NGO stands for Non-Governmental Organization, sometimes also known as NPO (Non-Profit Organisations). It can be said as a group or an organization, which is non-profit and non-governmental establishment by a group of people, social activist, or a community came together to bring a social change and work for social welfare and development. It can also be known as a voluntary organization of social activists.
It is not always necessary to register to work as an NGO on any social issue to bring a change in society for good and operate the work for social welfare. NGOs can be of both types registered or non-registered, but when an NGO is registered with Government registration authorities, then it gets all kinds of support from the government, including financial support to management and authority to establish them as a recognized organization. You don’t require any skill set or educational qualification to operate an NGO; it can be done by any member associated with it, provided he/she has skills to manage and dedicate himself to work of social welfare and ethical objects.
There isn’t any fixed or formal definition of an NGO, but in common words, it can be defined as an association having a definite goal, objective, and vision about the development the establishers want to see in the society and also recognized as non-profit entities free from governmental influence in spite of getting funded by government.
There is no such recognizable difference between an NGO and an NPO. In the US or some other places, the term NGO is not given to a non-profitable organization. But talking collectively, it can be said that the word NGO is for those organizations which work or operate at an international level, but there are places also where a common civil society group is referred to as an NGO.
Activities of an NGO include works like environment conservation, social welfare, and development, human rights works, and advocacy, but it is not only limited to these works only. They are also open to working for bringing a political change or promoting the ideas that can teach people to live peacefully and responsibly. NGOs always have a great role to play in a country’s development, developing its society, improving communities there, and promoting the participation of its citizens in the prosperity of that country.
What is an NGO – Non-Governmental Organization?
NGO in India
One can refer NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation) with so many familiar names like above written NPO (Non-Profit Organisation), Charitable Organisation, Voluntary Organisation, Civil Society Organisation, Community Based organization, Social Development Organisation, Social Organisation, Social Service Organisation, Social Welfare Organisation and so on. But collectively, it is a type of organization that works for social welfare and the common welfare of the human race. Institutions or organizations that have a common intention of human welfare and social development and not any commercial or economic objectives and very independent from the government to make any decision and do anything in favor of society. By organizing any indigenous group, an NGO can support development at a very small scale inside a country to national or even international level. They can act as private agencies or citizens group and work for a community association, communal harmony, social cooperativeness, and equality among citizens.
It supports the legal powers and rights of the weaker and minority sections of a country. It can also be considered as a monitor that keeps a check on the activities of government, their ministries, and the status of efficiency of their organizations. They put the check on govt in a very legal way and respecting the values of democracy by always taking account of people and involving them in their projects with common interests. They always collaborate with the locals of the section they are targeting to improve to know in and outs of that section so that the development can reach to the least deserving also.
They raise awareness and influence policies regarding societies, communities, environment restoration, woman empowerment, and many other social evils residing in our societies. They always tend to work for weaker section of a community or society by doing a project for their betterment and upliftment by improving their skills, helping them economically, training them to compete in the stronger competitive world so that their living standards can be raised and their status can be recognized as respectable at least.
NGOs are the only organizations that are truly capable of bringing a change at large scale by working in the field to provide equal rights and opportunities to weaker strata of the country and can contribute in developing the societies to have improved and very civilized way of living and developed way of existence. An NGO always helps the weaker section in sustaining its legal rights and place in society. They always aim to strengthen the art, science, culture, and tradition of masses to make everyone feel equally safe and protected in terms of their existence. The objective is to bring a positive change in society, region, or country to make the world a better place to live. They always tend to fulfill certain services and development-oriented tasks to target the betterment and upliftment of the masses. On the very root level, the common objective of NGOs around the globe is to improve human life and their civilization.
The NGOs get money typically in the form of funding from government, donations, funding from unilateral or multi-lateral agencies, etc. They also collect some part of their revenue from membership fees and interest they get on the investments the NGO made. We can also say that an NGO is always managed by the resources and support from govt., supporting and funding agencies, and support from other groups and people. They also get help and support from various sources like private donations, voluntary services from different institutions or individuals, grants, and sales of goods through the NGO. A charitable or religious association working for development, distribution of food, clothes, and other amenities to support the people living in scarce and area are facing natural hazards or any disaster. By nature, they are a non-profit association for any business or trade, but if they get profit from them, then these profits are to be reinvested through that NGO only. They are organizations working for no profit and no gain to be recognized as NPO.
All NGOs have a common mission, vision, goal, and objective to improve human civilization and communal harmony. Every country has its own rule and laws that are applicable to these NGOs and recognizing them as legally registered charitable trust, non-profit companies, or any social service organization. One can register the NGO as per the applicable rules and laws of the concerned country.
When we look around us, we can find many such organizations working around us for our welfare to improving the circumstances, providing support to the needy strata of the society.
In India, the following types of organization may Act as NGO:
- A trust with two or more than two working members and more than one person as trustees of that NGO, registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1982, can be considered an NGO.
- A non-profitable company usually clubs or associations of professionals in India registered under Companies Act, 1956.
- A community or society registered with the Registrar of the Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 having all the aims and structure of the organization, as mentioned in the Act.
- Any charitable or philanthropic society or group of individuals constructed and registered under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1920, and abide by all the rules of that Act.
- Any group of people from our society that is determined to work for the betterment of humans and the environment in which they live.
- A legal body whose constituting members and structure is abode by a stature.
Thus, in India, an NGO can either be registered as a company, a Non-profitable association, or a statutory body or unregistered.
If you are in any mood to form an NGO and register it, then you need to get legal support from experts or any consultancy. They will give you very wise advice and help you deal with all the legal matters. They can help you in understanding all the process like:
- Registration of the NGO
- Details about the requirements of the registration process
- Prepare and complete all the requirements of the Articles of incorporation of Memorandum.
- Prepare and finalize the Mission, Vision, Goal, and objectives of your NGO
- Prepare all the required documentation for the Registration process of NGO
- Make you clear about the requirements according to the areas, locality or anything else concerned
- Provide legal consultancy to get the get Certification, Registration of Memorandum, and all the Documents.
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Things You Should Know Before Starting An NGO In India
Forming an NGO
The first thing that matters the most is the formation of an NGO all together with its management. Every single person associated with the association should be headstrong to work hard in the spirit of charity and social welfare. The board member of such organizations has a great role to play; hence they need to be self-motivated and determined. At the time of formation, it becomes very crucial to identify the truly devoted members of the organization.
Preparing the document
If you want your organization to be a registered one, then you need to be very strong about the documentation. Your document must have these details:
- Organization’s name
- Organization’s address
- Mission, vision, and objectives of your NGO
- Details of board members who are going to govern the organization
- Details about your funding, resources, human resourcing, and staff recruitment.
All the laws and procedures related to an NGO administration and registration:
If an NGO is formed under Section 8 of Companies Act, 2013, then it will be abided by its rules and regulations except that there is no uniform law in India to regulate the formation and functioning of an NGO. We have a public trust act of each state to govern the trusts around the country and societies registration act to govern the societies working for a common cause. The society’s registration act in India is subject to State Amendments. Hence there is no uniform and concrete law to regulate the formation, management, roles, functions, and responsibilities of NGOs for Indian societies.
An NGO’s registrations:
It can be registered as a company, as a society, or as a trust.
As a company: Under Section 8 of the Company’s Act 2013, one can register an NGO as a non-profitable company working for no gain or loss. The company should be determined to work for promoting science, arts, sports, social welfare, protection of the culture, preserving the environment, etc. Once the company is registered, you need to put words like the council, foundation, or federation in its name but not to put the word ‘limited’ at the end when its objective is to promote arts, science, education, sports, social welfare, protection of the environment and even for research purposes.
As a society: Under the Society registration Act of 1860, you can register your NGO with seven or more members as a society. To register as a society, you need to follow a tedious process than usual but very effective in the long run regarding the working, management, and functioning of your organization. There is a Section 20 in this Act that describes that societies like a military orphanage, galleries, and public museums, formation and maintaining libraries may come under such societies. It becomes necessary for these societies to provide power and rules for the working members in the given document and have to run according to the laws of the Act and self-described powers and regulations in the memorandum the submitted during their registration along with an affidavit.
As a trust: Trust is altogether a separate entity very different from societies and companies. The founder of the trust will list out the mission, vision, and objective of the trust and will contribute to the corpus of the trust in the beginning. It generally takes days to a week to form a trust and register it after fulfilling all the required trust deed. In a recognized Trust, all the trustees have the power, not a single person. Hence the decisions by a trust are expected to be more acute and quicker.
Step by step description on how to start an NGO in India.
Decide mission, vision, goal, objective, and cause of your NGO.
Step one on the list is to write the cause of your NGO. Its mission, vision, goal, and objective, whether it will work for children welfare, women empowerment, or to protect the environment. A clear document needs to be drafted about what it stands for, including all these purposes very clearly so that a normal person can understand.
Decide the board of Directors/members and other requirements.
If there is an organization, it will obviously demand a board of members who can look after every prospect of its working and functionality. Always make sure that people as the board of directors have a similar thought process and like-minded people with determination to help others and the spirit of charity. There is no limit on how many members an NGO can have or how many people should be there as a board of directors. Registration of an NGO is a legal process, so you need to get into contact with a legal consultancy.
You also need to take of the finance part of your NGO, for that you should have a financial advisor, technicians, and people to work on the ground level.
Get a creative name for your NGO
It is a very common requirement to have a name so that people can specifically identify you. It should not be lengthy and difficult. It should be such that people can easily pronounce and remember. You can name it anything behind any idea, but make sure there is a story behind it. People these days are easily influenced by the narrative if you put it very creatively. Hence a creative name can help you a lot in the success.
Memorandum of your NGO – Articles of Incorporation/ Articles of Association
If your NGO is India based, you need to have a memorandum, which is basically a documentation of all your trust deeds, MOUs, and legal competencies. It also documents the mission, vision, goal, and objective of your institution. The document will have all the details about the board of directors, trustees, partnerships, human resources, and staffing details.
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You also need to be very clear about the rules and regulations of your organizations and have to mention all these in that document. The memorandum needs to drafted in a legally acceptable manner fulfilling all the parameters required for registration. For this, it is always advisable to have legal assistance.
Get your NGO registered
It can be registered as a company, as a society, or as a trust through these acts.
- Under Section 8 of the Company’s Act 2013
- Under Society Registration Act of 1860
- Under the Indian Trusts Act
- Under section 12-A and 80G Income Tax Act 1961
Start raising funds
As soon as you get registered, you can start collecting funds for your NGO. You can do it by means of making a donation, membership fee, subscription charges. You can also start doing any business or trade regarding your projects. You can get funds from some external sources, such as funding from govt., private agencies, or any foreign agencies or source.
Get connected to the world
Start expanding the reach of your NGO, build a wide network to get connected to various other NGOs, organizations, agencies, social groups, professionals, media houses, government agencies, and corporate and start looking for partnerships to make your NGO successful and established. An NGO can thrive and survive only on the basis of how strong and effective partnerships it has. So, start working and get connected to the world.
This article can be concluded by the idea that NGOs are not “owned” by anyone, and one cannot distribute the profits by an NGO between individuals in any form. All that an organization termed as NGO gains or any profits it makes from economic activities in the name of that NGO will always get reinvested or spent on appropriate non-profit activities through the very organization for the welfare of masses.
Starting an NGO demands more than just money from you. You need to have huge commitments, hardworking abilities, a high urge to help others and bring positive changes near you, determination to make the weaker stronger, and a genuine desire to reach the needy. To start and run an NGO successfully is almost like starting and running a company even tougher as in an NGO, you need to keep transparency and must work only for the society without expecting any profit from that for yourself. To make an NGO successful, it needs huge commitments from you and your entire team. Your team needs to be self-motivated and committed to putting their best in all situations with the attitude to make it successful at whatever it takes attitude. An NGO worker always lives in search of peace for their soul with all the good intentions in mind for others. The type of world we created is ultimately very ineffective in producing real NGOs worker as every individual on this globe is standing with self-interest to get ahead of everyone. It is very much recommended to monitor your NGOs performance because it is very risky to trust people in this toilsome world. An NGO should always support people to get their legal powers and rights, and their projects should always be oriented for the masses’ welfare and betterment of their lives.
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If you want to form an NGO and are very determined about it, then make sure the team with whom you are planning to form an NGO is also as determined as you are and your team is very much devoted to helping people and will make all their efforts to bring the change in the living standard of masses of the country.