This article will tell you the definition of an NGO and how to start an NGO in India. Any citizen of India can start an NGO if they have the will to do non-profitable work. Setting up an NGO is not as difficult as you think. Even people with a high profile job quit their job and turn in to social work. Starting an NGO is just like starting a company where one has to start working from the grass-roots level. The only difference is that it works non-profitably for the welfare of the people and maintains transparency.
What is NGO?
Non-Governmental Organizations, also called NGOs, are not formally associated with any government agency or institution. Non-Governmental organizations are run by people interested in social services for the masses. They work for the welfare of the poor, the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of society. Many people from a civil society set up NGOs to conduct social programs and social service work. Non-Governmental organizations can be civic or private. In India, many NGOs are based in the field of environment, human rights, women, child, and immigration.
How to start an NGO in India?
The idea to start an NGO in India is a good choice for you. We say a good choice because India is the second-largest populous country in the world, next to China. In most cases, a large number of NGOs are concentrated towards the developing or under-developed country. Numerous social issues like the environmental problem, health, education, child rights, human trafficking, etc., are prevalent in these areas. So, it won’t be difficult for you to start an NGO related to any of the issues mentioned in a country like India.
However, there are some concrete steps that you must follow to have a solid foundation. Here are the steps for you.
Decide the Purpose, Vision and mission of your NGO
The first and foremost step to start an NGO in India is to decide your NGO’s purpose, vision, and mission. Make a clear draft of the NGO, which contains the explicit statement, types of works, what support your NGO will give to the society, target group and its objectives. Your NGO may be for women’s safety, Child rights, LGBT, environmental support, children’s welfare, etc.
Give a name to your NGO
Starting an NGO in India is like setting up a company that required different perspectives to prepare before it begins. So getting a name is also one of the essential steps to starting an NGO. Give your NGO a catchy name that won’t be hard to remember. It is a good idea to give a name that seems relative to your work. Your NGO’s name should be unique and different from any other already registered NGOs, government authority, company, society, etc.
Now set up the Board of Directors and Members
You’ll need to set up a board of directors and members like it do in a company. The primary function of the Board of Directors is to govern and oversee the operations of the organization by acting as guardians. The board is responsible for the legal, financial and moral of the organization. Try to have like-minded people with a strong will while setting up the Board of Directors and Members. It’ll help run the NGO in the long-term with a clear vision that can uplift the targeted section of the society without thinking of any profit.
Memorandum Articles of Incorporation/ Articles of Association
In India, NGOs requires legally to document a memorandum of understanding or bylaws containing the name and address of the NGO, its mission and objectives. It must also include every detail of the governing body members, staffing information, rules and regulations, working areas, etc. Memorandum is to be prepared in such a way that it fulfils all the required parameters to avoid any rejection. It is better to hire an NGO consultant who can help you design and complete the necessary incorporation and memorandum article.
Registration of NGO
An unregistered NGO cannot be claimed legal and receive funds. Every NGO in India needs to register to gain legal status and become accountable for the funds received. Once you’ve all the required documents ready, you may register your NGO in one of the following acts given below.
Societies Registration Act – in this act, you need to have at least seven members to register your NGO. Essential documents required to register under the Societies Registration Act are as follows:-
- The name of the society,
- Address proof, identity proof of all the members wich can be, a driving license, copy of passport, voter ID or Aadhar card,
- Two copies of the Memorandum of Association and By-laws of the society.
It takes 8 to 10 days for drafting the MoA and Bylaws of the Society after you paid the registration fees. After that, it takes 21 to 30 days for society to be registered.
Indian Trusts Acts – In Charitable Trust, at least two people are required, and there is no limit of maximum members. You have to provide the following documents to get your NGO registered in the Indian Trusts Act.
- An electricity bill or water bill that mentions the address that needs to be registered
- provides identity proof of at least two company members, which can be a Voter ID, Driving license, passport, or a copy of an Aadhar card.
Once you paid the registration fees, it will take around 8 to 10 days to complete the registration process under the Indian Trust Act – 1882.
Companies Acts – A non-profit company that works for charitable purpose can register under section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 with the Registrar of Companies. A section 8 company is similar to trust and society. NGOs registered under this act has better reliability among government bodies, donors and other stakeholders. Some of the essential documents required for registration in the companies act are:-
- The company’s name for approval, address proof of the office like electricity or water bill,
- Identity proof of all the Directors that can be a driving license, copy of passport, voter ID or an Aadhar card copy ,and
- The Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of the Company.
After you paid for the registration fees, it takes about 8 to 10 days for drafting the MoA and AoA of the Society. After that, it takes about two months for all the registration process to complete.
Start Fund Raising
After the registration process is completed, you can start raising funds for the NGO. Non-profit organizations need to rely on fundraising to pay for the various costs involved in their activities. They need to raise funds for running the day-to-day activities and the maintenance and expansion of the institutions where they operate. However, most of these organizations depend heavily on private donations, and they receive foreign offers for their activity.
Expansion of Network
Building a good network with various other NGOs, media houses, government agencies, and corporations help grow your NGO. NGOs flourish mainly through partnership. So, it is essential to search for a partner who can understand and support your cause morally and financially in the long run.
Final Words on How to Start an NGO in India?
If you’re reading this line, I assumed that you’d read all the required information on starting an NGO in India. Starting an NGO may seem very easy. However, it is easier said than done, and one must do proper research on the subject he/she wants to start an NGO. Keeping in mind that the one you choose to start for NGO maybe for the short or long term depending on the scope of the issues. Once the problem is solved, the life of your NGO is completed, and you’ve to start a new one. So, it is better to choose one that can go in the long run. The success and failure of your work depend on your hard work, dedication, discipline and willingness to do for a cause without any profit.