NGO Membership Models

The structure of NGOs worldwide takes a number of forms depending on various aspects (see for example, Keywords and Concepts associated with NGOs). The following is a selection of models that define the membership structure of NGOs.

  • Exclusive membership model: In this model, a small number of clients or member organizations pay a substantial up-front fee and an on-going amount to fund the NGO in return for implementing a project or conduct research.

  • Single-tier membership model: here, the NGO has one level of membership, where all members have identical rights and responsibilities. The members are comprised of individuals or organizations.

  • Multi-tier membership model: Several levels of membership comprised of a variety of organizations. The members may pay a fee based on the country where they are located, or it may be a voluntary/free membership.

  • Project model: In this mode, funds for the operation of the NGO are secured for developing and implementing individual projects. Overhead costs are usually built in to cover infrastructure and other costs.

  • Licensing model: An NGO may offer licenses at cost for the use of its products.

  • Consultancy model: The NGO charges fees for products and services that it offers, including capacity building, training, publications etc.

  • "Academic model": This is the case where Infrastructure such as physical facility, access to experts and student labor are provided by a host institution such as a university, usually free of charge or at cost.
Multiple sources, cited in different articles, brochures and websites.

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