How to Check if an NGO is Registered?

How to Check if an NGO is Registered?

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in addressing various social, environmental, and humanitarian issues in the United States and around the world. To ensure that these organizations are legitimate and accountable, it’s essential to verify their registration status. In the USA, NGOs are required to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain tax-exempt status.

No doubt, ensuring an NGO’s registration and legitimacy in the USA involves a combination of online research, direct communication, and a critical assessment of their transparency and accountability.

By following these steps and taking additional precautions, you can make informed decisions about supporting NGOs and contribute to meaningful causes with confidence. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of checking if an NGO is registered in the USA.

Step 1: Gather Information

Before you start checking an NGO’s registration status, you’ll need some basic information about the organization. You have the capability to check an organization’s 501(c)(3) status, explore 990 filings, generate lists of nonprofit organizations, and authenticate nonprofit data. This information typically includes:

Organization Name:

The full and accurate name of the NGO.

EIN (Employer Identification Number):

This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify the organization for tax purposes.


The organization’s physical address or the address of its principal office.

Mission and Activities:

Understanding an NGO’s mission and the scope of its activities can help you verify its legitimacy. Legitimate NGOs typically have a well-defined mission statement and clear objectives. There exist approximately 1.5 million non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in operation within the United States, engaging in a diverse range of activities.

Contact Information:

Collect the organization’s contact details, including their phone number and email address. This information will be useful if you decide to contact them directly.

Step 2: Use Online Resources

The most convenient way to check an NGO’s registration status is to use online resources. The IRS provides a search tool called the “Exempt Organizations Select Check” (EO Select Check) that allows you to verify an organization’s tax-exempt status. Here’s how to use EO Select Check:

Access the IRS Website:

Go to the official IRS website (

Navigate to EO Select Check:

Click on the “Charities & Non-Profits” tab, then select “Search for Charities.”

Use the Search Tool:

You can search for the organization using either its EIN or its name. Enter the required information and click “Search.”

Review the Results:

The search results will display information about the organization, including its registration status. If the NGO is registered as tax-exempt, you will see details about its tax-exempt status, such as its foundation status (e.g., 501(c)(3)).

Additional Information:

The search results may also include details about the organization’s activities, address, and contact information.

IRS Form 990:

In addition to using EO Select Check, you can also request a copy of an NGO’s IRS Form 990. This form provides detailed financial information about the organization, including its revenue, expenses, and programs. Many NGOs make this form available on their websites or upon request.

State Registrations:

Keep in mind that some NGOs may also need to register at the state level, depending on their activities and location. You can check with the appropriate state government agency to verify their state registration.

Step 3: Contact the NGO Directly

If you are unable to find the information you need through the IRS’s EO Select Check tool, or if you have any doubts about the organization’s status, you can contact the NGO directly. Most legitimate NGOs are transparent about their registration status and will be willing to provide you with the necessary documentation to verify their legitimacy. Here’s what you can do:

Visit the NGO’s Website:

 Many NGOs have a website where they provide information about their mission, programs, and registration status. Inquire about the NGO’s programs and projects. Legitimate NGOs are often eager to share information about their impact and achievements.

Contact the NGO:

Reach out to the organization via email or phone and ask for proof of their tax-exempt status. They should be able to provide you with their EIN and other relevant documentation. When contacting the NGO directly, don’t hesitate to ask for documentation that supports their tax-exempt status. This may include a copy of their IRS determination letter, which officially grants them tax-exempt status.

Check for Accreditation:

Some NGOs are accredited by recognized bodies or associations. Verify if the organization holds any relevant accreditations. Reputable NGOs should readily provide you with information about their financials, governance structure, and impact reports. Lack of transparency can be a red flag.

Additional Considerations

Numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the United States engage in activities unrelated to politics. These encompass volunteer groups founded on common religious beliefs, labor unions, organizations dedicated to aiding disadvantaged individuals such as the impoverished or disabled, and groups focused on empowering both youth and marginalized communities. Here are some additional considerations:

Check Charity Watchdog Websites:

Several reputable websites, such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, provide ratings and reviews of NGOs based on financial accountability and transparency. These platforms can offer insights into an organization’s performance.

Research News and Reviews:

Look for news articles or reviews about the NGO. Positive news coverage and reviews from reputable sources can indicate credibility.

Avoid Scams:

Be cautious of unsolicited donation requests or NGOs that pressure you to give immediately. Verify the legitimacy of the organization before making any contributions.

Consult Legal and Financial Experts:

 If you have concerns or doubts about a specific NGO, consider seeking advice from legal or financial experts who specialize in nonprofit organizations.


Checking the registration status of an NGO in the USA is a straightforward process that can help you ensure that you are supporting a legitimate and tax-exempt organization. Using the IRS’s EO Select Check tool and contacting the NGO directly are effective ways to verify their status.

Remember that transparency and accountability are key indicators of a reputable NGO, so don’t hesitate to ask for documentation if you have any doubts. By taking these steps, you can make informed decisions about which NGOs to support and trust in your philanthropic efforts.

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