Also known as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits exist for public benefit and all their revenue is used to further their mission, rather than distributing it as profits or dividends. These organizations range from soup kitchens to aid organizations, museums, high schools, and unions.
To be included in Idealist's nonprofit database, nonprofits must be fully operational. They must be legally registered as nonprofits or have some other kind of documentation—such as a web site or brochure—that clearly states their mission and describes their nonprofit activities.
Please note: companies that are federally mandated in the United States to have volunteer programs can also be listed in in the nonprofit directory.
Government agencies are entities administered by a local, city, state, or federal government, such as departments of health, parks, or sanitation.
Consultants/Vendors to nonprofits
Consultants are companies that provide services to nonprofit organizations. These services include grant writing, communications, fundraising, and professional development. Vendors are companies that sell goods that are uniquely needed or used by nonprofit organizations.
Both consultants and vendors must clearly demonstrate, via their website or other documentation, their work with the nonprofit community.
Many organizations use recruitment firms to help them find staff. Recruitment firms may post on behalf of clients who meet our criteria, such as nonprofits or government agencies, or for their own internal positions.
Social enterprises are mission-driven businesses that use market-based strategies to address intractable social problems.
Social enterprises are not required to be legally registered or certified as such in order to be listed on Idealist. To be eligible for Idealist, a social enterprise must meet the definition above and clearly demonstrate, via their website or other public documentation, that their for-profit business model is integral to their social mission and that they are currently fully operational.
There is no legal designation for social enterprises in the U.S., but these companies can become certified as B-Corps. The United Kingdom does have a legal status for social enterprises, and some other countries also choose to legally recognize these kinds of businesses.
Idealist does not include:
- Any organization that promotes hate or violence
- Military or intelligence organizations
- Personal projects or webpages
- Early stage start-ups that are still in the planning stages
- For-profit education, tutoring, mentoring, or college advising
- For-profit healthcare or psychological treatment
- For-profit child or adult care
- For-profit athletic or social clubs
- For-profit life coaching or self-improvement
- For-profit career coaching
- For-profit media
- For-profit legal services
- For-profit art projects
- For-profit voluntourism, which includes volunteer programs, tourism, tour operators, hostels and exchange programs
- Orphanages and care homes for children that are not registered as a nonprofit in their country of origin. Idealist staff may ask for documentation showing that the orphanage or children's home is a fully-operational and registered nonprofit.
And if you find an organization on Idealist that doesn't appear to meet our requirements, click on the "Flag" button at the bottom right of the organization's page to let us know.