When starting a charity organization, finding the right name is an important step in building your brand. You’ll want it to be memorable and relevant for years to come. It should let people know what the charity is about and inspire goodwill. Let our naming guide help you find inspiration and coin the perfect name for your charity.
How to Name a Charity
Step-by-step guide to coming up with a distinctive, memorable, and compelling charity name.
Start a list.
Write down any ideas you already have.
You may already have some ideas for a charity name. If so, go ahead and write them down.
Highlight or star your favorites as you go.
This will make it easy to narrow down the list later, while letting you jot down all ideas that may spark something later on.
The words you add to the list don’t have to be fully formed charity names. They can be words or concepts related to the charity that help you get to the final name.
Perform essential research before you name your charity.
Review your charity's mission and vision.
If you’ve already written out the vision and mission of your charity, look for similar and associated words and concepts. Look over your research and explore what inspired you to start your charity. Pick out and list the keywords you find most striking and inspiring.
Talk to your target audience.
Talk to people that fit the profile of your target audience; the type of people you believe are most likely to support your cause. Try to understand who they are, what they look for in a charity, and what their emotional triggers in relation to your cause are.
See what other charities are doing.
Do an online search to find charities that support a cause similar to yours as well as completely unrelated ones. Just look over the different names to find out what speaks to you and triggers an emotional response. This will help you identify what you are looking for in the name of your charity.
Review words specific to your charity.
List words that describe what your charity does.
Write down all the things your charity will enable and how it will make a lasting difference for its cause. Think of action words, such as "empower," "heal," or "nourish," and the change it will bring about.
Think about who or what your charity will benefit.
Consider who or what (e.g., environment, wildlife, etc.) your charity benefits as well as who is involved in making that happen. Write these down along with any related words and associations that come to mind.
Look for phrases with alliteration.
Alliteration and assonance are literary devices that can make a name very memorable and roll off the tongue with ease.
Don’t get stuck on trying to create a single or compound-word name. Many charities opt for short phrases to describe their cause and using alliteration or assonance is a great way of making a descriptive name memorable.
Create more name ideas from your list.
Combine words from the list.
Try combining various words from your list to see if they form any interesting names.
Use a name generator.
NameSnack can help combine your ideas and make associations that you wouldn't have thought of.
NameSnack's AI will prompt you to add different words. You can try adding them all, or go with smaller groups.
Write down any charity names you like.
NameSnack will also tell you if the domains are available. Check the ones that have domains off on your list.
Review and reflect.
Read through your list again.
See if there are any others that stand out, and mark them.
Set the list aside for a day or two.
Come back with fresh eyes and see which names stand out. Also, see which names you still remember. This may give you a clue as to which ones are most memorable.
Create a shortlist.
Pick your top 4 to 5 names.
Get feedback on your top charity names.
See what potential customers think of the names.
See how your target audience reacts to different names. Find out what people's first impressions and emotional responses to your top names are, as you’ll want your name to move your audience to support your charity.
Create a survey and seek out community forums, stores, or events that have some connection to an element of your cause. For example, if your charity is for animal welfare, look for survey participants outside a pet store or at dog training classes.
Test the names on friends and colleagues.
Read your names to friends and colleagues, and get their take on your charity names. Come back a day or two later and see which ones they still remember.
See if the web domain name is available.
Use a site like Namecheap to see which of your top business name ideas has a related URL available.
See if the name is already in use in your state.
If the business name is already in use for a similar business in your state, it's likely won't be able to use it.
Check if the names are trademarked.
Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) trademark database to see if any of your top choices and similar names are already trademarked.
Check the names on Google.
Google your favorite charity names to see if there are any other well-known charities with the same name, or if there are some associations you hadn’t thought of.
Get the name.
Buy the domain name.
You can do this through sites like Namecheap.
Register the business name with the state.
You'll need to register the name in your state once you've chosen it. In most states this is fast and easy, and can be done online.
Consider trademarking the name.
This offers additional protection from other organizations using your charity's name.
Learn more about trademarking your business name.
How do I choose a charity name?
- Create a list of name ideas and key terms.
- Brainstorm related words, concepts, and associations with the cause.
- Combine keywords and come up with short, descriptive phrases.
- Use a name generator for more ideas.
- Review and reduce your list of name ideas.
- Test your top choices.
- Check name availability.
- Make a final choice.
- Secure the name.
Can two charities have the same name?
Most states will not allow two organizations to use the same name. If another organization is already using the name you intended for your charity, it is always better to come up with something else to avoid confusion and possible legal issues.
Can you trademark a charity name?
Yes, a charity name can be trademarked. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website for information or to apply online.
How can I see if my charity's URL is available?
Check Namecheap for the URL or domain name for your charity. Consider close variations as well.
How can I see if my charity's name is taken?
Check with your state business name lookup and search for the name and close variants online.