Starting a non-governmental organization or a non-profit organization (NGO/NPO) can be a lengthy, time consuming process. However, the difficulties of the process can be minimized by following a consistent series of steps and seeking advice when needed. |
NGO/NPOs provide much needed services to their respective communities, and thorough planning during the start-up process is crucial to develop an effective and professional organization that is able to meet the myrid challenges faced by the world today.
There are many classifications of NGO/NPOs as determined by individual country's laws and regulations, including co-ops, credit unions, societies, people's organizations or community groups etc. The classifications can also designate NGO/NPOs as a religious, charitable, educational, scientific, literary or other organizations. These organizations may qualify for income tax exemption, or other financial benefits. Regional and local tax exemptions may also apply on a region by region basis.
This article provides an outline of the general steps needed for starting and incorporating a NGO/NPO. Detailed instructions for each of these steps can typically be obtained from local governments or a designated government agency/board, an attorney, or a local nonprofit management support organization.
The issues covered here are of a very general nature, and actual situations will, of course, vary from country to country. Starting an NGO/NPO may only require a strong vision, or a need, for people to come together as a group and work to satisfy that need. NGOs can range from 1-2 persons working on a single local issue to an international NGO network with thousands of members working globally on a range of issues.
This feature is primarily based on the work of GDRC, itself an NGO, and the interaction it has had with other NGOs via its programme, the "NGO Café".