How Start an NGO in India

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How Start an NGO in India

Many individuals express the desire to transition from high-profile jobs to social work, often contemplating the establishment of non-profit non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Creating an NGO is a relatively straightforward process, achievable either independently or with the assistance of professionals like lawyers or chartered accountants familiar with the necessary procedures.

NGOs primarily focus on advocating for specific causes or enhancing the well-being of targeted communities. Operating within the non-profit sector necessitates a distinct approach to objectives and operations compared to for-profit entities. Successfully realizing the mission of an NGO begins with a pragmatic approach during the conceptual phase. Furthermore, compliance with regulations established by both the Government of India and state governments is imperative.

What is an NGO ?

NGOs, or Non-Government Organizations, represent a voluntary gathering of individuals who share a common aspiration to contribute to societal progress. Unlike traditional profit-driven enterprises, NGOs operate as non-governmental entities, emphasizing their non-profit nature. Individuals motivated to enhance societal conditions have the option to establish an NGO in accordance with Indian legal provisions. 

It’s crucial to recognize that due to its non-profit character, any surplus generated by an NGO is solely directed towards advancing its stated objectives.

Benefits of Starting an NGO in India

Starting an NGO in India offers several benefits:

  1. Empowers Social Change: Initiating an NGO enables individuals to actively drive positive social transformations and make a tangible impact on various issues.
  2. Fosters Civic Engagement: By establishing an NGO, individuals engage communities, encouraging them to participate in projects that enhance their well-being and environment.
  3. Addresses Unmet Needs: NGOs address gaps in public services, catering to underserved populations and unmet societal needs.
  4. Advocates Causes: Through an NGO, individuals can raise awareness and advocate for causes close to their hearts, influencing policies and societal attitudes.
  5. Encourages Collaboration: NGOs often collaborate with government bodies, businesses, and other organizations to amplify their impact and create a more interconnected society.
  6. Provides Skill Development: Running an NGO develops leadership, management, and teamwork skills, contributing to personal growth and professional enhancement.
  7. Fulfills Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): NGOs facilitate businesses in fulfilling their CSR mandates, promoting ethical practices and community development.
  8. Creates Networks: NGOs provide opportunities to build networks and partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, and authorities.
  9. Builds a Legacy: Establishing an NGO allows individuals to leave a lasting legacy, contributing positively to future generations.
  10. Drives Personal Fulfillment: The satisfaction of making a difference and contributing to social progress brings personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

How to write a strong NGO proposal

Crafting a strong NGO proposal involves several key steps that highlight the project’s purpose, impact, and feasibility. Here’s a breakdown of how to achieve this:

  1. Introduction and Background:

   Begin with a compelling introduction that outlines the context and significance of the proposed project. Provide background information on the issue your NGO aims to address, emphasizing its relevance and urgency.

  1. Problem Statement:

   Clearly define the problem or challenge the project seeks to tackle. Use data, statistics, and real-life examples to underscore the issue’s gravity and its impact on the community or target beneficiaries.

  1. Project Objectives and Goals:

   Express the precise aims and targets of the project. These should be measurable, achievable, and aligned with your NGO’s mission. Clearly outline the outcomes you intend to achieve through the project.

  1. Project Activities and Methodology:

   Detail the steps and activities that will be undertaken to accomplish the project goals. Explain the methodology, techniques, and tools you’ll employ. Show a logical progression from one activity to the next.

  1. Target Beneficiaries:

   Describe the individuals or communities who will benefit from the project. Provide demographic information, explain their needs, and highlight how the project will improve their lives.

  1. Expected Outcomes and Impact:

   Clearly state the anticipated outcomes of the project. Explain how these outcomes will bring about positive changes and improvements in the lives of beneficiaries and the broader community.

  1. Budget and Resources:

   Present a comprehensive budget that outlines the estimated costs for each project activity. Include details about funding sources, whether they are internal or external, and how resources will be allocated.

  1. Sustainability Plan:

   Discuss how the project will be sustained beyond its initial implementation. Outline strategies for continued funding, community involvement, and the project’s long-term impact.

  1. Monitoring and Evaluation:

   Describe how you will track and measure the progress and effectiveness of the project. Specify the indicators, data collection methods, and tools you’ll use to assess the project’s success.

  1. Conclusion and Call to Action:

    Summarize the proposal by reiterating the importance of the project and its potential to create positive change. Encourage the reader to support and invest in the project, outlining how they can get involved.

Crafting a persuasive NGO proposal requires a combination of compelling storytelling, evidence-based argumentation, and a clear articulation of your project’s potential.

How do you get start an ngo in India?

To begin the process, starting an NGO in India involves several steps that require careful consideration and planning. Below, we outline the key actions necessary for establishing an NGO:

  1. Conceptualize the Idea: Every business venture commences with the inception of an idea. Similarly, prospective founders of an NGO must define the organization’s goals and objectives.
  2. Formulate a Governing Body: Subsequently, the individual initiating the NGO needs to establish a governing body responsible for making and executing decisions. This body oversees both short-term and long-term planning, financial management, and human resource administration.
  3. Register the NGO: The final step entails registering the NGO in accordance with the appropriate regulations defined by Indian law. The specific NGO registration process depends on the operational framework adopted by the NGO.

It’s important to note that the journey of setting up an NGO demands thorough attention to these steps, reflecting the complexities involved in the process.

Cost of Start an NGO in India

Start an NGO in India incurs various costs that can vary depending on the type of NGO, its scale, location, and specific activities. Here’s a breakdown of the potential costs involved:

  1. Registration Fees:

   The initial step is registering your NGO under the chosen legal framework (Trust, Society, or Section 8 Company). Each registration type has its own associated fees, which can range from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of rupees.

  1. Legal Consultation:

   Seeking legal advice from a professional such as a lawyer or a chartered accountant is recommended to navigate the legal intricacies involved in setting up an NGO. This consultation could come at an hourly or fixed fee.

  1. Documentation and Paperwork:

   Registering an NGO involves preparing various documents like the memorandum of association, articles of association, trust deed, or society rules. The cost might include stamp duty charges for the required documents.

  1. Office Space and Infrastructure:

   If your NGO requires physical office space, you’ll need to consider the costs of renting or purchasing a location, along with furnishings and basic infrastructure.

  1. Staffing and Salaries:

   Hiring staff members, including administrative personnel, project managers, and other professionals, comes with salary costs. These costs vary based on the number of employees and their roles.

  1. Operational Expenses:

   Day-to-day operational expenses such as utilities, communication, transportation, and office supplies are ongoing costs that need to be budgeted for.

  1. Project Implementation Costs:

   If your NGO is planning specific projects or initiatives, you need to allocate funds for their implementation. This could include costs for materials, equipment, travel, workshops, and training.

  1. Marketing and Outreach:

   Promoting your NGOs initiatives, events, and activities may involve costs related to marketing materials, website development, social media advertising, and outreach campaigns.

  1. Compliance and Reporting:

   NGOs are required to fulfill reporting and compliance obligations. Costs may include financial auditing, legal documentation preparation, and filing annual reports.

  1. Fundraising Expenses:

   If your NGO plans to raise funds, you may need to allocate resources for fundraising events, campaigns, or activities.

  1. Networking and Collaboration:

   Participation in networking events, workshops, conferences, and collaborations with other organizations might involve associated costs.

It’s essential to budget meticulously and seek professional guidance to estimate the expenses accurately. The costs of start an Ngo In India can range from a few thousand rupees for smaller initiatives to several lakhs or more for larger and more complex organizations.

How to Registering the NGO

Registering an NGO in India involves selecting from three acts that outline laws and regulations governing its management.

 The following are the three Indian law acts under which NGOs can be registered:

  1. Indian Trust Act:

   If an NGO requires property or facilities, such as hospitals or schools, registration under the Indian Trust Act is necessary. Most states have their own trust acts for registration, while states without their own act adhere to the Indian Trust Act of 1882. The applicant needs to provide essential financial information and details about fund collection while filing the application. This entails completing a form, affixing a court fee stamp, and paying a registration charge based on property value. Accompanying the application form is the trust deed.

  1. Societies Registration Act, 1862:

   If you seek streamlined regulations, registering under the Society Registration Act of 1862 is a suitable option. Registration can be at the district or state level. A proposed NGO must consist of at least 7 members, including positions like president, vice president, financial officer, director, and members. Registration procedures vary from state to state but generally involve filing a memorandum of association, adhering to rules and regulations, providing consent and identity proof for each member, and obtaining an affidavit from the president.

  1. Indian Companies Act 2013:

   Under the Companies Act 2013, various types of organizations can be registered, including private limited companies, One Person Companies, public companies, and limited liability partnerships. An NGO can be registered as a section 8 company under this act, focusing on objectives like promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity, or useful causes. To register, a minimum of three members are needed, along with the submission of a memorandum of association.

  To start an NGO in India, you need to register it as a section 8 company. The registration process involves obtaining name approval from the ministry, filing Form INC-12 for the NGO’s license, and submitting Form Spice with the memorandum and articles of association. After approvals for the submitted forms are granted, the NGO is incorporated under this Act.

Types of  NGO registrations

Different types of NGOs exist within our legal framework, each with its own benefits and characteristics. The subsequent section provides an overview of these various NGO types:

  1. Trust Registration:

   The legal provisions governing trust registration are stipulated under the Society Registration Act of 1882. These entities are recognized as public charitable trusts and are commonly established when property or land is involved. Trusts are utilized for purposes such as poverty relief and medical aid.

   Benefits of Trust Registration:

   – Government facilitates land acquisition, relieving trusts of the associated hassle.

   – Trusts registered under the Trust Act are entitled to use a government-registered name.

   – Tax-related benefits are extended to trusts adhering to the norms of trust registration.

   – Access to benefits like the 80G certificate and exemptions from service or income tax.

  1. Society Registration:

   Society registration is an alternative means of legitimizing NGOs in India. NGOs with this registration generally function in the form of a society. A registered society operates for scientific, charitable, or other specified purposes under Section 30 of the Society Registration Act of 1860.

   Benefits of Society Registration:

   – A registered society possesses an independent legal identity, with each member accountable for their actions.

   – Members of a society enjoy limited liability due to the autonomous legal identity.

   – Access to rebates and concessions within the existing taxation framework.

   – Enhanced protection against brand name infringement for registered societies.

  1. Section 8 Company Registration:

   Another viable option for NGOs is registration under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013. Such entities are established with the objective of safeguarding charitable, religious, or trade interests, while the generated income remains dedicated to social causes.

   Benefits of Section 8 Company Registration:

   – No stipulated minimum capital requirement for setting up Section 8 companies.

   – Similar to trusts, Section 8 companies enjoy autonomous legal entity status.

   – Access to various tax benefits.

   – Waived stamp duty for registered NGOs during the registration process.

   – No compulsion for Section 8 companies to include a specific suffix in their name.

   – Section 8 companies often command greater credibility compared to trusts and societies.

   – Simplified ownership transfer process under the purview of Section 8 of the IT Act, enabling hassle-free transfer of both movable and immovable assets.

In summary, the choice of NGO type depends on the organization’s goals, structure, and desired benefits. Each option offers unique advantages that cater to the diverse needs of NGOs in India.

How Fundraising for an NGO 

Effective fundraising plays a pivotal role in the triumph of any non-profit entity. Numerous avenues exist to secure funds for supporting philanthropic initiatives, yet the landscape is brimming with contenders vying for donor contributions. Selecting the appropriate strategies and approaches emerges as a crucial determinant in skillfully garnering financial support.

Raising funds for ngo in India

Raising funds for NGOs in India has become increasingly vital as the non-profit sector seeks professional fundraisers to ensure the smooth functioning, financial stability, and sustainability of their operations. The challenge arises from the scarcity of skilled fundraisers. Previously, many NGOs relied on foreign funding, yet due to more stringent FCRA regulations, economic shifts in the West, and a change in India’s stance towards foreign funding entities, there has been a noticeable decline in both the quantity and frequency of such funding.

Conversely, the most dynamic and effective fundraising platform has taken center stage – the Internet and Social Media. The current landscape offers clear lessons for the NGO sector in India.

The Challenges of Fundraising

Yet, there are obstacles beyond the proposal that might deter individuals from even starting in the first place.


Project planning and creating proposals require significant time and dedication. To ensure your efforts are not in vain, consider saving and sharing your previous work. Past proposals that were not approved or never submitted can still hold value. Many proposal writers find it advantageous to begin with an existing proposal, even if they intend to make substantial changes. This approach is often less daunting than starting anew, as it allows for modification rather than a complete overhaul.

Fear of rejection

Feeling apprehensive about rejection is perfectly natural. Rejections are part of the process and even experienced fundraisers encounter them regularly. However, don’t allow this fear to hinder you from submitting proposals. If you abstain from applying, you won’t have a chance to succeed.

Keep in mind that rejection isn’t personal. Rarely do donors decline applications due to a dislike for the NGO or its project. More often, rejections occur because applications haven’t adhered to submission guidelines, don’t align with the donor’s focus, or the donor’s funds are exhausted. It’s worth exploring these tips to understand reasons behind proposal failures as well.


Despite their importance, deadlines are often disliked by many NGOs. However, they play a crucial role in achieving effective fundraising. Frequently, NGOs treat fundraising and proposal writing as tasks to be tackled “whenever there’s time.” Given the usual busyness of NGOs with projects and meetings, free time is a rare luxury. Imposing deadlines compels NGOs to plan ahead and avoid postponing tasks for the future.

Ideas of words

Converting ideas into words can often be the most challenging aspect of writing a proposal. It’s not just about nailing the formatting or specific details; it’s about the act of writing itself. How do you capture the significance of your project within the confines of a one-page concept note? How can you effectively translate the emotional hurdles your beneficiaries and partners have conquered into written words?

How to raise funds for NGOS in India 

Encouraging employees and volunteers to mobilize their families and friends for donations or volunteering can greatly benefit the NGO.

Establishing a robust online presence can significantly contribute to fund generation for an NGO. This digital outreach aids in reaching potential donors worldwide, enhancing fundraising prospects. The NGO’s website should boast an appealing design, user-friendly interface, and up-to-date information on ongoing and completed projects. Ensuring mobile compatibility is crucial, given that most users access websites through their mobile devices.

Leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can effectively raise awareness about the NGO and capture the attention of donors aligned with its objectives. These platforms serve as avenues to promote fundraising events, crowdfunding initiatives, and more.

Thinking creatively, NGOs can diversify revenue sources beyond traditional donations. Selling merchandise related to the NGO’s cause, like T-shirts, mugs, and bags, provides an innovative way to generate funds. Leveraging social media to market these items can boost sales.

Simplifying the donation process is essential for donors. Offering varied payment options, such as online payments, cheques, or cash, accommodates individual preferences and minimizes hassle. Adapting to donor preferences ensures a seamless experience, reducing the likelihood of potential contributors skipping donations due to inconvenient payment methods.

Raising funds stands as a vital pillar for the sustenance and accomplishments of NGOs, as they draw from diverse sources to cover project expenses, operational costs, salaries, and more. Below are methods to generate finances for an NGO:

  1. Crowdfunding: Initiate time-bound crowdfunding campaigns aimed at specific projects or initiatives.
  2. Fundraising Letters: Disseminate fundraising letters to engage supporters and garner contributions.
  3. Text-Giving Option: Provide an accessible text-giving avenue for easy donations.
  4. Solidarity Events: Host events like auctions, recycling drives, or raffles to secure funds and enhance the NGO’s visibility.
  5. Corporate Partnerships: Forge partnerships with profit-oriented enterprises for donations, sponsorships, or employee engagement endeavors.
  6. Membership Dues: Gather membership fees from backers aligned with the organization’s mission.
  7. Online Donations: Embrace digital platforms for seamless online donation acceptance.
  8. Direct Mail: Leverage direct mail campaigns as a channel to elicit donations.
  9. Door-to-Door Solicitation: Engage in door-to-door campaigns to encourage donations.
  10. Phone Solicitations: Employ phone outreach to solicit contributions.
  11. Email Marketing: Utilize email marketing strategies to elicit donations.
  12. Merchandising: Sell items such as memorabilia, artworks, or recipe books to generate financial support for the NGO.

To ensure financial stability, employing a multifaceted approach is advisable, allowing alternative methods to compensate in case one avenue falls short. NGOs can also offer tax deductions to private donors if the organization has obtained the necessary legal approvals.

How to manage our NGO

Setting up an NGO marks the initial stride toward its eventual success. However, steering it forward demands dedicated engagement across multiple facets of the organization. This encompasses proficient team management, project coordination for societal benefit, and securing essential funds to sustain day-to-day functions. Let’s delve into the elements essential for the effective operation of an NGO.

Effective ways to run an NGO

  1. Clearly Defined Mission
  2. Comprehensive Action Blueprint
  3. Continuous Emphasis on Marketing
  4. Nurturing the Core Team
  5. Robust Support through Information Systems
  1. Clearly Defined Mission:

Recognizing the scope and the target beneficiaries of your NGO simplifies the articulation of your primary objective. Ensuring its feasibility in line with the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) fosters effective NGO management and favorable outcomes. Conducting local research to identify practical community needs facilitates phased interventions, commencing with small actions that pave the way for larger-scale initiatives.

  1. Comprehensive Action Blueprint:

An intricately devised action strategy is indispensable to realizing your set goals, both on an individual and organizational level. This awareness streamlines tasks ranging from advertising and fundraising to recruitment. The alignment of operational, tactical, and strategic goals bolsters the NGO’s operational framework, akin to business enterprises.

  1. Continuous Emphasis on Marketing:

An impactful NGO operation hinges on a spectrum of marketing endeavors that heighten community awareness. Leveraging tools such as websites, local promotions, and active social media presence fosters brand recognition. These initiatives, aside from fundraising and volunteer recruitment, spotlight issues addressed by your NGO. Establishing a website fosters networking opportunities, facilitating valuable partnerships and funding prospects.

  1. Nurturing the Core Team:

While ardently pursuing your welfare objectives is essential, an invested and supportive team is the linchpin of your endeavors. Assembling a dedicated group united by a shared commitment to volunteerism poses an initial challenge but remains pivotal for success. Ensuring sustained motivation among team members necessitates persistent efforts, as their dedication to the community requires consistent nurturing. Balance between professional and personal commitments is pivotal for enduring enthusiasm and sustainable impact.

  1. Robust Support through Information Systems:

Day-to-day NGO operations are efficiently managed through a suite of cost-free software and IT systems tailored for NGOs. Widely used tools like Google for Non-Profit Organizations (G4NP), Canva Pro, and Firmbee streamline communication, graphic design, and project management. Firmbee, for instance, streamlines tasks through kanban boards, volunteer recruitment, task assignment, time monitoring, and more.

In essence, steering an NGO toward success extends beyond inception. Effective management encompasses a thoughtfully defined mission, detailed planning, persistent marketing endeavors, nurturing the core team, and harnessing information systems for seamless operations.


 some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about starting an NGO in India:

  1. What is an NGO?

   An NGO, or Non-Governmental Organization, is a voluntary association of individuals working together to address societal issues and promote positive change. NGOs operate in the non-profit sector and are not government entities.

  1. What are the different types of NGOs in India?

   NGOs can be registered as Trusts, Societies, or Section 8 Companies in India. Each type has its own legal framework, benefits, and requirements.

  1. How do I choose the right type of NGO registration?

   Your choice depends on factors like your objectives, activities, legal obligations, and the level of autonomy you desire. Consulting legal professionals can help you make an informed decision.

  1. What are the steps to register an NGO in India?

   The general steps include conceiving the idea, forming a governing body, drafting the necessary documents (trust deed, memorandum of association, etc.), obtaining required approvals, and registering with the appropriate authorities.

  1. What are the benefits of registering an NGO?

   Registered NGOs gain legal recognition, access to tax benefits, credibility, and the ability to enter into contracts, among other advantages.

  1. What are the funding options for NGOs?

   NGOs can receive funds through donations, grants from government or non-governmental sources, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, fundraising events, and collaborations with other organizations.

  1. What are the compliance requirements for NGOs?

   NGOs must adhere to financial reporting, auditing, and filing annual returns. Depending on the registration type, specific legal obligations may vary.

  1. How much does it cost to start an NGO in India?

   The costs can vary significantly based on registration type, scale, and activities. Expenses include registration fees, legal consultation, documentation, office setup, staff salaries, operational costs, and more.

  1. Can foreigners establish NGOs in India?

   Yes, foreigners and non-resident Indians (NRIs) can establish NGOs in India. However, they need to follow certain regulations and obtain necessary approvals.

  1. Is it mandatory to have a certain number of members to start an NGO?

    Depending on the type of NGO registration, there may be minimum requirements for the number of members. Trusts can be registered by a single individual, while societies and Section 8 companies usually require a minimum of seven members.

  1. How long does the NGO registration process take?

    The registration process duration varies based on factors such as the chosen registration type and the efficiency of the relevant authorities. The duration can range from a couple of weeks to several months.


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