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How to Start an NGO in India: Step by Step!

You must only consider running an NGO if and only if you want to contribute something to society. But how can you do it? read
You must only consider running an NGO if and only if you want to contribute something to society. But how can you do it? read more for How to start an NGO?

If you want to start an NGO but are confused about how to do it, don’t worry.

We are here with an easy step-by-step guide on ‘How to start an NGO in India?

Starting an NGO is not a piece of cake. You need to keep A LOT of things in mind before proceeding with the process of ‘how to start an NGO?’!

Starting an NGO is such goodwill work. You do not work for your benefits. Instead, you work for the welfare of your society.

The idea of opening an NGO is not only focussed on older adults or poor. You can literally start an NGO about any issue that you feel needs to be looked upon and taken care of.

If you are doing this because of any other reason rather than a genuine urge to work after something, you will surely find it a tough task.

The first and foremost thing you need to know ‘how to start an NGO’ is the genuine urge and willingness to work for the welfare of society.

Good karma always comes back in one or the other form. Thus, if you start an NGO with pure intentions, you will unintentionally earn the blessings of several people out there.

Let’s begin this guide basic things about NGOs and ‘How to start an NGO?’!

NGOs in India!

If you search for ‘How to start an NGO’ and reach this page, the very first thing/point I would like to tell you is that starting and running an NGO is not only about money or service. It is about the essential details.

You can’t just know the process and go for it. You need to know all the little details of this process and then plan your way out.

Let’s start by knowing a little about NGOs!

What is an NGO?

The short form NGO stands for Non-Governmental Organizations.

Non Government means it works independently without any interference from the government authorities.

The basic NGO ideologies are:

  1. Environment
  2. Poor and needy people
  3. Old people
  4. Education
  5. Social Service
  6. Women empowerment
  7. Animal rights
  8. Human rights

These were the few examples of some basic NGO activities. Besides these topics, there are several other activities that NGOs can do.

How does an NGO work?

The basic purpose behind running an NGO is the welfare of the society or the particular section of the society.

As we already discussed above that the NGOs are independent of the Government; thus, they do not get any kind of financial aid from the authorities.

Though they do not get any help from the Government, there are thousands of NGOs working on millions (even sometimes billions).

NGOs depend on private donations for their fundings.

Besides, private donations, they rely on the following sources:

  1. membership dues
  2. private donations
  3. the sale of goods and services
  4. grants

How many types of NGOs are there?

If you lok at the broad aspect, then there are two types of NGOs.

  1. Operational NGOs
  2. Advocacy NGOs

Operational NGOs:

The NGOs which work on multiple development projects for the overall development of the society are called operational NGOs.

Advocacy NGOs:

The NGOs which work (basically focusses) on some particular causes are called Advocacy NGOs.

Though NGOs are broad of two types, there are some kinds of NGOs that fall into both categories.

Examples of such NGOs are:
  1. NGOs that support Human Rights
  2. Advocate NGOs for health improvement
  3. NGOs that encourage political participation


The process of starting an NGO is not a simple one. You need to dive deep into the details.

There are paper works, meetings, activities, and much more.

So if you seriously want to know ‘How to start an NGO,’ then be prepared to do all these things.

But from where should you start?

The process of opening and running an NGO is quite similar to that of starting a company, but in NGOs, you will not be making any profits.

Requirments before starting an NGO!

Starting and running an NGO in India is like entrepreneurship (without any profits or gains).

It is not a fast forward process. It will take time, so you need to be patient.

The three basic assets you need to start and run an NGO are:

  1. Time
  2. Adequate resources
  3. Team of hardworking people

Besides these three materialistic assets, you must have a mission, visions, and purpose.

Thus, let’s begin with the step-by-step guide on ‘How to start an NGO?’!

The basic outline of the process of starting an NGO:

Step 1 – Decide the vision, purpose, and mission of your NGO

Step 2 – Establish the board of directors/members

Step 3 – Decide a name

Step 4 – Articles of Association

Step 5 – Register your NGO

Step 6 – Start gathering funds

Step 7 – Build a wide network

Let’s discuss all these points in detail!

Step 1 – Decide the vision, purpose, and mission of your NGO.

An NGO with all the worldly assets (like funds, workforce, and other things) but lack a purpose and vision is already a fail.

You can not just start an NGO for fun.

If you are looking for fun, you can finally drop the idea of starting an NGO (instead of NGO, go to an amusement park for that).

Thus, gather your thoughts, take time, and decide your reason for starting an NGO.

Once you reach a cause, you get the purpose, vision, and mission.

Step 2 – Establish a board of directors/members.

The next step is to set up a team of directors (founders).

All the people who were the main brain behind the idea of starting an NGO should come under the founder category, and then you can recruit other people who are willing to work for the society’s welfare.

You can easily put up free ads for recruitment and build your workforce.

Step 3 – Decide a name.

This is an extremely obvious yet important step.

You just can’t randomly choose a name.

Give it a serious thought and pick out a name that reflects your visions and mission.

The name will be the Brand image of your NGO. Thus, you never compromise on it.

Step 4 – Articles of Association

You might not know this, but every NGO in India needs a memorandum of understanding.

What does this Memorandum contain?

The Memorandum of Bylaws contains the following information:
  1. Name of the NGO
  2. Address of the NGO
  3. Vision and Mission of the NGO
  4. Details of the NGO’s governing body
  5. Workforce and staff information
  6. Rules & Regulations
  7. Administrative procedures

All these things are essential, and thus it is advised to hire an NGO consultant for this.

Step 5 – Register your NGO

The most crucial step is to Register your NGO.

You can not just randomly go a do it.

First, you have to prepare all the required documents.

Hence, prepare the Memorandum and then think of getting the NGO registered.

Once you or your team are done with all the documents, you can quickly get your NGO registered under any of the following acts:
  1. Societies Registration Act – It requires at least seven members
  2. Indian Trusts Act required at least two people (maximum limit for people is not specified).
  3. Companies Act

Step 6 – Start gathering funds.

As your NGO is registered, it’s time to collect funds because you undoubtedly need money to run the NGO.

The most effective and easy source of funds is donations. Meet people, tell them your intentions, and ask them to donate.

You can even collect funds from government aid, other Pvt organizations, and even foreign sources.

Step 7 – Build a wide network.

The main purpose of an NGO is the welfare of society, and it can only be achieved by reaching out to maximum people.

Thus, the last but not the least step is to build a wide network. A wide network is needed to spread your vision and mission to maximum people.

The best possible (and even the correct) way to do this is through partnerships.

Join hands with other NGOs and tell people about yours.

The Final Word!

I hope now you have ample knowledge on ‘how to start an NGO.

Just keep in mind one thing- The intention behind starting and running an NGO must be pure, good, and selfless. Only then will you (and your NGO) be able to grow and do good for society.

All the Best for your NGO!