DonationTo is an easy-to-use fundraising website that has integrated with iwantmyname to make it easy to use personalized domain names when crowd-funding online. The method is rather easy—it takes just five minutes to create a fundraising page at DonationTo and just a few moments more to purchase and plug in your domain name with iwantmyname. And by the end, you'll have a great, easy-to-remember domain such as 'james-fighting-cancer.com' as your hub for accepting donations.
There are several reasons to use personal domain names for crowd-funding pages, first of which is the fact that they make it easier for supporters to draw connections between who you are (friend/family) and what they are supposed to do (donate). After all, it's important to recognize that many people will not immediately visit your page, so you'll want to provide them with a relevant domain name that's easy to remember for future reference. Taking this approach will help increase the total amount of contributions you'll receive, and will help show your commitment to hitting your goal.
Another major benefit of attaching a custom domain name to your crowd-funding page is that it will build legitimacy for your cause. People are exposed to hundreds of online fundraising campaigns each year, so you should take every possible step to make it yours a trusted option for them to financially support.
Selecting the right domain name can be intimidating for some people though, so we've compiled a list of proven tips that will help you get the most out of the name you choose to purchase.
1. Selecting the correct domain extension
Before you begin contemplating what your online fundraising domain name will be, you need to choose the domain extension (.net, .com, .io, .org, etc.) that makes the most sense for your particular cause. Although most people automatically assume that .com makes the most sense, this is not always the case. For example, if you're hosting a fundraiser specifically for a cause based in Japan, it could be beneficial to add a local touch by selecting the .jp domain extension. After all, going with a country-specific domain name may help capture the attention of local supporters.
On the other hand, if your fundraiser has global appeal, it could be wise to choose .com or a new generic top-level domain. As you can see, there's quite a lot to think about before you lock yourself into any specific domain extension.
Another important thing to note about extensions is that they can alter a potential supporter's perception of your efforts to crowd-fund. For instance, while .com has become synonymous with almost any type of website, the reality is that it was created for sites of a more business nature (com stands for commercial), whereas the original purpose of .org was to provide a resource for organizations—often nonprofits. Due to this, .org might be more appealing for some charity campaigns, but you should still carefully consider utilizing .com because it may be easier for some people to remember.
2. Choosing your domain name
It's easy for people to become overwhelmed with all the potential
possibilities, but there is a very simple way for most to settle on a name that makes sense.
"Your domain name should be your company name." Christopher Heng from thesitewizard.com explains that while naming domains after company names may seem obvious to some, a surprising amount of domains aren't correlated at all.
Consider, for example, how confusing it would be if your nonprofit was known by a name that was completely different from your domain name. It would be much harder to reach from memory, and would likely prevent people from visiting the site at all. And that, in turn, could make overall donations suffer.
Another important reminder is that you want search engines to be on your side. If you're a nonprofit organization, supporters are going to look to make online donations by entering your organization's name into their favorite search engine. But if your organization's name and your domain name aren't related, search engines like Google and DuckDuckGo might not be able to link to the appropriate content.
3. Choosing a name without an organization
There are millions of people worldwide crowd-funding for a variety of reasons—medical, memorial, natural disasters—and many of them aren't associated with any specific organization. If this is the case for your campaign, it may seem daunting to pick an appropriate domain name. However, there is a simple process to help you land on a name that will be easy for supporters to remember.
The first tip is to use your domain name to tell people who you are and what you're raising money for. For example, if you have a friend named James who is currently fighting cancer, james-fighting-cancer.com would be a good choice. Anyone who knows James will draw the connection—this donation is for James, and the money will go towards his medical bills to fight cancer. It's this logical process we're looking to achieve, and it can be all done with a domain name.
One point to note is the use of hyphens in the domain name above (james-fighting-cancer.com). While some may question the use of hyphens, our experience indicates that they can actually add much-needed clarity. As an added bonus, choosing longer domains such as james-fighting-cancer.com or james-medical-fundraising.com are much more likely to be available (buying domains that are already registered can be quite expensive), and are extremely easy to read and remember. And from a search engine perspective, hyphens are ok because they're just treated as spaces between words.
The second tip is to think about specificity. If you choose to use a longer domain, make sure it's as precise as possible. For instance, james-fighting-cancer.com is good, but maybe james-medical-fundraising.com would add an extra layer of specificity. It's a good idea to be very up front with your needs, and james-medical-fundraising.com clearly spells out the fact that you're raising money for James' medical bills. Choosing the right words will vary from case to case, so use your best judgement.
4. Keep it simple
In the previous tip we explained that it's perfectly acceptable to utilize hyphens for clarity in your domain name, however, there is the danger of incorporating too many words or hyphens. Typically more than three hyphens will confuse your visitors, and even if you choose not use hyphens, that amount of words strung together can be confusing to read and even harder to memorize. It's also important to note that domain names that are more than four words long run the risk of being cut off by link services like Twitter.
Your best bet is to stick with a name that utilizes three or fewer words and hyphens. And if you follow the adage of keeping it simple, you'll never need to worry about character limits or domains that are too hard to memorize.
5. Oversimplification is bad
Now that we've touched base on the importance of keeping your domain name simple, you might be thinking about doing things that could actually hurt your goal. Therefore, it's critical to learn the difference between a simple domain name and an oversimplified one.
For example, if your friend goes by the name DJ, it would make perfect sense to choose dj-medical-fundraising.com as your domain name. However, it would be an oversimplification to select DJMF.com, as this has no easily discernible meaning.
Another trend that you may want to avoid is choosing a country extension in order to make a creative word. For example, it used to be popular to choose an English word then add .ly at the end such as useful.ly, but the practice has fallen out of favor recently because it's generally harder to verbalize these "domain hacks," and because they're unusual, they can be more difficult to remember.
Just remember that keeping it simple without oversimplifying, using so-called cute wordplay or being overly clever is always the best course of action.
6. The decision of whether or not to use numbers
It is typically suggested that numbers should not be incorporated into domain names, but there are some compelling arguments for them. For example, the Internet provides access to the entire world, and numbers are often used to convey meaning in other languages (like Chinese, as highlighted in this video). Another good use of numbers to increase specificity without using too many characters—like if you're raising money to pay for an 88th birthday party. Spelling out 88 would make your domain name unnecessarily long and would most likely confuse people, so choosing something like james-88th-birthday.com or james-88th-fundraiser.com would make sense.
Just remember to use common sense when determining if numbers are appropriate for your domain. If they're culturally relevant or make things more specific, they may indeed be helpful for people trying to find your page.
Online fundraising is rather popular today, and with DonationTo you can get your fundraising page up in just a few minutes. And with an iwantmyname domain name, the whole process is easier than ever.
As you make your selection, follow our six tips to point you in the right direction for clarity and legibility as you share your domain name across email and all your social networks.