18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.NGOPublic Interest Registrypir.orgView

The mission⁄purpose of the .NGO gTLD is to serve the global NGO Community by supplying it with an exclusive gTLD that will offer NGOs and NGO Associations differentiated and verified online identities, and thereby building confidence for their respective clients, partners, and benefactors.

Members of the NGO Community include Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and NGO associations. NGOs are defined as organizations whose mission and activities are broadly centered on improving the human condition, and are non-governmental, non-profit and non-criminal. NGOs have created NGO associations that are global, regional, and national in scope to face their common challenges and promote their common themes in a coherent fashion despite their diverse missions. For example, many NGO associations promote codes of conduct and self-regulation frameworks designed to reinforce their cohesion.

The NGO Community establishment is found in Evaluation Question #20 of this application.

The exclusivity of the .NGO domain will be provided through domain name registration restrictions and enforcement mechanisms. Domain name registrations under .NGO will solely be open to Non-Governmental Organizations who pass all established eligibility requirements. These registration restrictions will give users’ and benefactors’ confidence in the credibility of the .NGO websites they are visiting. This will afford individuals and groups greater assurance that the .NGO they are researching is a valid, Non-Governmental Organization.

PIR has conducted numerous outreach and research activities within the NGO Community to identify needs for additional services beyond a .NGO domain. This has revealed that the NGO Community has a need for an online source of information about NGOs, combining regional and local organization information, ideally a directory to provide a global platform for raising online awareness. To address this need, PIR is considering an online, global directory for .NGO registrants. Within this directory the .NGO registrants could promote their organization, and share their contact information with the Internet community within a single, unique and trusted repository.

Today, the global NGO Community is estimated conservatively at 6.7 million NGOs and NGO associations. NGOs face many challenges in describing and differentiating their unique characteristics on the Internet. They need to be able to distinguish themselves online from the commercial, for-profit, government entities and casual, unstructured groups. This distinction on the Internet is critical for NGOs to raise awareness and manage fundraising within their fields of service online and thereby reaching the global online market. As such, while the term “NGO” is already well recognized around the world, when coupled with a new gTLD, it will give NGOs the opportunity to bring their distinct characteristics to global Internet users by clearly differentiating themselves with their own online domain. .NGO will be launched as a restricted gTLD, which in turn will provide Internet users worldwide the confidence that they are interacting with a valid NGO. In this way, the .NGO gTLD domain provides to the NGO Community a tool to enhance accountability and transparency which is critical to donors, foundations and others who wish to contribute to NGO activities.

As a NGO itself, the Public Interest Registry (PIR) is acutely aware of the needs and challenges for NGOs managing online activities. PIR manages .ORG, an unrestricted gTLD the domain which has served the international NGO Community (among other communities) for more than 25 years. Part of .ORG management has always involved direct discussions with non-commercial, NGOs, and nonprofit organizations. PIR has discussed the unmet requirements of the international NGO Community starting with outreach prior to the assignment of .ORG in 2003; and has carried this forward, specifically regarding the ability to distinguish verified organizations from those domain holders without a specific non-governmental function. It is through this history of interaction with the nonprofit and NGO sector that PIR has identified and is responding to stakeholder interest in a restricted, community gTLD.

To remain connected with the needs and challenges of NGOs, PIR will create a special NGO Community Advisory Council composed of members from the NGO Community to advise on issues including broad .NGO policies and the introduction of new services. Their perspective, representing voices from the global NGO Community, will play a vital role in the long-term success of .NGO. PIR has already established a “pre-NGO Community Advisory Council” that will assist in the creation of the NGO Community Advisory Council and will advise on the verification process for .NGO registrations.

The .NGO gTLD will be a valuable part of ICANN’s expansion consistent with guidance defined in Section 9.3 of the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). Specifically, the .NGO gTLD will promote the goals of the new TLD round and the AoC reflected in the following ways:

A stable launch of a new gTLD that provides registrants a clear choice with a relevant domain;
Internet users trusting in the authenticity of the .NGO gTLD; and,
An active NGO Community involvement in the .NGO gTLD, such as through PIR’s NGO Community Advisory Council.

In short, the .NGO domain will be the choice for NGOs in need of an exclusive online space to raise visibility, to drive awareness for a cause, and to make a positive impact. The exclusive .NGO domain, administered in a trusted and responsible manner by PIR, will give NGOs a unique, relevant, respected place on the Internet.

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