The process of evaluating whether a foreign NGO is equivalent to a U.S. public charity had been subject to rules that had been unchanged for 20 years. The resulting process was often expensive, complicated, and duplicative and a burden to both grantmakers and their global grantees.

Recognizing the need for streamlined international giving, in 2006, four of the U.S.'s leading philanthropy organizations — Council on Foundations, InterAction, the Foundation Center, and Independent Sector — initiated a process to make equivalency determination easier. This process resulted in the creation of NGOsource.

In 2007, these organizations met with IRS officials to discuss their vision. Not only did the IRS representatives indicate a willingness to review a plan, but they also shared that they had envisioned creating a similar service 15 years earlier.

These founding collaborators, along with other stakeholders and sector experts, conducted a rigorous process to select the right organization to build and manage the service. In 2008, they chose TechSoup because of its extensive global network and proven ability to offer scalable, sustainable services that facilitate philanthropy.

TechSoup and the Council on Foundations then joined with legal partners Caplin & Drysdale and Adler & Colvin to design and operate NGOsource in compliance with U.S. legal requirements.

In 2009, TechSoup and the Council on Foundations submitted requests to the IRS and the U.S. Department of the Treasury in support of NGOsource and to urge clarification of certain ED standards.

In 2012, the Treasury and IRS proposed significant rule changes to make international giving easier, more cost-effective, and less redundant for both U.S. grantmakers and NGOs. These rule changes were published in the document "Reliance Standards for Making Good Faith Determinations" in the Federal Register.

In Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement of these rule changes, she remarked that the regulations cleared the way for the establishment of organizations that can serve as repositories for equivalency determinations — such as NGOsource — though the regulations do not specifically address the matter.

NGOsource's equivalency determination service launched on March 18, 2013. 

Funders and Supporters

NGOsource is made possible by our generous funders and supporters, which include many of the most esteemed foundations in the United States.