal verification for NGOs is an honorable thing. But how will this be possible?

CUTE: It will be a challenge. But we already have examples of other TLDs where it has worked. These include .hotel; in order to apply for such a domain, you must appear in an official hotel directory that is managed by a global central governing body. For NGOs, there is no such association as of yet, but at least in some countries national lists of registered organizations do exist, which we can aggregate. In regions without such lists, it is important to identify the documents that confirm that someone has a legitimate NGO status – be it business reports, tax returns or best practices. This will vary from country to country. We will have to consider the origin of the enrollee, any relevant documents to examine, and then decide whether to release the registration or not. Again, we rely on the help of the community: the NGOs need to tell us which of the references in which regions are legitimate.

Most like a million

CW: Which orders of magnitude we are talking about? How many NGOs would be interested in this?

CUTE: Worldwide, there are about ten million NGOs . On our website, these NGOs can submit a letter of intent to domain name registration, or expression of interest (EOI). So far, 700 organizations have submitted their interest. How many are there really? I do not know, but our workshops have received positive feedback and I am very optimistic. We are convinced that our idea will be a success. The critical mass of a successful domain registrar is one million registrations; this is the only internal benchmark we have. I think that we will get there.

CW: Large NGOs have been present in other domains such as .org. How will .NGO compare?

CUTE: There are now ten million registered .ORG domains, mostly in the United States and Europe. The greatest potential for .NGO domains will be in the southern hemisphere — in India, Africa, Central and South America, Asia. A common question in our workshops was whether someone should secure both the .NGO domain and a .ORG domain. We have left the question unanswered as each NGO has to make the choice themselves. The .ORG domain has a good reputation and is already well known, so it might be worth keeping in addition to the .NGO/.ONG extensions. The .NGO addresses, however, will only be available to a limited, select group. With a NGO address directory available, NGOs will be able to create their own profile page and communicate not only with each other, but also with donors and potential business partners. It will act as a “Facebook for NGOs”, so to speak, where the organizations can also raise money.

Donations increases

We see often large online donations to nonprofit organizations. In the U.S., for example, an average of 93 dollars per donor is contributed. Imagine what an African NGO could do with only five of these donations. With a central NGO directory, we will give donors the opportunity to search for organizations by name, region and cause, thus making them feel more confident and happy about supporting a specific group.

CW: Is a website with its own domain in the era of the social web at all necessary?

CUTE: It’s all about visibility, especially for NGOs. A home website is still the premier tool to use. Facebook and Twitter are great – but these platforms are controlled by a third party that I cannot control myself.

Brand management

CW: What do companies need to do to protect their brands?

CUTE: First, they should register their trademarks in the “Trademark Clearinghouse” (TCH), a service offered by ICANN that helps companies protect their brand. A second option is the “Uniform Rapid Suspension” system (URS), whereby any illegally registered domains by third parties can immediately be removed from the network at the rightful trademark owner’s request. We at Public Interest Registry have established more technical processes and a separate department that enforces the rights of trademark owners. However, I recommend all businesses to observe exactly what new extensions are registered and where they might have interest. This saves unnecessary legal disputes. Maintain your brand with vision!

CW: What is the best branding strategy?

CUTE: It is common for companies to register a number of different domain extensions for their brand when they are looking to build their presence online. Many of our new customers are actually part of a Corporate Social Responsibility program; in addition to their .com-presence, they utilize a non-commercial .ORG site for their foundation or to carry out charitable causes outside of their commercial work. A good example of this is the Japanese carmaker Hyundai, which started its non-profit children’s cancer research “Hope on Wheels” on a .ORG page that makes no reference to the carmakers’ commercial products. I expect to see many more examples like this in the near future when the new gTLDs come.

**This interview has been translated from German to English.**

Original Source by Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de

Leveraging Celebrities to Enhance Your Cause Marketing

In cause campaign efforts, celebrity involvement can help catalyze momentum to reach and engage your audience when it is approached and strategized correctly. What does it really mean to find the right celebrity for your cause and collaborate together to create an authentic partnership? What is the best way to navigate the triangular dynamic between brand, cause, and celebrity? Nancy Gofus, the COO of Public Interest Registry, had the opportunity to explore this topic with a fantastic panel of experts at this year’s Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago on May 29, 2013:

Connie Fontaine, Director, Marketing Communications, Ford of Canada
Nancy Gofus, COO, Public Interest Registry
Joel Goldman, Director of Entertainment Industry Relations, Malaria No More
René Jones, Founding Director, United Talent Agency Foundation

The leading message of this panel was that in order for cause campaigns to be effective, stories need to be told; more importantly, they need to be authentic. Additionally, the ultimate goal for brands, nonprofits and celebrities is a win-win-win situation. In order to be successful, nonprofits and charities that are organizing cause campaigns need to identify an advocate that would not only be able to relate to and support their mission, but that would also be appealing to their audience.

There is a big difference between booking talent for a commercial cause marketing spot versus a public service announcement.  For a commercial cause marketing spot, you need to find an advocate that is truly connected to the cause, who would be more willing to donate their time to show their support. Alternatively, talent agencies will be looking to collect heavy lump sums of money to book their clients, especially when the spot ad is for a large commercial brand.

From the brand perspective, you’ll want the talent to be proud to be affiliated with your company. Again, the relationship needs to grow organically and the story that you seek to tell needs to be authentic. When this relationship is met with a cause campaign, the dynamic becomes incredibly powerful and the potential to move audiences to demonstrate social good increases.

If you are either a brand or celebrity, or are working on a cause campaign, check out the video clip from the forum above. There are some great takeaways!

ResellerClub and Public Interest Registry’s Growth in India

ResellerClub recently interviewed our Channel Manager, Anand Vora, who shared his thoughts about HostingCon and his experience working with ResellerClub.

HostingCon was held recently in Austin, Texas. This particular event is a great platform for registries to see what people are doing, especially in relation to the newTLDs that are coming to the Internet. With the newTLD applications, Public Interest Registry has applied for .NGO, .ONG, and 4 International Domain Names (IDNs).

A big thank you to ResellerClub and all of the resellers that have helped us develop messaging and gain a lot of growth in India through their channels!

Taking Rachel’s Challenge.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

These words were written by 17 year old Rachel Joy Scott shortly before her life was taken during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Investigations following the shooting revealed that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the gunmen, were often isolated from the rest of their peers. They had each kept journals in which they wrote about their interactions with other students and expressed their disdain. Both of the shooters were publicly classified as gifted children that had allegedly been victims of bullying for four years. This in turn has focused more attention on the link between bullying and school violence.

Did you know:

  • An estimated 1.6 million children in grades six through 10 in the United States are bullied at least once a week. — Human Rights Education Center of Utah
  • Six out of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day. — National Education Association
  •  A reported 160,000 (15% of all) students don’t show up for school each day out of fear of being bullied while at school — (Fried & Fried, 2003).
  • Every seven minutes, a child on an elementary playground is bullied (Pepler, Craig, & Roberts, 1998).

In memory of Rachel and her compassion for people, her family started Rachel’s Challenge; a series of student-empowering programs and strategies that were created based on Rachel’s writings and artwork, and whose ongoing mission is:

“to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”

The core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a school assembly that tells the story of Rachel Scott to inspire change among students (in elementary, middle and high schools) to treat others with respect. The results and feedback from this initiative have truly been remarkable. According to the Rachel’s Challenge research:

  • It was found in Texas that there were 90% fewer disciplinary referrals in elementary schools within the state in just a few months after any Rachel’s Challenge program was initiated.
  • A High School in Illinois experienced 84% fewer out-of-school suspensions after having initiated a Rachel’s Challenge program.
  • 78% more students indicated they would intervene in a bullying incident after seeing Rachel’s Challenge.
  •  In a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their mind about taking their own life after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.

We can all learn from Rachel and her chain reaction theory, which has become one of the most recognized anti-bullying initiatives. The key takeaways are:

  • Take Off Your Labels… Be Who You Really Are
  • Appropriate Affection
  • Our Words Have the Power…to Hurt or Heal
  • You are Not Alone…We Have Shared Experiences
  • Today is YOUR Chain Reaction Moment

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This week, Public Interest Registry has chosen to highlight the work of Rachel’s Challenge because this organization has successfully used their dotORG as an amazing platform to carry out their cause and mission and to help improve the lives of others. Rachel’s story is also one that anyone can relate to, and we want to be a part of the chain reaction that she has started. To date, Rachel’s message has touched more than 19 million people. Every single one of these people will help continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities.

 

If you would like to donate to Rachel’s Challenge, please click here.