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Naming the network

Selecting a name for the network will help establish the group and help members communicate effectively as the network grows.

Decide who will participate

Before picking a name, determine who will be involved in the naming process:

  • Network leadership
  • All network members
  • A specific working group

Consider how much time you want to dedicate to naming the network. If a larger group is involved, the decision-making process may take longer. A small group may take less time to decide, but may present fewer name options.

Consider using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s naming model: “[Network Location] Elder Fraud Prevention & Response Network” if there isn’t time to conduct a naming exercise.

Conduct the exercise

Activity supply list

  • Pens
  • Blank paper
  • Large sticky easel paper or poster board and tape
  • Markers

Naming tips

  • Use simple and specific language
  • Choose a name that is easy to spell and pronounce
  • Consider whether a layperson would be able to understand the name
  • Consider possible acronyms or catchy, short names

Activity instructions

  1. Review any network priorities identified in past meetings. Review the mission statement, vision, and values if applicable.
  2. Give each participant a blank piece of paper and a pen.
  3. Set a timer for five minutes and instruct participants to write down five potential network names.
  4. After the timer ends, instruct participants to pass their paper to the left.
  5. Repeat steps three and four an additional two times.
  6. Instruct participants to circle their two favorite names from the sheet currently in front of them.
  7. Ask each participant to share their top two names with the group. Have a volunteer write each suggestion down on a large piece of poster board or easel paper so everyone can see them.
  8. Ask participants to consider which suggestions have more emotional impact; better convey the network’s mission and priorities; or are easier to say, spell, or remember.
  9. Say each suggestion out loud and ask everyone to raise their hand to vote for their favorite names. Each person gets three votes.
  10. Thank everyone for participating and tell them you will check the top names for trademarking or other potential issues.

Select a final name

Check each name for the following:

  • If it's available on your state Secretary of State’s website—in case you intend to register the network officially
  • If it's not already trademarked on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website
  • If any variation of the name is too similar to another organization’s name or acronym
  • If related website domain names are available
  • If related social media account names are available

After ruling out any names with availability issues or conflicts, consider choosing the final name in a private meeting among network leadership, or returning to the group with vetted choices for a final vote.

Once you select the final name, consider:

  • Reserving it on your state Secretary of State’s website
  • Trademarking it through the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Taking other action to protect the name