How to name your associate board or young friends group posted 07/01/13

By Jon Franko

In marketing and brand development, a lot goes into a naming project — research, brainstorming, more research, a thorough scanning and referencing of your Synonym Finder or Thesaurus, a USPTO search…the list is long! It’s a very time intensive project and it can get expensive fast. Not to mention, before you even embark on this often bumpy, long journey, you’re going to want to spend some time with the thoughts of those who’ve been there before. Alex Frankel’s Wordcraft, for instance, is a fantastic read on the subject of naming if you’re a word nerd.

But, is this all necessary when naming a Young Friends group? I would argue no. And the reason why is pretty simple — equity.

Equity is what qualifies a parent board to build a Young Friends group in the first place. Equity is name recognition. Equity is being well-respected in the community. Equity is building an image of objectivity and good in which the community can believe.

Why in the would you ever compromise all of this equity in the interest of being clever? As a copywriter, I never thought I would make this argument, but so far, it’s certainly been my experience.

In naming a Young Friends group, we believe that the vast majority of the time it’s as simple as adding two words — “Young Friends” — to the front of your 501(c)3’s name. Sound boring? Well, it is. But it works. And it works well at that. I’m not going to say that the creative approach never works – as there is always an exception to the rule or an organization that might lend themselves to something a little more interesting.

With our first partner, the Friends of Kids with Cancer, we spent many of hours debating, brainstorming and scratching our heads over possible names for the organization, until finally it hit us. “Let’s just add ‘Young’ in front of their name.” Guess what – it worked! And the group today is going strong and has benefitted greatly from the equity already established by the parent organization.

In naming your Young Friends group, make sure it’s memorable, easy to spell for online search and descriptive. Leave “cute and clever” to the folks on Madison Ave. You’re looking for a description that works hard for you. Not one on which you work hard!

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