Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What is in a name?

A lot rests with the name of your nonprofit and even on what you name your projects and programs. Will your name become a household word? Will it convey quickly and eloquently what you do? Or will it be a meaningless acronym or stuffy lingo that only insiders to your field really understand?

A nonprofit needs to have a name that describes the
organisation's mission, a name that the public will remember and of course one that is not shared by another organisation. We have nonprofits that are memorable and garner recognition...locally and internationally. What do these names have in common?

  • They embody the mission of the organisation within the name
  • They use short, powerful and descriptive words, easy to remember and say 
E.g. Red Cross, StopTB, World Health Organisation, Salvation Army, Family Health Organisation.
While some names are so powerful, even their acronyms resonate e.g. EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], NACA [National Action committee on AIDS], LASTMA [Lagos State Traffic Management Authority], NAFDAC [National Agency for Food and Drug Administartion Control], SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals].

Some might say that all the great names have been taken, but naming still goes. There's no end to the possibilities. Today's big name was somebody's pet project a few years ago.
Many Organisations spend thousands even millions on research to determine just what to name themselves. But a group of people with common sense can brainstorm too and come up with winners. And that's what we did at K'arale.

K'arale is derived from the Yoruba phrase Ka ra ole meaning 'well being', 'healthy body'. This meaning is embodied in our mission, our objectives and our projects:
HIV prevention in schools [Smart Kids Abstain] and in our PortaKlinic project which aims to establish primary health posts in hard to reach communities. Our goal is to bring 'well being' to the communities we partner with.
When you have chosen a name for your nonprofit, your next step may be to incorporate it. Do remember that if your organisation, business or profit was the first to use a particular mark or name, it is an enforceable trademark. It is 'use' of name not its formal registration that creates trademark ownership.

What is in a name? For a nonprofit maybe everything.
You can get more tips about naming and starting up your nonprofit here.

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