Naming Your Nonprofit Legally

Search engine Yahoo! successfully uses the sound of a joyous discovery; however, a nonprofit called KaBOOM! Belies its mission of providing safe haven for kids by employing the sound of an explosion as its name. A person’s name allows the organization to tell a compelling story and to galvanize people around a magnetic personality. Descriptive names tell what the organization does, like Children’s Aid Society.

Can my LLC and nonprofit have the same name?

Yes. But it is not a good idea and I certainly would not recommend doing it intentionally. Corporate names are a matter of state law, and because the states don’t talk to each other about such matters, a for-profit incorporated in one state could have the same name as a nonprofit incorporated in another.

Or, read our best nonprofit formation services review on Startup Savant. Getting feedback and asking for an outside opinion can help you to understand which names work and which names don’t. You might perhaps be a passionate environmental charity, in which case using words such as ‘Earth’, ‘World’ and ‘Planet’ will capture your audience straight away. Try putting these words into our charity name generator and see what names are curated. The charity name plays homage to their message of protecting the earth and making it a better and less toxic place. People are immediately aware that this non profit organization is focused on environmental issues.

Step 2: Narrow Down Your List

Now, I was born and raised in Cleveland, and let me just say this, I had to look up how to spell Cuyahoga just to write this paragraph. A better name could be, Cleveland River Cleanup Corps. ”Below this write all the action words you can think of that describe your nonprofit, e.g. – give, teach, heal, feed, rescue, etc. These secret weapons help you package your mission in a way that’s irresistible to anyone who might be interested in promoting or supporting your organization .

how to name your nonprofit

Choosing your nonprofit’s name is an exciting step in creating your organization. As you evaluate potential options, carefully consider each name to ensure it’s memorable, it reflects your mission, and it can grow with your nonprofit. Once you select the right name for your organization — and confirm it complies with any legal requirements — you’ll move one step closer to spreading your message and services. You should choose a name that represents the purpose of your nonprofit corporation.

Step 1: Choose The Right Name For Your Nonprofit

There are four separate steps to take in naming your organization. Unfortunately, descriptive names don’t have much charisma.

  • You have envisioned the services you will provide, identified the population you will serve, talked to prospective board members and maybe even drafted a mission statement.
  • The next day, day 2 covers filing your entity at your secretary of state filing service.
  • Taglines do work in conjunction with the organization’s name.
  • Whilst you do want your name to be unique and original from the others out there, sometimes the simpler the name the better.

After we re-articulated the organization’s brand promise—“Advancing public education outdoors”—it became clear that the old name was not as strong as it needed to be. It’s unlikely that your audiences will align with your brand based on what you do every day programmatically. Instead, they’re interested in impact—what it means when your nonprofit meets its goals, and how the world is better off because of it. If your name paints a picture of the positive results of your work, it’s a winner.

NameSnack’s AI will prompt you to add different words. You can try adding them all, or go with smaller groups.

Fanciful Names

Then on day 5 you’ll develop your elevator pitch, which is just the most concise way of describing what it is that your organization does and why it’s important. Then, go sleep on the results and we promise, you’ll gain insights and ideas that will help you – some of which may have nothing to do with naming your nonprofit organization. You can do that by using the following principles to name your organization.

Select your state below to see the rules for naming in that state. When readers purchase services discussed on our site, we often earn affiliate commissions that support our work. Name reservations for nonprofit corporations in California last 60 days and can be renewed once it has expired. Your corporation’s name can’t include any terms that could be considered grossly offensive. We recommend selecting at least four to five names that fit your criteria before you start researching their availability. This approach will increase your chances of securing a unique and available name.

Ask 10 people not involved in the brainstorming process to say the names out loud multiple times and ask them for feedback. Sometimes, it might be worth mentioning who your members are, especially if they are essential to your organization’s purpose or inspired its mission. If applicable, you may want to include words like survivors, doctors, mothers, etc. We strongly recommend that you also check to see if your business name is available as a web domain .

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Lunesta, a sleeping drug, is a fanciful name composed of the word “luna,” for the moon, plus “esta,” from siesta. Perhaps, given the streamlined look of an apple, the name is meant to highlight the company’s minimalist aesthetic. To expand your naming palette, it’s wise to have a grasp on each of these typologies.

If your nonprofit’s name is more than one word, you have the opportunity to create and use a memorable acronym as part of your brand – think M.A.D.D. or YMCA. To operate a nonprofit corporation in California, its name must be unique. You can easily check if your chosen name is available by performing a search using the California Business Search tool. After you chose one or several name options for your nonprofit, you’ll need to make sure it’s available.

In one way or another, try to ensure your nonprofit’s name embodies its mission. If you plan to start a shelter, for example, the word “home” could embody the mission of providing a safe place for people. It also can spark warm, positive emotions that make people feel welcome. If your mission isn’t obvious from the name and donors are confused about what your nonprofit does, they are less likely to invest time or money to your cause. To help your brainstorming and to come up with some charity business names, let’s take a look at some Charity Businesses already out there and see what makes their names so successful.

Those are still the most prevalent domains for the nonprofit sector. A name is one of the most important parts of a nonprofit’s brand.

​how To Name A Nonprofit Corporation: A Quick Guide

Make sure there is something about the name you select that makes it memorable. You can even ask them to rate each potential name on a scale from 1-10 so that you can clearly tell which names are popular and which names don’t work so well. Having just a simple one or two word name that really embraces your charity and represents your values is much more effective than trying to be too creative. Using empowering words can also really make a difference. If you are a charity, that means that you are passionate for positive change. Most people will be coming to your charity to offer their help and support, therefore they want to be able to tell that you are a passionate business with caring beliefs.

how to name your nonprofit

The organization came up with “Road Scholar” for a new set of programs geared to a slightly different customer. “Road Scholar” became so popular that now all of Elderhostel’s programs carry that name even though the corporate name remains the original.

If you plan to apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS, you should avoid any name or words in your name that imply that your organization might not be eligible for tax-exempt status. For instance, avoid words such as “political action group,” or “trade association.” Once you locate an acceptable name, reserve it if you can. Most states do allow you to reserve a corporate name until you can file for incorporation. For instance, your state might require all names to include the word “Corporation,” or “Inc.”

How To Name A Photography Business

Pitch your nonprofit name to them and study their feedback. Try targeting Facebook groups related to your nonprofit as well. Chances are the problem your nonprofit is looking to address is being tackled by other nonprofits.

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As part of the naming process, take into account whether a domain name compatible with it is also available. This makes your nonprofit easier to find and avoids a disconnect where prospective donors are steered to a webpage that lacks a connection to the brand. Nonprofits also can use the domain name as part of their registered name, if it suits their mission and their branding. For example, instead of being “Charitable Organization” the corporate name could be “” In addition to the requirements listed in Step 3, your name must be distinguishable from other businesses operating in your state. To verify the availability of your nonprofit’s name, you should conduct a state-level business entity search and check to see that your desired URL is available. You want your supporters to be proud to write your organization’s name on a check or tell potential supporters about your organization.

In addition, ensure your organization’s name is grammatically correct, does not include alternate spellings of words or unusual punctuation. Although this might make your organization’s name more memorable, it could be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Use words or phrases that truly resonate with your target audience and highlight your mission. Mission-specific words might include environment, love, justice, poverty, etc.

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