Non-governmental (or “nongovernmental”) organizations, commonly referred to as “NGOs”, are usually nonprofit organizations independent of the governments of their country of origin. In the United States, nonprofit organizations are often referred to as charities, and the term NGO is applied to international nonprofit organizations.

NGOs are typically funded by donations or grants, or a combination of the two. Smaller NGOs may avoid funding and be run by volunteers. There are approximately 1.5 million NGOs in the United States, and an estimated 10 million worldwide.