Starting and running your NGO may be a totally fulfilling thing to do. However, it requires more than just a good heart and idea. To run a successful NGO, not only do you need to be properly with marketing your cause, however, you also want to be wary of the legal implications involved. Therefore, starting an NGO requires adequate legal planning and a lot of difficult work, and a desire to assist people. In many ways, running an NGO requires just like a lot of ability as running a company, and sometimes, even more. Indeed, in this article, we will be taking a look at what an NGO is, and how it works.

NGO stands for non-governmental organization. While there's no universally agreed-upon definition of an NGO, normally it's far a voluntary group or institution with a social mission, which operates independently from the government. NGOs or similar organizations exist in all parts of the world. What is taken into consideration an NGO in one country may not qualify as an NGO in another, as legal definitions, permitted activities, monitoring, and oversight differ from country to country. The term can embody many types of organizations. Although those terms aren't always interchangeable, an organization much like an NGO can be referred to as nonprofit, charity, non-profit organization (NPO), civil society organization (CSO), citizen sector organization (CSO), social benefit organization (SBO), an advocacy organization, voluntary organization, grassroots support organization (GSO), and non-state actor (NSA). You might also hear the terms independent sector, volunteer sector, and civil society in the course of discussions about NGOs.


A number of versions of the NGO acronym exist, including: 

•    INGO:

An international NGO. For example, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe is comprised of more than three hundred participating INGOs.

•    GONGO:

This approach government-organized NGO, frequently derogatory. Foreign Policy describes GONGOs as government-backed NGOs set up to recommend on behalf of a repressive regime in the international arena.

•    QUANGO:

Chiefly a British term, often derogatory. A quango is a quasi-self-sustaining non-governmental organization that relies on public funding. Its senior officials are appointed by the government. A Financial Times opinion piece writes that quangos are visible as useless and are often staffed through quangocrats.

•    ENGO:

An environmental NGO, for example, Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Fund. Both organizations operate internationally further to advocating for the environment. They are frequently simply known as NGOs.


  • NGOs have a specific reason or motive that they support. 

  • NGOs are voluntary groups, created through like-minded people who need to help serve society. They function as autonomous bodies, having only a little or no governmental interference. 

  • NGOs have their own set of rules, regulations, and policies, depending on their motive. 

  • NGOs aren't profit-making or profit-sharing companies. Rather, they assist in empowering and bettering our society. They generate, create, and manage their funds through contributions and donations from the public.


  • A Trust composed of one or more people can sign up as an NGO, as in line with the Indian Trusts Act, 1982. 

  • Any company, club, or association together with professionals can act as an NGO through registering under the Companies Act, 2013 

  • It is to be mentioned that any society of people that aims to higher society can sign up as an NGO as per the Societies Registration Act, 1860 by approaching the Registrar of the Societies.

  • Moreover, any statutory body which hands out memberships to persons based on their stature. 

  • Also, any Charitable Trust can sign up as a Non-Governmental Organization under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1920. Any different group, society, or affiliation that targets to uplift the society.


As non-profit organizations, NGOs depend upon a variety of assets for funding projects, operations, salaries, and different overhead costs. Because the once-a-year budget of an NGO may be in loads of millions (or maybe billions) of dollars, fundraising efforts are essential for the NGO's existence and success. Funding assets consist of membership dues, the sale of goods and services, private zone for-profit companies, philanthropic foundations, presents from the local, state, and federal agencies, and private donations. Individual private donors include a large part of NGO funding. Despite their independence from the government, many NGOs rely heavily on government funding to function. Some governmental NGO funding can be regarded as controversial because the funding may also help certain political goals in place of a nation's development goals.


Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010, Foreign funding of voluntary organizations in India is regulated under the FCRA act and is applied by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The acts make sure that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the said purpose for which such contribution has been obtained. Under the act, organizations require to register themselves each 5 years. 

Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 Foreign Exchange Management Act (1999) objectives to consolidate and amend the regulation relating to foreign exchange with the goal of facilitating outside change and payments and for promoting the orderly improvement and maintenance of the foreign exchange marketplace in India.

 A transaction under FEMA is known as a fee or a salary at the same time as the equal under FCRA is known as a provider or a contribution. In 2016, the powers of Ministry of Finance to monitor NGOs had been placed beneath neath the FEMA. The concept became to bring all NGOs, which obtain foreign contributions, under one umbrella for better monitoring and regulations. The step was taken to that make sure only one custodian monitors the flow of foreign finances to these organizations. 

Constitutional Provisions for NGOs in India Article 19(1)(c) on the proper to form associations; Article 43 which highlights the State’s having an endeavor to promote cooperatives in rural areas; Concurrent List in Entry 28 mentions – Charities and charitable institutions, charitable and religious endowments, and religious institutions”.


A National Accreditation Council including academicians, activists, retired bureaucrats have to be made to ensure compliance by NGOs. There has to be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds. A regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary companies is the need of the hour. Citizens these days are keen to play an active position in procedures that form their lives and it's far important that their participation in democracy cross past the ritual of voting and have to consist of promotion of social justice, gender equity, inclusion, etc.

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Damini Nagar
B.A LLB from Indore institution of Law

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