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Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Introduction


A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) or Civil Society Organization is any organization not established by government agreement. They comprise the "third sector" of modern society, in addition to the public and private sectors.  For more background see What is an NGO? by Peter Willetts at City University, London. The NGOs listed in this guide are selected samples for educational purposes.

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NGO Accountability

NGO Accoutability CharterReports from global civil society organizations to comply with a charter designed to foster NGO transparency and accountability. 

Charity Navigator.  Nation's largest evaluator of charities: objective, numbers-based rating system to assess America's best-known charities.

Charity Watch.  "Dives deep" to  inform users how efficiently a charity uses donations to fund programs.

International Aid Transparency Initiative. Seeks to improve the transparency of aid, development, and humanitarian resources in order to increase their effectiveness in tackling poverty.

Search Engines & Directories

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) information on the Internet can be located using the following directories  and the NGO search engine below.

NGO Custom Search Engine


Foundations Directory. Funding sources for non-profit grant providers. Includes U.S. foundations, corporate giving programs, and public charities.

Gale Directory Library. Directories of organizations (including the Encyclopedia of Associations & National Directory of Nonprofit Organizations) with statistics.

Idealist.Org. Includes a directory organizations by name, mission, focus country and more.

OneSite Europe. Aims to provide actors with easily accessible data on development NGOs, to facilitate joint action and knowledge sharing among like-minded organizations.

Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports.  Annual Reports from an international survey of scholars, donors, policy makers, and journalists to rank think tanks.

TakingITGlobal. International non-profit centered on young people. Good source of NGO information by country and area of focus.

Yearbook of International Organizations Online. Includes all data published in the printed Yearbook of International organizations. 

WANGOWorldwide directory of Nongovernmental organizations searchable by country and area of interest.

Be careful - not all NGOs are what they seem.  It can be very illuminating to look up a group on sites like Source Watch, which does a great job of tracking corporate front campaigns and think tanks funded by lobby groups, etc, posing as non-partisan groups.

Find NGO Publications

CGS PolicyArchive. Good resource for a range of full-text documents produced by think tanks (non-profit research organizations) in the United States.

Eldis. Information service providing free access to research on international development issues. Includes  summaries and links to research and policy documents.

IssueLab. Thousands of searchable publications and reports in the social services sector.

PAIS International. Books, journals, government documents, research and conference reports, and web sources related to public policy, politics, economics, and social issues. 

Policy Archive.  Archive of global, non-partisan public policy research: summaries and full texts, videos, reports, briefs, multimedia, think tank material, and university, government, and foundation-funded policy research. 

Project Muse. Scholarly content in the humanities and social sciences, includes many publications from overseas institutes and think tanks.

Think Tank Search Engine. From Harvard Kennedy School Library.

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