Please review this article before sending your request to get listed on GuideStar.


What is an EIN? 

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique, nine-digit identification number the IRS uses to identify business entities. Assigning an EIN does not automatically grant 501(c) status to nonprofit organizations. You may learn more about EINs from the IRS website.

Each nonprofit profile has its own individual EIN. Any organization wanting to be listed on GuideStar will need to have its own EIN to be listed separately from an associated office or parent. Candid cannot create a GuideStar listing for your organization if it does not have its own EIN.

What is 501(c) status? 

This is the tax-exempt status granted to nonprofit organizations by the federal IRS. This status is not granted by the state but obtained via formal IRS determination or inclusion under a group exemption. 

Candid is unable to accept an EIN issuance letter or state documents to verify the federal tax-exempt status of your organization.

You can find more information about types of 501(c) organizations on the IRS website.

What is a letter of determination? How do I obtain one?

A letter of determination is the approval of formal tax-exempt status by the federal IRS. A nonprofit can obtain one by filing the Form 1023 or Form 1024, the Application for Recognition of Exemption

Candid automatically creates a nonprofit profile for 501(c) organizations registered with the IRS. If your organization has previously received tax-exempt status from the IRS, it may already be listed on GuideStar. To check, please enter its nine-digit EIN into the GuideStar search

If your organization has only recently received tax-exempt status (within the last six months), it may not appear on GuideStar yet. If you would like it to be manually listed early, please send a copy of the letter of determination (all pages) to*.

*Please Note: Organizations manually listed on GuideStar will not be verified against IRS files until they appear on the IRS Business Master File (BMF) and/or Publication 78.

For more resources on obtaining a letter of determination, check out our Candid Learning article and IRS Publication 4220.

What is a group exemption? 

A group exemption is the IRS’s recognition of an umbrella (central) organization and its affiliated organizations as tax exempt. A group exemption letter has the same effect as an individual exemption letter except that it applies to more than one organization.

An organization under a group exemption typically has an Employer Identification Number (EIN) separate from that of the central organization. If your organization has its own EIN, that does not necessarily preclude it from being covered under a group exemption. 

The central organization that holds the group exemption determines which organizations are included under its ruling. You can verify your inclusion by contacting the central organization directly. 

Please see IRS Publication 4573 for more details. 

If our organization is under a group exemption, can we receive donations directly? 

Being included under a group exemption will not affect your organization's ability to receive donations directly. All donations made to a specific EIN will go directly to that organization, regardless of whether or not it is included under a group exemption. 

The only reason an organization would not be eligible to receive donations directly is if it does not have its own EIN.

I filed a Form 1023/1024 but haven’t received my letter of determination yet. How can I get my organization listed on GuideStar?

Candid is unable to add your organization to GuideStar before receiving the final copy of the letter of determination.

We must wait for the final say from the IRS, as it would be an overreach of authority on our part if we were to determine your organization beforehand.

Once you have received the determination, please send a copy (all pages) to, and we will be happy to list your organization.

What type of organizations are listed on GuideStar? 

GuideStar lists all tax-exempt nonprofits registered with the federal IRS. We use the IRS Business Master File (BMF), the definitive list of tax-exempt organizations registered with the IRS, and IRS Publication 78, the listing of organizations qualified to receive tax-exempt contributions, to automatically create the profiles on our site. We receive updates of these sources 11 months out of the year.

Although GuideStar lists all 501(c) organizations, many GuideStar partner sites only accept the data of 501(c)(3) public charities for inclusion in their programs. If your organization is a private operating/nonoperating foundation or tax exempt under a section other than 501(c)(3), it may not be eligible for inclusion by our partner programs.

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