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Organizational Name Changes

edited September 10 in Arts & Humanities

How do you handle the history of organizations that have changed their names?

For example, If Outagamie County Historical Society has received a dozen grants under this title, and then changes its name to History Museum at the Castle (true story) how do you preserve that history of the old name? If I merge the organizations, then I lose the name of the organization that received the grant in that history. If I leave them separate, then when I go to pull a history of grant making to the History Museum at the Castle, it will lose the history of having received grants as Outagamie County Historical Society.




  • Great question.... I just had this same issue recently.

  • I just had that happen, too. I'd be interested in reading how other organizations have handled this.

  • Thanks, @MegTurvilleHeitz for asking this question. Others may have different methods, but I have seen clients just put a comment in the Org Summary that the name changed from A to B in month/year. Those are generally the kind of "global" comments that I see the Comments tab used for.

  • The convention in the databases I inherited is to update the organizational name to: "History Museum at the Castle (formerly Outagamie County Historical Society)," for example. This ends up being a bit unwieldy but the benefit is that you can do an organizational search using either name.

    I also like @AshleyHarper 's idea about adding a comment with the date of the name change. That could help clear up potential confusion when reconciling with non-Foundant historical records.

    Looking forward to hearing about other solutions!

  • If you are a CommunitySuite customer, you may want to think of the possible effects this will have on your integrated data, as well. As soon as an organization's name is changed in GLM, that change is reflected in CSuite, if those organizations are linked (and vis versa). It's important that everyone who uses those products are aware of the name change, and to make a note of those changes in both systems, as it could lead to confusion if you suddenly can't find what you're looking for.

    Those organization names also would be printed on your checks from CSuite, so putting the FKA name could make that look a little funky!

  • If you change the name to (formerly known as) then all merge documents, etc. would end up with this lengthy extra information in it, wouldn't they?

    A related issue is DBA. Especially with organizations that have changed their public face, but their EIN and DUNS remain with the old entity (or they are still transitioning). Before the full EIN name change to History Museum at the Castle, they were DBA.


  • I usually include the old name to the end as well ("formerly"). We only use GLM and our foundation is smaller than many of yours so it's easier to catch when printing letters and checks and drop the extra. I'm sure this isn't the best practice but it's the only way I know to maintain the integrity of searching the organization by name. Once the new name is more commonly recognized I drop the old name.

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