What is an NGO?

An NGO corresponds to the acronym of Non-Governmental Organization and is an association or entity whose purpose is to serve society through humanitarian purposes. This definition of NGO cannot be understood without its character cooperative that acts outside the public administrations, with the pretense of offering some kind of help but without the intention of profiting from it. Therefore an NGO will always seek to serve others through a specific cause.

What are the characteristics of an NGO?

An NGO is a private entity, which, as we have indicated, does not depend on the public administration, but rather of a group of people who act as volunteers and through their hands and their work or through donations they control the objective of their activity in a totally independent way. That is the main purpose of an NGO, but apart from it, NGOs have particular characteristics that should be known:

  • The NGOs work together and pursue the same objectives. its organization for this reason it is based on what is known as common leadership.
  • NGOs pursue a specific cause, be it social, pursuing human or environmental rights among others.
  • For the objectives of an NGO to be carried out, an NGO will always need funds or investments for the development of its activity. In a particular way, the volunteers of an NGO work for free, that is, what they contribute to the cause does not entail the claim or obtaining of a salary or economic benefit, but they act through donations to the cause, as we say, economical or with their own labor.

What objectives does an NGO have?

The function of an NGO is to serve a social cause, whether at the regional, national or international level. The objective of an NGO is, as we say, to provide social assistance, inclusion, aid and active work on human rights, on health or on the protection of the environment. However, we also highlight other purposes of an NGO, which we summarize in these three:

  • Commitment is the foundation of an NGO, so in addition to working actively with the cause it defends, a factor as important as raising awareness in society is also considered among its objectives, that is, to exert an impact on the people so that they can take action through volunteering or simply to publicize a specific problem that allows them to become aware of a situation that is real and that in one way or another affects the entire society equally.
  • Derived from the previous point, the change and the impact, since the NGOs want a modification or resolution of a social, economic or political problem among other areas.
  • Dignity and solidarity, to achieve a fairer world in which equal rights and opportunities prevail regardless of any type of conditioning.

What are the types of NGO?

The types of NGOs we usually come across are classified according to their scope of impact and the target of orientation. If we talk about NGOs based on the area in which they have an impact or on which they act, an NGO can be community, citizen, national and international. An example of a community NGO is one that was created with the intention of helping or protecting a group, such as organizations of women who have suffered some type of violence. On the other hand, we will find NGOs that participate on an international scale and that are possibly recognized throughout the world, because their cause has been distributed in countless countries, this is the case of UNICEF.

If we talk about NGOs by area of ​​repercussion, we will find NGOs of charity, services, defense or participation. Those that have to do with charity act on actions related to access to quality housing, for example. If we talk about services, we find those that have arisen as a consequence of a passivity of the State or an impossibility of covering all groups or citizens in general. For example, access to health systems or services. The participatory ones are the NGOs that work through self-help and finally, the defense ones act on the protection of rights.

And how is an NGO financed?

An NGO is financed mainly through donations, but in particular, these donations can be classified according to the reason for which they were made. On the one hand, we can find private donations from citizens. On the other hand, we find donations that have been produced directly by those people who are part of an NGO, its partners or volunteers.

However, there are other ways of obtaining funding for an NGO, as would be the case with activities that are promoted by the NGOs themselves, such as a meal whose benefits go directly to the maintenance of the NGO itself.

Ultimately, we also find those NGOs that are financed directly by the private sector, in such a way that they do not depend on the subsidies that are received, since in many cases, they are completely scarce or null.

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