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I volunteer for a charity seeking to reduce suicides and mental health problems in Australia.

White Wreath is hoping to increase the amount of donations it receives through their website.

I've asked a colleague a question: would migrating to www.example.org.au increase the trust a website visitor has in White Wreath?

In Australia, an organisation has to be charity or non-profit to register a .org.au domain name.

The CEO of White Wreath is concerned all the merchandise with www.example.com on it will become invalidated due to the domain name change.

What are your thoughts?

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    Most people don't understand the difference between a org, net or com... however, most serious charities use .org... whether or not that leads to more donations is impossible to know. merchandise with .com isn't a huge problem, you simply redirect .com to the .org, and then phase the old merchandise out with new. – Simon Hayter May 26 '16 at 11:35
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I've asked a colleague a question: would migrating to www.whitewreath.org.au increase the trust a website visitor has in White Wreath?

Opinion, but: Yes. I would trust a .org.au site over a .com site.

The CEO of White Wreath is concerned all the merchandise with www.whitewreath.com on it will become invalidated due to the domain name change.

What are your thoughts?

I don't understand this. Merchandise is merchandise. It doesn't change when a domain is changed.

If you are asking whether this will invalidate the ability to register the domain, that is a legal question.

Without giving legal advice, I suspect that it does not. Your organisation is either not-for-profit or charity, or not.

I do not think the activities on the site matter - provided they are not contrary to status of the organisation.

You may want to seek legal advice though.

Perhaps you could edit your question to expand on this concern more and I will try edit mine to better address.

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    Thanks for that edit John - kind of an important distinction! Can we use your technical term "poo poo" here? :)Good work around here BTW. I see a lot of your contributions. – TBB May 26 '16 at 14:44
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It seems this question would mostly attract opinions as answers - to get something objective you'd probably have to do a focus group with the types of people who would donate to you.

It's also a branding question, not foremost a web question.

But for what it's worth, as a fellow Aussie, I'd trust a .org.au before a .com, particularly if I hadn't heard of the charity before. It'd be much less common to have a bogus website set up with a .org.au domain.

In your case, I've heard of White Wreath before, so as long as it was clear to me that a .com was your official website (which it would be clear if I came from merchandise, or otherwise if I did a quick Google to see what ranks first), having a .com wouldn't affect my decision to donate.

If I hadn't heard of White Wreath before, then I would definitely trust you more seeing a .org.au domain. It'd also communicate that you were a home grown charity, and not an arm of a larger global entity, and therefore would make me likely to believe more of my money is staying local, helping a local project.

That also makes it a branding question: do you want to market to donors who already know you, or is this part of a bigger marketing push?

In regards to the merchandise, I wouldn't worry. Redirect the site, update the merchandise, in several years there'll be none of the .com stuff.

In summary, for Australian organisations - and similarly for Australian business with .com.au - I'd always say, use the .au :)

  • But for what it's worth, as a fellow Aussie, I'd trust a .org.au before a .com, particularly if I hadn't heard of the charity before. It'd be much less common to have a bogus website set up with a .org.au domain. Thanks Tim. I agree. I persuaded the CEO to go with .org.au. – Steve May 27 '16 at 7:12
  • Good work @Steve! :) – Tim Malone May 27 '16 at 7:22
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It doesn't need to be .org.au or .com, it can be just .org if you want, because that is what you are - a non profit organisation.

The only difference I see is that .org.au rank higher in Australia.

By the way, what kind of merchandise is it? If we use Wikimedia as an example, they have a store inside their .org website: https://store.wikimedia.org/

However, just because it is a .com domain, the website doesn't need to be commercial, same for .org, .net, .host etc.

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