About Us

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law works to improve the legal environment for civil society, philanthropy, and public participation around the world.

We share a vision of a safe, legal environment in which all people are free to join together and improve their lives.

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law was founded in 1992 as one of the first organizations to focus on the legal environment aspect of civic space. We work with partners from civil society, government, and the international community developing long-term relationships to advance reforms. As the only global organization focused on the laws affecting civil society, philanthropy, and public participation, we provide unique expertise.

Locally Relevant, Globally Informed

We aim to support local capacity, not to supplant it. Our partners are in the driving seat of reform, and we work with them to make fully informed decisions. Our contributions are locally relevant and based on our global expertise. Our work is rooted in universal principles and norms of international law and embodies our commitment to nurture the legal environment at all levels, from the local to global.

A speaker at an ICNL-supported workshop on crowdfunding in Morocco, May 2018. One participant concluded that the legalization of crowdfunding “could have a truly positive impact on Morocco’s development.” (Photo credit: ICNL)
A speaker at an ICNL-supported workshop on crowdfunding in Morocco, May 2018. One participant concluded that the legalization of crowdfunding “could have a truly positive impact on Morocco’s development.” (Photo credit: ICNL)

Our Goals & Values

Five goals guide our work, each of which represents a central pillar in achieving our mission.

ENHANCING INTERNATIONAL NORMS

We work with global institutions to improve international standards so that they protect and promote civil society.

STRENGTHENING LOCAL PARTNERS

We work with civil society, governments, and others to improve local laws affecting civil society.

NAVIGATING THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT

When restrictive laws are passed, we help organizations continue their important work in changing environments.

CREATING KNOWLEDGE

We build and maintain an up-to-date knowledge base through innovative research and analysis.

RAISING AWARENESS TO PROTECT CIVIC SPACE

We track legislative trends and keep our partners updated on developments affecting civic space around the world.

Our work is rooted in our commitment to the following core values.

SUPPORTING LOCAL EXPERTISE

We deeply value the knowledge and expertise of our partners. We support locally-owned initiatives and experts as they seek to respond effectively to issues facing civil society.

A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

We aim to ensure that our organization reflects the diversity of the contexts in which we work. Much of our staff come from their regions of expertise. Along with members of our board and advisory council, they represent more than fifty countries.

AN HONEST BROKER

We strive to serve as a measured, fair, and independent partner able to engage with all interested parties in reform processes. Our work is based on deep legal expertise, best practices, and is guided by principles rooted in international law.

DEMAND DRIVEN

We believe reform should result from an indigenous, transparent, participatory process. To support this goal, we strive to ensure that our work is responsive to local circumstances and to serve as a resource for a diverse range of stakeholders.

IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE

Our expertise comes from decades of in-depth work on issues affecting civic space. Our team of international staff and network of leading experts maintains a robust knowledge base through ongoing research and analysis.

Explore ICNL’s geographic and thematic work and our extensive resource collection, which includes innovative research, legal analysis, curated infromation covering an array of topics.