Name Change: The Final Decision Needs Your Wisdom

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If you are new to the issue we are addressing in this post – changing the name of the Community-Driven Institute – come up to speed here.

Well this is it – we believe we have finally found the name that says what this organization is about at its core. With that, several key decisions remain.

Now more than ever, we really need your wisdom.

We have spent months discussing both the process of changing the name and the name itself. We have done so here at the blog, on listserv discussion groups, on Twitter and Facebook, in conference calls and in one-on-one conversations.

Having taken all that incredible conversation to heart, we are excited to move forward.

So first I want to share how we came up with the name. (And yes, that includes sharing the name itself.)

And then I want to share what’s next, which is, of course, the nothing-is-ever-simple part.

Listening to What You Told Us
Those of you who have been through the Community-Driven Institute’s classes know there are two parts to figuring out complex situations. The first is about asking great questions that reach for the highest potential of any situation. The second is about listening to the answers in a way that provides deeper insights than just the words that are spoken.

When it came to asking questions, you have all been amazing in helping us question and think and reach for words that spoke to the organization’s potential. You asked questions we hadn’t thought to ask ourselves. You helped guide us to find clarity. To say thank you hardly seems adequate.

From there, though, it was our job to listen and find insights in the broad array of answers to those questions. In that process, several things became clear.

1) The Dogs That Don’t Bark
It isn’t just Sherlock Holmes who finds insight in the dogs that don’t bark. Dimitri and I have, for years, tried to hear the things people were either not saying, or saying quietly. We have found that sometimes the highest wisdom in the group is being shared in whispers by people who are almost embarrassed to say it aloud.

That alone is powerful. But when that same whispered wisdom is being shared in the exact same words, over and over, that’s when we know it is time to sit back and listen. That is what happened with the name we eventually settled upon – over and over, people quietly suggested the exact same name.

2) Action!
Many people suggested the use of action in the name. More than one person mentioned the newly branded “FeedingAmerica” (the artist formerly known as America’s Second Harvest), noting that one instantly knows what the organization does and is about, in large part because of the action in that name.

3) What Does the Name Make Possible?
Through the CDI’s core values, we know that the more we find the highest potential of any situation, the more likely that everyone will agree with the outcome. For each of the names that were suggested, we asked what those words suggested was possible. The answer kept coming back to the same high-level response – the same words again and again.

The Name: “Creating the Future”
Yes, it is the name of the blog. It is the subtitle of The Pollyanna Principles. Of the six principles, it is the critical one around which all the rest revolve: “We are creating the future with each and every action we take.”

In our classes and workshops, it is what we teach people how to do. It is the conversation we are kindling sector-wide. It is the purpose behind the in-person convening we do in communities and in online discussions.

It is our essence. Whether they are board members or funders, social entrepreneurs or executive directors, consultants or volunteers – we help social change agents create the future of our world.

BIG Decisions Remain: We Need Your Advice!
Having decided on the name of the organization (with a trademark filing now in the works), there is one big decision remaining.

That is because the domain names and .com are already taken.  While the name of the organization is one thing, the organization’s address in the great mass of tubes that are the world wide web is another matter.

The people who own those web address names are willing to sell them. Purchasing both will cost somewhere between $5,000 – $10,000. To purchase only may cost as much as $4,500 (it may be some less. The owner has already come down from his initial price, knowing this is a charitable effort. Our contract to purchase the name allows for some flexibility depending on monies we are able to raise).

So the decision is as follows:
Should we raise money to buy one or both domain names / web addresses?
(And perhaps that is 2 questions. Is it enough to own just one?)


Should we use a different web address than the organization name – for example –  which, BTW, we already own?

Here are the factors we are considering in the decision.

Reasons for having the domain be the same as the name
• Reaching for the vision of the organization will require changing the conversation in the world of social change / nonprofits / NGOs – an effort we have already undertaken in many arenas, including this blog.  To what degree will it impact our effectiveness in advancing that conversation if the message (as represented in both the organization’s name and the URL) is not consistent?

• To advance that conversation, we want to hit the ground running with as complete a message as possible from the start. Again, to what degree does a fractured name / URL fracture the message?

• The web is THE portal to what is now CDI and will be Creating the Future. Unlike a bricks-and-mortar chain like McDonald’s, with thousands of locations to make an impression, there is only ONE portal to us. Will it confuse if that portal does not share the organization’s name?

• Practical matters arise as well.  Multiple names/URLs could easily confuse.  A single name will be easier to remember, easier to find, consistent with the blog (which is already called Creating the Future), etc.

Reasons for NOT having the domain be the same as the name
• We would have to raise the money to purchase the name. Is that an appropriate thing for which to raise funds?

That is our thinking so far (based, for the most part, on the thinking you have shared with us).

And so here is the last batch of questions for which we could really use your help.

1) Are there reasons on either side of the decision, that we have not considered?

2) Given our mission and vision and purpose, is this an appropriate purpose for which to raise funds?

3) And in the back of my mind, the nagging question: If the choice is “Buy one or both,” do you think we could raise the money to do so?

So what do you think?

June 12 update: After 33 comments (at last count), the decision is in. Read it here!

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