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
- Blank paper
- Large sticky easel paper or poster board and tape
- 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
- Review any network priorities identified in past meetings. Review the mission statement, vision, and values if applicable.
- Give each participant a blank piece of paper and a pen.
- Set a timer for five minutes and instruct participants to write down five potential network names.
- After the timer ends, instruct participants to pass their paper to the left.
- Repeat steps three and four an additional two times.
- Instruct participants to circle their two favorite names from the sheet currently in front of them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Say each suggestion out loud and ask everyone to raise their hand to vote for their favorite names. Each person gets three votes.
- 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