#NGOs + Gov. + Businesses = #Collaborative; #2030NOW #SocialGood Summit

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.36.33 AM

[photo by Mashable]

The theme of this year’s Social Good Summit (SGS) is:

Big Ideas + New Media = Innovative Solutions; #2030NOW.

Why #2030NOW and not #2013? SGS is calling for long-term thinking about ways that new media and technology can be used to solve the world’s leading challenges. The idea is that long-term thinking will lead to long-term solutions that have a positive impact on future generations and ultimately make the world a better place.

SGS is organized by some of the worlds leading organizations in international affairs, philanthropy, technology, and social good: the United Nations Foundation, 92Y, Mashable, Ericsson, UNDP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This event is not only an opportunity to unite people that are passionate about the digital social space, technology, and sharing information; SGS turns global leaders into global listeners, and it encourages important dialogue that we as a global community can take and translate into action.

578503_10151745210219457_2029167989_n[photo by Public Interest Registry]

The SGS is taking place at 92Y in NYC during UN week; however, +SocialGood and the United Nations Development Programme have worked to spread the SGS to over 120 countries through Meetups and Livestreams, where people all over the world have been able to tune into the one of the largest and most vital conversations happening on Earth.

The map below shows the distribution of Meetups that have taken place internationally in conjunction with the SGS:

social-good-summit-meetups[photo by Mashable]

The past three days have (without a doubt) been extremely rich in content, covering global issues, discussing existing and emerging technology that could be used to transform the condition of today’s world for the better by 2030. Here are a few soundbytes:

  • We need to think higher, feel deeper, and make sure that those who are not connected gain access to new ideas, technology and opportunities.
  • “It is a hope that someday 7 year old girls will say, “Mama, I hear people used to be poor in Africa. What was that like?” – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary-General & Executive Director of UN Women
  • “The cost of inaction is starting to outweigh the cost of action.” – Paul Polman, Unilever
  • “Think about how to engage the unengaged by telling them real stories that make them want to change their own behavior.” – Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children
  • All human beings have equal and inherent value; we are a global community.
  • “It’s not enough to connect. We have to connect on behalf of change for everyone.” – Melinda Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Change thoughts in order to change feelings; change feelings in order to change behavior.
  • Impact investing; use your entrepreneurial spirit to address social challenges.
  • “You shouldn’t be able to report about Syria without reporting how we can help Syria.” – David Darg, RYOT
  • Volunteering allows people to contribute their own talents to a given cause or mission.
  • Strangulation of regulation; we need to tailor policies to actually fit the needs of people. We can’t provide a solution if we don’t know the root of the problem.
  • “Without peace, there’s no development. Without development, there’s no peace.” – Jan Eliasson, Deputy Security General of the United Nations
  • If we define the future today, we declare our responsibility to take action toward making that future a reality.

The speakers and panels at this year’s SGS have been incredibly insightful and inspirational. Of all the sessions that have taken place thus far, one topic of discussion seemingly continued to surface and it really resonated with Public Interest Registry and our own initiatives. A number of speakers over the past 3 days have expressed the notion of global collaboration between governments, businesses, civil society, the independent sector, research, and science. With the SGS’s theme in mind, the frequented call to action has been to develop a platform that would allow each of these sectors to interact, communicate, and work with one another toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Collaboration. Collaboration! #Collaboration

While sitting in the audience, our team is beaming inside and out because we have been working on a digital platform that is directly in line with what these passionate people are envisioning in a 2030 world. Public Interest Registry – the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain name extension – will soon be launching a dual initiative to empower global Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by connecting them to governments, businesses and potential partnerships in a single online space.

The first dynamic of our initiative is to launch 2 new domain extensions: .NGO and .ONG (the translated equivalent of NGO in Romance languages). These domain names will be “closed”, meaning that in order to obtain them, you will have to be validated as an NGO/ONG; they will only be available exclusively to these organizations in the effort to highlight credibility and maximize brand recognition.

The second dynamic of Public Interest Registry’s initiative is to build an online NGO directory that essentially functions as a “Facebook for NGOs.” When organizations register their .NGO/.ONG domain names, they are automatically entered into the directory and gain access to communication with government and business contacts. Our goal is to bridge the gap between sectors, prompt discussions and partnerships that will ultimately help NGOs become more sustainable, and encourage collaboration as a means to a well-defined 2030 (and beyond) world.

Here’s an infographic that explains how it works:

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 10.54.14 AMScreen Shot 2013-08-13 at 10.54.31 AM

This is Public Interest Registry’s first year of attendance to the SGS, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to engage in conversations about utilizing new media and technology to make the world a better place for all. That is truthfully a huge part of our mission and the purpose behind the .ORG and .NGO/.ONG domain extensions. It is our hope that .ORG continues to be an online space where people share their reason, their cause, or their crazy idea with the rest of the world; and that .NGO/.ONG effectively unite the independent sector with governments and businesses so that together, they can work toward #2030NOW.

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!

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 10.22.10 AM

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 10.22.29 AM

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.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 9.40.34 AM

[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.