A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business.
Usually set up by ordinary citizens, NGOs may be funded by governments, foundations, businesses, or private persons. Some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes. Others may be fronts for political, religious, or other interests.
The number of NGOs in the United States is estimated at 1.5 million.Russia has 277,000 NGOs.India is estimated to have had around 2 million NGOs in 2009, just over one NGO per 600 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India.
NGOs are difficult to define, and the term ‘NGO‘ is rarely used consistently. As a result, there are many different classifications in use. The most common focus is on “orientation” and “level of operation”. An NGO’s orientation refers to the type of activities it takes on. These activities might include human rights, environmental, improving health, or development work. An NGO’s level of operation indicates the scale at which an organization works, such as local, regional, national, or international.
Type of NGO
The NGOs can be classified into various types on the basis of different factors like orientation or level of cooperation.
NGO type by orientation can be grouped into Charitable orientation; Service orientation; Participatory orientation; and Empowering orientation.
NGO type by level of co-operation can be grouped into Community- Based Organisation; City Wide Organisation; National NGOs; and International NGOs;
The Non-governmental organizations forms a heterogeneous group and it has a long list of organization working in different areas with varied scope of work. The alternative terms used in addition to “NGO” include private voluntary organizations, civil society, independent sector, self-help organizations, grassroots organizations, volunteer sector, transnational social movement organizations, and non-state actors (NSA’s).
Some of the Famous terms used for NGO are mentioned below.
BINGO – It is a short term used for business-friendly international NGO
CITS – It is a type of NGO that basically devoted in helping the scientific community by motivating the young talent towards R & D.
CSO – It is short term for civil society organization
DONGO – It refers to the Donor Organized NGO
ENGO – It is an abbreviated form of environmental NGO like Global 2000;
GONGO – It refers to the government-operated NGOs
INGO – It is an abbreviated form of international NGO like Oxfam
QUANGO – It refers to the quasi-autonomous NGO like an ISO non-governmental organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
TANGO – It refers to the technical assistance NGO
GSO – it stands for the Grassroots Support Organization
MANGO – It refers to the market advocacy NGO
CHARDS – It is a short form for Community Health and Rural Development Society
As per the World Bank Typology, the NGOs can be classified into Operational and Advocacy NGOs.
Operational NGO – The main purpose of operational NGO is to design and implement the development-related projects. The scope of the Operational NGOs can be national, international or even community-based.
Advocacy NGO – The main purpose of an Advocacy NGO is to promote a specific cause. It makes efforts to raise awareness and knowledge by doing various activities like lobbying, press work and activist events.
Staffing and Funding of NGO
The volunteers usually make up the staff in NGO, however it is not always the case and therefore not all the people working for NGO are volunteers. Also, volunteer do not always work in NGO for purely altruistic reasons. In fact, working in an NGO offer the immediate advantages for themselves and the people served including their experience, contacts and skills. Working in a NGO requires you to visit the developing countries and this type of personnel is employed for satisfying a donor who may want to see the funded project to be managed by people from industrialized country. The expertise of these employees is usually compensated by various factors such as the cost of foreigners.
It happens that these employees do not possess grass root connections in the country where they are sent and their local expertise is undervalued. The NGO sector is also major employer in terms of numbers.
The NGOs usually operates by the fund received by them and some of the larger NGOs usually have annual budget in the millions or billions of dollars. The funding of such large budgets requires considerable fundraising efforts on the part of NGOs. Some of the major sources of NGO funding include the sale of goods and services, membership dues, and grants from international institutions and private donations. There are various EU-grants which offer funds accessible to NGOs.
The term “non-governmental organization” usually points towards the independence from governments. However, a large number of NGOs usually rely heavily on governments for their funding. For example, the British government and the EU donated about 25% of US$162 million income of the Oxfam (famine-relief organization) in 1998. Also, the American government had donated US$55 million to the Christian relief and development organization in 1998. In fact one of the Nobel Prize Winner Médecins Sans Frontières receives up to 46% of his income from various government sources.