Non-Governmental Organizations – Definition

Cite this article as:"Non-Governmental Organizations – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 14, 2018, last accessed June 5, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/non-governmental-organizations-defined/.

Back to: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, LAW, & RELATIONS

Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) Definition

Non-governmental Organizations commonly known as NGOs are a non-profit group formed by the citizens organized locally, nationally or internationally. The non-governmental organizations work independently of the government although they often receive funds from the governments. The NGOs works in specific sectors to promote a certain social or political cause.

A Little More on What is an NGO

The World Bank has categorized the NGOs in two sections: operational NGOs and advocacy NGOs. The operational NGOs works to achieve certain developmental goals such as poverty alleviation, improved health care, improved education and literacy, and many others. The advocacy NGOs are organized to promote specific causes. The works of some NGO may fall under both categories.

Some NGOs are run by the volunteers while many other have paid employees. The NGOs collect their fund from various sources to run the operations. Private donations, membership dues, sale of goods and services and grants are some of the ways of collecting the funds used by the NGOs. Government agencies, different ministries of the government, the World Bank and UNESCO release a significant amount of grants to fund the NGOs. Many NGOs rely completely on governmental grants to run their operations. Some large NGOs secure millions or billions of dollars as grants.

In the United States, there are about 1.5 million domestic and foreign NGOs operating in the country. The estimated number of NGOs working across the world is 10 million.

The term non-governmental organization was first introduced in 1945 when the United Nations was established. The term was coined to distinguish private organizations from intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations.

The are other alternative or overlapping terms used for similar organizations, that includes non-profit organization, civil society organization, third-sector organization, voluntary organization, grass root organization, social movement organization, and others. United States Agency for International Development refers to NGOs as a private voluntary organization. Although it is to be remembered the projects of the NGOs are often state or corporate funded and they have paid employees.
There are many types of NGOs working in a variety of sectors serving different sections of people. Followings are some of the acronyms used for describing various NGOs.

  • BINGO: Business-friendly international NGO or Big international NGO. Amnesty International is one such NGO.
  • ENGO: Environmental NGO such as Greenpeace.
  • GONGO: Government-organized non-governmental organization. Government organizes such NGOs in order to qualify for outside aid or to promote the cause of the government. International Union for
  • Conservation of Nature is one such NGO.
  • INGO: International NGO. Red Cross is an international NGO.
  • QUANGO: Quasi-autonomous NGO. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is an example of QUANGO.

References for NGO

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/13/what-is-non-government-organization.asp
http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/non-governmental-organization-NGO.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-governmental_organization
https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/NGO-non-governmental-organization

Academic Research on Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)

8 The role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Desai, V. (2014). The companion to development studies (pp. 590-594). Routledge. This paper explains 8 out of the various roles of the non-governmental organisations. Their importance and general function were also explained in this paper.

Promoting environmental education for sustainable development: The value of links between higher education and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Haigh, M. J. (2006). Journal of Geography in Higher Education30(2), 327-349. According to this research paper, the Informal environmental sustainability education which includes the direct involvement in the environmental actions taken by the NGO can be a very important and an effective strategy in increasing the understanding of the sustainability and environmental issues. In this paper, a community-based reclamation of the land research project was taken as a case study and this was jointly supported by the NGO Earthwatch and Oxford Brookes University. The analysis gathered from this study indicates that the aims of project volunteers include making a personal but tangible contribution to increasing the quality of the environment and the interconnection with like-minded persons. Also, they are expected to report the new innovations and incorporate them into their everyday activities which in-turns influence other persons in their immediate surrounding.

The operation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in a world of corporate and other codes of conduct, Nelson, J. (2007). Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. This paper explains the operation of the non-governmental organisations in a world of corporate and other relevant codes of conducts.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Participatory Development in Basic Education in Malawi., Makuwira, J. (2004). Current Issues in Comparative Education6(2), 113-124. According to this study, the rate at which one emerging non-governmental organization facilitates the participation of its stakeholders and other prominent beneficiaries in the aspect of making decisions, implementation, monitoring, identification and evaluation of fundamental education programmes in malavi were clearly evaluated. This paper argues that irrespective of the comparative advantage of this Non-governmental organisation, the participation of their stakeholders and beneficiaries including the local community as the making of decisions are largely top-down. This study, however, suggests that the NGOs begins to give up their hold on power and begin to develop confidence as regards their beneficiaries as well as other important stakeholders.

A survey of strategic change management practices within NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in Kenya, Adieri, B. (2000). Unpublished MBA Project, University of Nairobi. This study explains the survey of strategic change management practices within the non-governmental organisations taking Kenya as a case study.

Maximizing participation of Hispanic community-based/nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in emergency preparedness, Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Unger, J., Portugal, C., Delgado, J. L., Falcon, A., & Gaitan, M. (2005). International Quarterly of Community Health Education24(4), 289-317. According to this study, in other to understand the structural and social changes, there’s a need to maximize the community-filled participation in emergency preparedness. This paper accessed the social change need (needs such as social will, assets, barriers and community readiness) and the structural needs which include the capacity of the organization to implement various services into emergency management efforts locally). The result of this research paper shows an increase in the social will hut a decrease in community readiness. The maximization of timely participation of these stakeholders in the planning of emergencies can culturally ensure a community-structured plan, increase public and private confidence and compliance with the evaluation orders.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the empowerment of women in Africa, Dibie, J., & Dibie, R. (2012). African and Asian Studies11(1-2), 95-122. This research paper studies the problem of prejudice that most women face in various counties especially in Sub-sahara Africa. It studies the economic and social factors that help to prevent the integration of women into political leadership positions in the continent. This paper, however, accepts that if women are under-represented in Africa because of the issue an indirect or open mechanism of discrimination and exclusion, then the education girls and women are not enough. This paper also explains that in giving women the opportunity to economic resources and as well as removing their identities from their families, there will contribute powerfully towards the sustainable development process.

An approach for environmental education by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in biodiversity conservation, Singh, H. R., & Rahman, S. A. (2012). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences42, 144-152. According to this paper, a complete environmental education programme was taken into consideration as it could help create awareness, positive attitude inculcation, knowledge accumulation and also citizen participation. This paper explains the social marketing strategies and lists the various strategies involved which include overcoming behavioural problems, providing easy assess and also changing behaviours. The challenges involved with these strategies include Nolan effectiveness, behavioural modification, political will and finance. In a nutshell, this paper explains the approach of non-governmental organisations on environmental education

The role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the norm creation process in the field of human rights, Çakmak, C. (2004). Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations3(1). According to this academic paper, the impact and role of the human rights non-governmental organisations as regards the norms of the creation of human right was studied. An introduction about the meaning of human right and the general scope of the term was also given according to this paper. Also, this paper studies the evolution of the human right non-governmental organization. It should be noted that a relatively new assumption of human right is playing a vital role in the world of contemporary politics. As a consequence, in this 21st century, the problem of human right is one that has not only instigated politic and politicians but also private individuals and most non-governmental organisations that finds it hard to secure their similarities with the international standard that has been documented to protect those rights.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Human Rights NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) from the Birth of the United Nations to the 21st Century: Ten Attributes of …, Edwards, G. E. (2009). Mich. St. U. Coll. LJ Int’l L.18, 165. Irrespective of the omnipresence of human rights NGOs, most human rights community stakeholders do not come to term on a scheme for selecting NGOs to help ensure their legitimacy. Some definitional problems make it very difficult for most beneficiaries/stakeholders to easily differentiate between human rights groups deserving disbandment and human rights groups deserving support. The United Nations, most inter-governmental organizations, and other national governing bodies need to understand which groups are legitimate, worthy of accrediting, lawful, worthy of licensing, granting tax benefits to, or supporting. If individuals willing to join an NGO and recipients of NGOlarhesse also need to understand the type of NGO they are joining. This paper, however, does not aim at developing a much coherent scheme, its aim is stated at advancing the scheme’s development by analysing and identifying characteristic properties shared by successful human rights NGOs. This paper theorises that human rights stakeholders may assess human rights NGOs with the aim of determining whether they possess these characteristics.

Financing the microcredit programs of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs): a case study, Alamgir, D. A. (2000). Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship5(2), 157. This paper studies the micr0-credit programmes of the top six NGOs/MFIs in terms of the view of the clients’ as regards the programme. The main aim of this paper is to construct a selection strategy that identifies the efficiency f the programme. According to the data analyses carried out in this paper, the majority of the large percentage of loans was collected by GB members. By making use of logistic regression analysis, a suggestion as regards the amount of loan taken as well as the experience of alleviation of poverty and the NGO membership were explained. The data analysis recorded from this study shows that TMSS is the most suitable performing NGOs/MFIs

Was this article helpful?