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

 

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[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:

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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.

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

Litterati: Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Jeff Kirschner came up with the idea for the “Litterati” movement after his young daughter spotted a piece of litter floating in a river near his home in Northern California. “Daddy, that doesn’t go there,” she said.

Feeling the need to create a movement to stop the world’s littering habit, Jeff came up with the idea to take a picture of litter he found and post the photo to Instagram, using the hashtag #Litterati. He began encouraging people across the world to share pictures on Instagram of litter they found before disposing of the trash. Using the #Litterati hashtag, picking up trash became a social – and oftentimes artistic – activity.

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A @Litterati Instagram photo

It was not hard to find others eager to help rid their communities of mindless litter. With “Litterati” quickly growing, Jeff started to organize tagged #Litterati photos from all over the world into a “Digital Landfill” on http://www.Litterati.org.

Using Instagram’s geo-tagging and time-stamp features, Jeff could also track where and at what time the pieces of litter were found. He built a map on Litterati.org showing all of the locations across the world in which participants are finding and picking up litter, using the #Litterati hashtag. In addition to the litter map, the Litterati website also presents statistics of litter data for public viewing. Currently, 13,059 pieces of trash have been picked up around the world by Litterati participants – and that number is quickly growing.

Jeff has big plans for how he uses all of this Litterati data:

“I believe Litterati is in a position to create a level of environmental awareness that touches millions of lives,” he writes in an email. “Litterati will be able to work with local government, helping city officials understand more about where trash is emerging, and which brands are the most commonly littered.  We’ll collaborate with brands to help them better understand the lifecycle of their product packaging, so that they can move towards earth-friendly designs. Whether it’s a young child, a government official, or high-powered executive, our goal is to inspire people to take ownership of the [litter] problem.”

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One of Litterati’s maps of litter collection

Public Interest Registry chose to spotlight Litterati.org because we love the way Jeff is using his dotORG to help solve our world-wide littering problem. Litterati’s core values of integrity, collaboration, and simplicity resonate with our own, and we fully support Jeff’s use of the Internet to reach other people across the world interested in cleaning up the Earth.

Imagine the impact we could make if every single person in the world disposed of just one piece of litter. In Jeff’s words, “Global collaboration is paramount towards reaching a litter-free world. Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make an impact.”

Visit www.litterati.org to view Litterati’s impact so far. Use the hashtag #Litterati on Instagram to join the Litterati movement! You can also follow @Litterati on Instagram and Twitter.

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!

Domínio .ONG será chancela de credibilidade para ongs internacionais via @idgnow

Fonte Original: IDGNOW
Por Cristina De Luca
Publicada em 17/06/2013 10:00

Grande parte das organizações não governamentais sem fins lucrativos, sobretudo em mercados emergentes, se depara com o obstáculo de provar sua legitimidade, principalmente na internet, onde as ações de crowdfunding e campanhas de arrecadação de fundos através de doações voluntárias.

Pensando nisso, a Public Interest Registry (PIR), desde 2003 gestora do domínio .ORG – são mais de 10 milhões de sites – viu na recente leva de expansão de domínios genéricos de primeiro nível da internet uma oportunidade para solicitar a criação dos domínios .ONG/.NGO, e expandir sua atuação, garantindo às organizações do terceiro setor, uma presença online “certificada”.

“Ao saber da expansão, pensamos em criar formatos que pudessem beneficiar as organizações sem fins lucrativos, nossas clientes ou não, e outras tantas ongs que hoje encontram dificuldade em ter uma presença global na rede, por seu tamanho ou ou por sua atuação local”, diz Link Nancy Gofus, ex-executiva da Verizon que, desde 2012, dirige as operações da PIR.

A ideia foi atrelar a concessão dos registros .ONG/.NGO (sim, ao registrar um, a entidade receberá automaticamente o outro) a um rigoroso processo de validação da organização sem fins lucrativos, no contexto local e global. Só ongs legítimas, filantrópicas e de interesse público, sem nenhum foco comercial, terão o registro. “Vamos atestar que a organização é de fato sem fins lucrativos, sem foco comercial e político, é independente e segue as leis do país onde opera”, diz Nancy.

“Além da questão da credibilidade, muitas dessas organizações enfrentam problemas para serem achadas na rede”, prossegue Nancy. Por isso, os registros .ONG/.GNO contarão com uma espécie de catálogo online _ uma espécie de páginas amarelas com um pequeno perfil com informações sobre o seu trabalho e links para mídias sociais _ onde as organizações sem fins lucrativos poderão expor seus trabalhos, suas campanhas para arrecadação de donativos e recursos, trocar informações e experiências com outras ongs de atuação similar em diversos países.

“Vamos construir o primeiro diretório global de ONGs. Esperamos que essa iniciativa mude o uso da internet para aqueles que estão mudando o mundo. A torne mais útil”, afirma Nancy, lembrando que muitas ongs não têm nenhuma presença na internet. O catálogo daria a elas uma página na internet, antes mesmo que terem condições de criarem seus próprios sites.

A intenção, portanto, é proporcionar às ongs um local seguro e confiável que lhes permita aumentar as oportunidades de engajamento, consciência e financiamento.

No catálogo, as ongs serão catalogadas por causa defendida, país, e região entre outros critérios que facilitem a busca. E terão acesso a ferramentas para o recebimento de doações através da página do seu perfil no catálogo. Outros serviços adicionais irão acompanhar os novos domínios. A intenção da PIR é a de , durante os três primeiros anos de operação, reverter parte da renda  com os registros para a oferta de projetos educacionais e ferramentas online focadas na expansão do conhecimento e capacitação das entidades no uso da internet.

Trabalho já começou
Embora a expectativa da PIR seja a de os novos domínios só estejam disponíveis em 2014, em função do longo e moroso processo de autorização da Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), entidades que desejem ter o registro dod domínios .ONG/.OGN já podem entrar no site da PIR e manifestar seu interesse.

O envio dessa manifestação coloca as ongs no radar da PIR, que pode já iniciar o processo de validação, e as permite estarem permanentemente informadas sobre o desenvolvimento de todos os processos de lançamento dos domínios.

“O Brasil já é o terceiro país em quantidade de organizações interessadas, atrás de EUA e Índia”, comenta Nancy, que visitou o país no início do mês para conversar com entidades brasileiras a respeito da iniciativa.

A muitas delas, Nancy explicou que os registros .ONG/.OGN são complementares ao registro .ORG.BR e até mesmo ao registro .ORG, embora muitas das mais de 10 milhões de organizações com o registro .ORG não preenchem os requisitos para terem os novos registros.

“É evidente que o Google.org não é uma organização sem fins lucrativos”, afirma Nancy, dando uma dimensão do quão rigoroso o processo de validação será.

“Há uma mistura grande de organizações que utilizam o .ORG. Há ongs, mas há também entidades de responsabilidade social de empresas privadas, clubes esportivos, associações comunitárias, igrejas”, diz Nancy.

No Brasil, o registro do domínio .ORG.BR já exige a apresentação de documentação que comprove a natureza da instituição não governamental sem fins lucrativos, de acordo com a legislação brasileira, e o CNPJ. Nos casos em que a instituição é um consulado ou uma embaixada, a exigência do CNPJ é dispensada. Até o momento, foram concedidos pelo Registro.br 47.659 registros .ORG.BR.

Como o Resgistro.br, a PIR é uma organização sem fins lucrativos. Nos últimos 2 anos (entre 2010 e 2012) viu os registros .ORG crescerem 47% na Ásia/Oceania, 25% na América Latina e 23% na África.

A atuação internacional deverá crescer ainda mais a partir disponibilidades dos domínios .ONG/.NGO. No Brasil,o domínio .ORG está disponível através de revendas de domínio e registradores autorizados. O mesmo deverá ocorrer com os novos domínios, embora a intenção da PIR seja contar com conselhos locais na tarefa de validação das ongs.

1,400 New Domain Names Are Coming. What Does It Mean For You?

Original Source: SimplyZesty
Written by Lauren Fisher, 10 Jun 2013

As we prepare for the release of 1,400 new domain extensions such as .book, .music to .sport, the Public Internet Registry (PIR) is also focusing on specific domains for the charity and non-profit sector that will see a whole new type of classification online with the domain extensions .ngo and .ong (which has its roots in Latin languages).

As the internet diversifies, the need for a new domain system is becoming more and more evident. We’ve seen slight shifts with the introduction of country specific extensions, but we are about to see the biggest overhaul of the domain name system in the history of the internet. The new system began rolling out on April 23 this year and by the end there will be a 6,300% increase in web domain names.

What are the implications of a whole new domain extension system and what does it mean for how we  use the internet to search and find trusted information? I spoke to the CEO of PIR, Brian Cute, about this topic. PIR, who operate the .org domain name, is currently accepting requests for registration of .ngo and .ong domain extensions and Brian had some interesting perspectives on what the new domain system represents in the wider context of online communication.

User Trust

As information online increases, there is a growing demand for a verification system to notify us of sites that we can trust. This is especially needed in the charity sector, where many smaller organisations rely on online donations, but how do we know who we can trust? A recent survey conducted on behalf of PIR found that two thirds of respondents would be more likely to donate to a charitable website with a validated domain name.

In addition. 80% of respondents felt that .ngo or .ong would be an acceptable domain for the community. For this to prove successful, it needs to be monitored by a third party who can manually approve requests. Just as Twitter relies on human authentication to grant profiles ‘verified’ status, we are about to enter a new phase that will see a similar process in action across the internet, one that will be tailored specifically for NGOs.

As Brian explained, where an organisation doesn’t already have NGO status, PIR will enter into a manual verification process to decide if the domain should be awarded. The impact this has on our online behaviour is significant. With 1,400 new categories launching, we will approach websites differently and will have to develop an understanding of how the categories function (to an extent) to get the information we want.

We will need to judge the difference between domains like .co.uk or .london to decide which is the right one for us. Brian asserted that even though organisations have a diversified presence online – which can include social profiles and apps as well as a website – it is still the website that people ultimately trust. He explained that:

“…the humble website remains one of the best ways to completely control the environment around your brand and we think they will remain a primary home on the web for years to come.”

The Role Of Search

This will have a huge knock-on effect for search engines, which will need to develop a new system of categorising websites. Right now, we’ve a relatively simple system where just a few domain variations need to be categorised.

We risk seeing multiple results for a product name that could have multiple domain name variants. with a need to support category domains to filter information, how we search in the future will be drastically different to how we search now.

This could even mean domain specific search engines if you only want to search within .sport for example. Suddenly, we have semantic search made possible by the domain name itself. Speaking about the impact on search, Brian said:

“This is yet another indicator of how drastic these changes will be and why organizations and the Internet community must begin to prepare now.”

Below is the interview in full with Brian Cute.

Lauren Fisher (LF): Right now domain names are fairly standardised, and so are easy for people to remember and use. Do you think the release of up to 1,400 additional domain names could over-complicate this?

Brian Cute (BC): At first, all these new names may be confusing to most consumers. While .co.uk, .com and .org are the norm today, they will be joined by new web addresses such as .book or .music, and .eco or .sport.

However, as you breakdown the categories of the new domain extensions, you’ll find that more than half of them belong to trademarked holders while the rest are spread into categories including generic names, geographic locations and community-centric domains. Most consumers will gravitate to certain categories, and we think there is great potential in the domains that offer community identification and bring groups together under a shared passion or interest.

LF: Do you believe the domain name is still important, with the move to mobile and a heavier reliance on apps?

BC: The increase in domain names combined with the growth of social media platforms and apps does make for a cluttered content landscape. Yet the humble website remains one of the best ways to completely control the environment around your brand and we think they will remain a primary home on the web for years to come.

A recent survey conducted by the Public Interest Registry confirmed that 82% of people still think an organization’s website is the most trustworthy place to get information on a charity or social cause compared to other online resources such as social media sites. While not every new web address will have staying power, we think a community-centric and verified domain will be a strong draw for people.

LF:What are the criteria for an .ngo/ong domain to be granted?

BC: Knowing there is some diversity across the NGO community, the Public Interest Registry has identified six global commonalities to help determine who qualifies for the .ngo/ong domain which will encompass both traditional NGOs and also nonprofits.

We spent three years travelling the globe to speak with non-profits and NGOs to understand their challenges and opportunities. With the new domain, our goal is to create a unique space for the broader NGO community, and also to empower them with new tools such as a global NGO directory to make them more easily found by prospective donors around the world. The six criteria to qualify for an .ngo/ong domain are:

1. Not-for-profit: Non-commercial focus, members not exclusively benefiting.
2. Purposeful: Actively pursuing its mission.
3. Benevolent: Broad-based focus on the good of humankind, not political.
4. Independence: Have degrees of influence to operate – participation is voluntary.
5. Structured/Organized: Function in a defined manner.
6. Lawful: Operates with integrity in the bounds of the law.

Validation will be automated or manual as needed. The automated verification will happen instantly if those organizations have already been identified as NGOs, based on existing valid databases and lists.

If an NGO isn’t on an existing and credible list, we also have a manual validation process whereby organizations can submit required documents for review. Qualifying organizations will be eligible to receive both the .ngo and the .ong extensions (a linguistic variation of the NGO term in Latin-rooted languages).

LF: How will these new domain names impact search?

BC: Just as users and website owners will adapt to new domains, so must search engines. The changes may result in a single organization operating on multiple domain names – either pointing visitors to one flagship site or taking advantage of different domains to specific target audiences and purposes.

This is yet another indicator of how drastic these changes will be and why organizations and the Internet community must begin to prepare now.

LF: Could you expand on the recent survey carried out, where two thirds of respondents claimed they would be more likely to donate to a site with a validated domain name?

BC: The survey, regarding domain names for social causes and non-profits, queried 200 marketing and technology professionals in the UK and was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Public Interest Registry. Respondents included 150 nonprofit leaders and 50 business leaders.

In addition to discovering that a majority of respondents are more likely to donate to a validated domain name, the survey also found that 80% felt that .ngo/ong would be a welcome domain and serve a recognized community.

LF: Do we have a need for these new domain names because the original system is only sustainable to a point, or because our behaviour is changing?

BC: The Internet’s addressing system has undergone several expansions in the past 27 years. Over this span of time, we have added country codes, such as .uk, .de, .fr, and a host of other generic terms. Of course, there has never been an expansion quite like this, in terms of scale and size.

However, it is an evolving landscape both to increase consumer choice and to encourage technology innovation. Consumer consumption is helping drive the appetite for a new domain ecosystem, which we see as very positive.

LF: How big is the market for .ngo domains?

BC: Public Interest Registry spent the last two years meeting with NGOs around the globe to better understand the market and the needs of NGOs. Under our definition of NGO – which includes all valid non-profits – we believe there is upward of ten million organizations that can join the new domain and help build a robust NGO community and online directory.

Online Giving in Times of Tragedy: Avoiding Charity Scams and Donating Safely

Original Source: Huffington Post

Contributed by Nancy Gofus, COO of Public Interest Registry

When tragedy strikes, the human spirit doesn’t falter. As witnessed with recent events including the Boston Marathon bombings, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the garment factory building collapse Bangladesh, and the tornado devastation in Oklahoma, individuals and organizations emerge within those communities and across the world eager to lend a hand to those affected.

The Internet has helped make global giving and worldwide support possible. For example, when Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami in March 2011, SXSW conference organizers on the other side of the world in Austin, Texas created an online donation site, SXSW4Japan.org, hoping to raise $10,000, instead they raised nearly $130,000 from event attendees in just a matter of days. When the country felt the loss of an eight year old boy killed in the Boston Marathon attacks, they found comfort knowing that making a small donation online at richardfamilyfund.org might help his injured family members recover.

As the not-for-profit operator of the .ORG domain, Public Interest Registry has witnessed millions turn to the Internet to find ways to help and enable others to give in times of tragedy. Unfortunately, while many set out to make a difference, there are some who attempt to make a profit – creating online scams by developing websites that provide false information, pocket contributor donations or redirect to other non-related websites.

The Internet was created to be a collaborative tool, open to all, for the benefit of people throughout the world. Unfortunately, sometimes the potential for good cannot negate the instances of abuse that do occasionally occur. But the good is there, it always is, and by educating yourself on what to look for and what to avoid, you can find trustworthy online resources and make contributions that may have a profound impact.

If you are considering making an online donation, here are five things you should consider:

1. Confirm the organization’s validity first 
Do your homework and review the credentials of an organization before making a donation. Websites like charitynavigator.orgbbb.org, and guidestar.org evaluate U.S. based charities and provide information on their practices which may help you make a decision about where to give.

2. Investigate how your donation will be used
Disaster relief exists in many different forms. Some charities focus on rescue efforts and medical needs while others provide food and supplies. All are important, but consider selecting a charity whose efforts most resonate with you. With that in mind, some organizations allow you to designate your contribution to a specific fund or effort. Consider telling the charity exactly how you would like your contribution to be used.

3. Be wary of stories and appeals communicated via exclusively through social media
Many people turn to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share news and get information about disasters and relief efforts, but as the content is typically not validated, be cautious of your resources. Faux images and stories have been known to go viral. At times, these posts simply misinform readers, but other times they are posted with requests for donations going to an unknown source. Research before clicking the donation link – verify the story and the supporting organization.

4. Research crowdfunding websites
Online fundraising platforms, or “crowdfunding” websites, allow users to collect donations online to support a given cause, such as the richardfamilyfund.org donation site mentioned above. 100 percent of the funds collected through this website will be disbursed to the Richards family. This is a great way for individuals to raise funds to support the issues that matter to them, but there is no way for the platform providers to guarantee information provided on donation pages is correct, or verify that all funds raised will go to the end recipient or organization. You should only donate to people and crowdfunding pages you know and trust.

5. Make your donation through a secure website
Before you click the “donate” button, make sure the transaction is secure. Online transactions are at risk of being intercepted by hackers and identity thieves without a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate. One way to tell if a website is secure is by looking at the URL. If there is a secure connection, the URL should begin “https” meaning that sensitive information like credit card numbers will be encrypted before being sent over the server.

We at Public Interest Registry understand the importance of having an online platform to advocate and promote a cause, and to turn to for information. In a survey we recently conducted through ORC International to measure the level of trust consumers have in online resources, 82 percent of respondents said that an organization’s website is the most trustworthy place to get information on a charity or social cause. We could not agree more. That’s why we are committed to helping to maintain the integrity of the Internet by providing a trusted place online for organizations and individuals to mobilize their audiences for the common good.

If you are looking for a way to contribute, below are a few .ORGs that are promoting the common good and making a difference in light of these recent tragedies:

  • Boston Marathon Disaster Relief: The One Fund Boston –www.onefundboston.org
  • West, Texas Explosion Relief: The West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund –www.wacofoundation.org
  • Bangladesh Building Collapse Relief: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – www.ifrc.org
  • Oklahoma Disaster Relief: OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund –www.unitedwayokc.org
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