Setting Up Your Own NGO in India: Things to Think About
If you are keen to start your non profit or non government organisation in India, you have to think hard about how you approach it. It’s not just about money, and your cause, it’s also about going about it the right way. Setting up an NGO requires vision, hard work, determination, and a genuine desire to work for and with others. To set up and sustain an NGO is quite like running a company, and like with a company, even with an NGO you have to be transparent, upright, and straight forward. Your accounts, paper work should be clear, updated and meet all legal requirements. You and your team must work towards improving society, fulfilling people’s needs, have a cause and think for the welfare for society without chasing for profit. Here are a few steps through which you can start setting up NGO in India:
Have A Mission
The first step is to list down what you stand for in your NGO. What’s your mission or cause? NGOs are non profit organizations that aim to work towards solving issues and create welfare for a part of the population. In order to achieve their objectives, non governmental organisations follow a wholistic approach right from the very starting stage of setting up. From mid day meals, women’s rights, welfare for sex workers, saving the earth, it can one of many important issues that a nation is grappling with. Jot down your object, draft a focussed and short statement of your mission, explain your purpose, its goals, the target audience and its objectives. So put down the issues that your NGO wants to address, and identify the focus area and vision.
Set up the board of Directors/members
You will need a board and the role of the board is to be a guiding rudder to the organisation. This governing board is normally also responsible to govern the NGO and its activities. It’s appropriate to have people who understand your mission, and have the spirit and desire to help without a profit motive. These are names that the government requires you to share and the onus of the success and credibility of your NGO will also rest on this board. Hence selecting them with care is important. You also need to have the support of financial advisers, writers, support staff, technicians and people with knowledge of legal issues.
Decide the name of your NGO
It is an obvious requirement for any NGO to have a name. Normally, the name should be short and relevant. But of course there are many named after people, families or even causes. What it should not be – is similar to any Government Authority Body, Board or Ministry, or any other registered company or NGO.
Memorandum – Articles of Incorporation/ Articles of Association
All NGOs are legally bound to document a full report on why they exist and what they do. This is normally done one time via a trust deed/ Memorandum of Understanding/Bylaws. It contains the name and address of the organisation, the cause and objectives, details of members, human resource and staffing information, rules and regulations, administrative laws and procedures. The Memorandum must be prepared and drafted in the acceptable pattern, manner, process and parameters that are required for registration and other procedures. Normally accounting advisors have this information. Before the submission of the application for registration of an NGO, it is important to learn of the bylaws that represent the rules, regulations, operation modes, working pattern, working area, responsibilities of the NGO and objectives of an NGO.
Getting your NGO registered
Once all the documents are ready, and the required fee is submitted, you can get your NGO registered under any of these Acts-
- Societies Registration Act (In society, minimum seven members are required to be the members),
- Indian Trusts Act (In Charitable Trust at least two people are required, there is no limit of maximum members)
- Companies Act (A non-profit Company can be registered under section 8 of the Companies Act with the Registrar of Companies.)
Start getting funds
Once your NGO has registered, it’s time for you to start collecting funds to run the NGO. In India rules allow you to take funds from an Indian entity only. Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act permits organisations to take foreign money but of late government have put restrictions on it. You may read more here.
Connect and Grow
NGOs have great strength in numbers. Since so many are working towards the same cause. So aim to have a wide network. Get connected to various other NGOs, professionals, media houses, government agencies and be on the lookout for meaningful and effective partnerships. The main source of survival and thriving of NGOs is mainly through partnerships.