How do we know if a group is a nonprofit organization?

There are state and federal laws that determine whether an organization is a nonprofit.  The state of Maine’s website has several sources of information that may be helpful.  Some of these websites are geared toward people wanting to create a nonprofit, but will provide basic guidelines to anyone who wants to know more:

You can verify if a Maine organization is a registered nonprofit by searching in the Corporate Names Database.

  • Type in the name of the organization; the best matches will appear
  • Choose the appropriate link and click on the Information Summary link
  • The Information Summary shows the name, charter number and current status and date of incorporation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has many web pages dedicated to defining charitable nonprofits and activities they may engage in.

The IRS also provides a way to check the nonprofit status of an organization.

  • Follow the Exempt Organizations Select Check link.
  • Choose search parameter (eligible, revoked, filed 990-N); this expands the page and you can enter the name of the organization being researched.
  • A list of best matches will appear and you can use the column headers to sort by name, city, etc.

Please let us know if these sites are helpful. Too much? Too detailed? Not enough? Now you know what foundations go through trying to verify applications all the time!