posted July 29, 2015

Protecting Your NPO's Online Identity with the New Domain Extensions

by Carlie Larsen, CPA, Senior Associate

      Since 1985, charitable organizations have been associated with the .org website domain extension. However, with the misuse of .org by personal and corporate websites and continually increasing online scams, the Public Interest Registry has officially launched .ngo and .ong as domains available to nonprofit organizations. The new domains are intended to validate and legitimize true charitable organizations.

      One of the primary benefits of the new domains is credibility. As any brand, company, or individual can purchase .org domains, there is no guarantee that it belongs to a nonprofit. Any entity that registers for one of the new extensions must go through a validation process to ensure they are a genuine nonprofit agency, much like the validation process for .gov or .edu domains. There are seven criteria that must be met to determine which organizations will be eligible. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) must verify and provide documentation that they adhere to the following requirements (as obtained from OnGood):

  • Focused on acting in the public interest – Members of the NGO community work for the good of humankind and/or the preservation of the planet and do not promote discrimination or bigotry.
  • Non-profit focused entities – Members of the NGO community do not recognize profits or retain earnings.
  • Limited government influence – Members decide their own policies and activities and are independent of direct government or political control.
  • Voluntary – Members of the NGO community should not be parts of political parties, and participation in the NGO must be voluntary.
  • Active organization – Members of the NGO community are actively and regularly pursuing their missions.
  • Structured – Members of the NGO community operate in a structured manner under bylaws, codes of conduct, organizational standards, or other governance structures.
  • Lawful – Members of the NGO community act with integrity within the bounds of the law.

      All entities that register for an .ngo or .ong domain and pass the validation process, will also be automatically listed in the exclusive online directory for NGOs – OnGood ( Anybody can then utilize this searchable database to find or verify a non-governmental organization.

      Just because an entity registers for an .ngo or .ong domain does not mean they have to lose or change the .org on their current website. A redirect from the .ngo to the .org is an option, but the entity is still benefiting from being validated and listed with OnGood if they obtain a new domain.

      For more information regarding .ngo and .ong, please visit the Public Interest Registry ( and OnGood (

The content of these pages is for general information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. tries to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of writing; however, we give no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of any of the contents.