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A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an
organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

organization
that is, generally, formed independent from
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
. They are typically nonprofit entities, and many of them are active in
humanitarianism Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence ...
or the
social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biol ...

social sciences
; they can also include
clubs Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ''kelsea'' Brands an ...
and associations that provide services to their members and others. Surveys indicate that NGOs have a high degree of
public trust The Public Trust of New Zealand was a government-appointed corporation sole A corporation sole is a Legal person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.lobby groups Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
for
corporations A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capa ...

corporations
, such as the
World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in Cologny Cologny () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Cologny is first menti ...

World Economic Forum
. The term as it is used today was first introduced in Article 71 of the newly-formed United Nation's Charter in 1945. While there is no fixed or formal definition for what NGOs are, they are generally defined as nonprofit entities that are independent of governmental influence—although they may receive
government funding A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assemb ...
. According to the UN Department of Global Communications, an NGO is "a not-for profit,
voluntary Voluntary may refer to: * Voluntary (music)In music a voluntary is a piece of music, usually for an organ, that is played as part of a church service. In English-speaking countries, the music played before and after the service is often called a 'v ...
citizen’s group that is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good." With that being said, the term ''NGO'' is used inconsistently, and is sometimes used synonymously with ''
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
organization'' (CSO), which is any association founded by citizens.Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the United States
(fact sheet). 20 January 2017. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. U.S. Department of State. state.gov. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
In some countries, NGOs are known as nonprofit organizations, and
political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
and
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of their trade, improving safety standard ...
s are sometimes considered NGOs as well. NGOs are classified by (1) orientation—the type of activities an NGO undertakes, such as activities involving
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
,
consumer protection Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the . Consumer protection measures are often established by law. Such laws are intended to prevent businesses from eng ...
,
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
,
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
, or development; and (2) level of operation, which indicates the scale at which an organization works: local, regional, national, or international.
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008.
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
is estimated to have had about 2 million NGOs in 2009 (approximately one per 600 Indians), many more than the number of the country's primary schools and health centers.


Types

NGOs further the political or social goals of their members (or founders): improving the
natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all life, living and non-living things occurring nature, naturally, meaning in this case not Artificiality, artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. Th ...

natural environment
, encouraging the observance of
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
, improving the welfare of the disadvantaged, or representing a corporate agenda. Their goals cover a wide range of issues. They may fund local NGOs, institutions and projects, and implement projects. NGOs are classified by their: # orientation, i.e. the type of activities an NGO undertakes, such as activities involving
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
,
consumer protection Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the . Consumer protection measures are often established by law. Such laws are intended to prevent businesses from eng ...
,
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
,
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
, or development. # level of operation, which indicates the scale at which an organization works: local, regional, national, or international.


Orientation

*
Charity Charity may refer to: Giving * Charitable organization or charity, a non-profit organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being * Charity (practice), the practice of being benevolent, giving and sharing * Charity (virtu ...
— often a
top-down Top-down may refer to: Arts and entertainment * "Top Down", a 2007 song by Swizz Beatz * "Top Down", a song by Lil Yachty from ''Lil Boat 3'' Science * Top-down reading, is a part of reading science that explains the reader's psycholinguistic ...
effort, with little participation or input from
beneficiaries A beneficiary (also, in trust law A trust is a legal relationship in which the holder of a right (eg. title to a chattel) gives it to another person or entity who must keep and use it solely for another's benefit. In , the party who entrusts t ...
. They include NGOs directed at meeting the needs of disadvantaged people and groups. *
Service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of gove ...
— includes NGOs that provide
healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...

healthcare
(including
family planning Family planning services are “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of i ...
) and
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
. *
Participatory Citizen Participation or Public Participation in social science refers to different mechanisms for the Public consultation, public to express opinions – and ideally exert influence – regarding political, economic, management or other social d ...
self-help projects with local involvement in the form of
money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally a ...
, tools, land, materials, or labor * Empowerment — aim to help poor people to understand the social, political, and economic factors affecting their lives, and to increase awareness of their power to control their lives. With maximum involvement by the beneficiaries, the NGOs are facilitators.


Level of operation

* Community-based organizations (CBOs) — popular initiatives which can raise the consciousness of the urban poor, helping them understand their right to services, and providing such services. * City-wide organizations — include chambers of commerce and industry,
coalitions The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
of business, ethnic or
educational Education is the process of facilitating learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed ...
groups, and
community organizations Community organizing is a process where people who live in proximity to each other come together into an organization that acts in their shared self-interest. Unlike those who promote more-consensual community building, community organizers gen ...
. *State NGOs — include state-level organizations, associations, and groups. Some state NGOs are guided by national and international NGOs. * National NGOs — an NGO that exists in only one country; they are rare. These include national organizations such as
YMCA YMCA, sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide youth organization based in Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge Carouge () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History ...

YMCA
s and
YWCA The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) is a movement working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women, young women and girls in more than 100 countries. The members and supporters include women from many different faiths, a ...
s,
professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ...
s, and similar groups. Some have state or city branches, and assist local NGOs. * International NGOs (INGOs) — range from secular agencies, such as
Save the Children The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children, was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency ...
, to religious groups. They may fund local NGOs, institutions and projects, and implement projects.


Other terms/acronyms

Similar terms include third-sector organization (TSO),
nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
(NPO), voluntary organization (VO),
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
organization (CSO),
grassroots A grassroots movement is one that uses the people in a given district, region or community as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations use collective action from the local level to effect change at th ...

grassroots
organization (GO),
social movement organization A social movement organization (often capitalized in academic literature as Social Movement Organization or abbreviated as SMO) is an organized component of a social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popu ...
(SMO), private voluntary organization (PVO),
self-help Self-help or self-improvement is a self-guided improvement''APA Dictionary of Physicology'', 1st ed., Gary R. VandenBos, ed., Washington: American Psychological Association, 2007.—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substa ...
organization (SHO), and
non-state actorNon-state actors include organizations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed by, or funded through the government. The interests, structure, and influence of NSAs vary widely. For example, among NSAs are corporations, media organi ...
s (NSAs). Numerous variations exist for the NGO acronym, either due to language, region, or specificity. Some
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of informal sociolects of Latin Latin (, or , ) ...

Romance languages
use the synonymous abbreviation ''ONG''; for example: * * * * Other acronyms that are typically used to describe non-governmental organizations include: * BINGO: Business-friendly international NGO or Big international NGO * CSO:
Civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
organization *
ENGO An ENGO (environmental non-governmental organization) is a non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an that is, generally, formed independent from . They are typically s, and many of them are active ...
: Environmental NGO — organizations that advocate for the environment, such as
Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Green ...

Greenpeace
and the WWF. *DONGO: Donor-organized NGO *GONGO:
Government-organized non-governmental organizationA government-organized non-governmental organization (GONGO) is a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the ...
— often used derogatorily, these are government-backed NGOs that are set up to advocate on behalf of a repressive regime on the international stage. * GSO: Grassroots Support Organization *INGO:
International NGO An international non-governmental organization (INGO) extends the concept of a non-governmental organization (NGO) to an international scope. NGOs are independent of governments and can be seen as two types, ''advocacy NGOs'', which aim to influen ...
*MANGO: Market advocacy NGO * NGDO: Non-governmental development organization *NNGO: Northern (UK) NGO * PANGO: Party NGO — addressing political matters *PVDO: Private voluntary development organization — the
United States Agency for International Development The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different ...
(USAID) refers to NGOs as "private voluntary organizations." *
Quango The term quango or QUANGO (less often QuANGO or QANGO) is a (normally pejorative) description of an organisation to which a government has devolution, devolved power, but which is still partly controlled and/or financed by government bodies. The t ...
: Quasi-autonomous NGO — often used derogatorily, these organizations rely on
public funding A subsidy or government incentive is a form of financial aid or support extended to an economic sector (business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Although commonly extended from the government, the term ...
. They are prevalent in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
(where there are more than 1,200), the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...

Republic of Ireland
, and the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
. *SBO: Social benefit organization — a goal-oriented designation * SCO:
Social change Social change involves alteration of the social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structures and institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntingt ...
organization *SNGO: Southern (UK) NGO *TANGO: Technical assistance NGO * TNGO: Transnational NGO — coined during the 1970s due to the increase of environmental and economic issues in the global community. TNGOs exist in two (or more) countries. *YOUNGO: Youth NGOs - advocacing for youth rights.


Activities

NGOs act as implementers, catalysts, and partners. They mobilize resources to provide goods and services to people who have been affected by a natural disaster; they drive change, and partner with other organizations to tackle problems and address human needs. NGOs vary by method; some are primarily
advocacy group Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
s, and others conduct programs and activities.
Oxfam Oxfam is a British founded confederation of 21 independent charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, Religion, religious ...
, concerned with poverty alleviation, may provide needy people with the equipment and skills to obtain food and
drinking water Drinking water, also known as potable water, is water that is safe to drinking, drink or use for food preparation. The amount of drinking water required to maintain good health varies, and depends on physical activity level, age, health-related ...

drinking water
; the Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy (FFDA) helps provide legal assistance to victims of human-rights abuses. The Afghanistan Information Management Services provide specialized technical products and services to support development activities implemented on the ground by other organizations. Management techniques are crucial to project success. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
classifies NGO activity into two general categories:World Bank Criteria defining NGO
# operational NGOs, whose primary function is the design and implementation of development-related projects # advocacy NGOs, whose primary function is to defend or promote a particular cause and who seek to influence the policies and practices of International governmental organisations (IGOs). NGOs may also conduct both activities: operational NGOs will use campaigning techniques if they face issues in the field, which could be remedied by policy change, and campaigning NGOs (such as human-rights organizations) often have programs which assist individual victims for whom they are trying to advocate.


Operational

Operational NGOs seek to "achieve small-scale change directly through projects", mobilizing financial resources, materials, and volunteers to create local programs. They hold large-scale
fundraising Fundraising or fund-raising is the process of seeking and gathering voluntary financial contributions by engaging individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. Although fundraising typically refers to efforts to gathe ...

fundraising
events and may apply to governments and organizations for grants or contracts to raise money for projects. Operational NGOs often have a
hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy i ...

hierarchical
structure; their headquarters are staffed by professionals who plan projects, create budgets, keep accounts, and report to and communicate with operational fieldworkers on projects. They are most often associated with the delivery of services or environmental issues, emergency relief, and public welfare. Operational NGOs may be subdivided into relief or development organizations, service-delivery or participatory, religious or secular, and public or private. Although operational NGOs may be community-based, many are national or international. The defining activity of an operational NGO is the implementation of projects.


Advocacy

Advocacy NGOs or campaigning NGOs seek to "achieve large-scale change promoted indirectly through the influence of the political system." They require an active, efficient group of professional members who can keep supporters informed and motivated. Campaigning NGOs must plan and host demonstrations and events which will attract media, their defining activity. Campaigning NGOs often deal with issues related to human rights, women's rights, and children's rights, and their primary purpose is to defend (or promote) a specific cause.


Public relations

Non-governmental organisations need healthy
public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British ...
in order to meet their goals, and use sophisticated public-relations campaigns to raise funds and deal with governments. Interest groups may be politically important, influencing social and political outcomes. A
code of ethics Ethical codes are adopted by organizations to assist members in understanding the difference between right Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental nor ...
was established in 2002 by the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations.


Structure


Staffing

Some NGOs rely on paid staff; others are based on . Although many NGOs use international staff in developing countries, others rely on local employees or volunteers. Foreign staff may satisfy a
donor A donor in general is a person, organization or government which donation, donates something voluntarily. The term is usually used to represent a form of pure altruism, but is sometimes used when the payment for a service is recognized by all partie ...

donor
who wants to see the supported project managed by a person from an
industrialized country 450px, Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN in 2008.A developed country, industrialized country (or post-industrial country), more developed country (MDC), or more economically developed country (MEDC), is a sovereign state ...
. The expertise of these employees (or volunteers) may be counterbalanced by several factors: the cost of foreigners is typically higher, they have no grassroots connections in the country, and local expertise may be undervalued. By the end of 1995,
Concern Worldwide Concern Worldwide (often referred to as Concern) is Ireland's largest aid and humanitarian agency. Since its foundation 50 years ago it has worked in 50 countries. According to its latest annual report, Concern helped 28.6 million of the world's ...
(an international anti-poverty NGO) employed 174 foreigners and just over 5,000 local staff in
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
and ten developing countries in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
and
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
. On average, employees in NGOs earn 11-12% less compared to employees of for-profit organizations and government workers with the same number of qualifications . However, in many cases NGOs employees receive more fringe benefits.


Funding

NGOs are usually funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding and are run by volunteers. NGOs may have charitable status, or may be tax-exempt in recognition of their social purposes. Others may be fronts for political, religious, or other interests. Since the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, NGOs have had an increased role in
international development International development or global development is a broad concept denoting the idea that societies and countries have differing levels of economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * P ...
, particularly in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation. Funding sources include membership dues, the sale of
goods In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant ...
and services, grants from international institutions or national governments, and private donations. Although the term "non-governmental organization" implies
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

independence
from governments, many NGOs depend on government funding; one-fourth of
Oxfam Oxfam is a British founded confederation of 21 independent charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, Religion, religious ...
's US$162 million 1998 income was donated by the British government and the EU, and World Vision United States collected $55 million worth of goods in 1998 from the American government. Several EU grants provide funds accessible to NGOs. Government funding of NGOs is controversial, since "the whole point of humanitarian intervention was precise that NGOs and civil society had both a right and an obligation to respond with acts of aid and solidarity to people in need or being subjected to repression or want by the forces that controlled them, whatever the governments concerned might think about the matter." Some NGOs, such as
Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Green ...

Greenpeace
, do not accept funding from governments or intergovernmental organizations. The 1999 budget of the American Association of Retired Persons (
AARP AARP (formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons) is a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , f ...
) was over $540 million.


Overhead

Overhead is the amount of money spent on running an NGO, rather than on projects. It includes office expenses, salaries, and banking and bookkeeping costs. An NGO's percentage of its overall budget spent on overhead is often used to judge it; less than four percent is considered good. According to the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, more than 86 percent should be spent on programs (less than 20 percent on overhead).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (or simply the Global Fund) is an international financingFunding is the act of providing resources to finance a need, program, or project. While this is usually in the form of money, it c ...

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
has guidelines of five to seven percent overhead to receive funding; the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
typically allows 37 percent. A high percentage of overhead relative to total expenditures can make it more difficult to generate funds. High overhead costs may generate public criticism. A sole focus on overhead, however, can be counterproductive. Research published by the
Urban Institute The Urban Institute is a Washington D.C.-based think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research. Research institutes ...
and
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
's Center for Social Innovation have shown that rating agencies create incentives for NGOs to lower (and hide) overhead costs, which may reduce organizational effectiveness by starving organizations of infrastructure to deliver services. An alternative rating system would provide, in addition to financial data, a qualitative evaluation of an organization’s transparency and governance: #An assessment of program effectiveness #Evaluation of feedback mechanisms for donors and beneficiaries #Allowing a rated organization to respond to an evaluation by a rating agency


Monitoring and control

In a March 2000 report on United Nations reform priorities, former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan Kofi Atta Annan (; 8 April 193818 August 2018) was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations The secretary-general of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is the chief administrative officer of the Uni ...

Kofi Annan
favored international humanitarian intervention as the
responsibility to protect The Responsibility to Protect (R2P or RtoP) is a global political commitment which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace ...
citizens from ethnic cleansing, genocide, and crimes against humanity. After that report, the Canadian government launched its Responsibility to Protect (R2P) project outlining the issue of humanitarian intervention. The R2P project has wide applications, and among its more controversial has been the Canadian government's use of R2P to justify its intervention in the coup in Haiti. Large corporations have increased their
corporate social responsibility Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of international private business self-regulation which aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically- ...
departments to preempt NGO campaigns against corporate practices. Collaboration between corporations and NGOs risks
co-option Co-option (also co-optation, sometimes spelt coöption or coöptation) has two common meanings. It may refer to the process of adding members to an elite group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, m ...
of the weaker partner, typically the NGO. In December 2007,
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)) is chartered under United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive departments, executive bran ...
S. Ward Casscells established an International Health Division of Force Health Protection & Readiness. Part of International Health's mission is to communicate with NGOs about areas of mutual interest. Department of Defense Directive 3000.05, in 2005, required the US Defense Department to regard stability-enhancing activities as equally important as combat. In compliance with
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
, the department has developed a capacity to improve essential services in areas of conflict (such as
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
) where customary lead agencies like the
State Department The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the fede ...
and USAID have difficulty operating. International Health cultivates collaborative, arm's-length relationships with NGOs, recognizing their independence, expertise, and honest-broker status.


History

International non-governmental organizations An international non-governmental organization (INGO) is an organization which is independent of government involvement and extends the concept of a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of ...
date back to at least the late 18th century, and there were an estimated 1,083 NGOs by 1914. International NGOs were important to the
anti-slavery Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), w ...
and
women's suffrage Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the mid-19th century, aside from the work being done by women for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting law ...
movements, and peaked at the time of the 1932–1934
World Disarmament Conference The Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, generally known as the Geneva Conference or World Disarmament Conference, was an international conference of states held in Geneva, Switzerland, between February 1932 and November 1934 t ...
. The term became popular with the 1945 founding of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
in 1945; Article 71 in Chapter X of its charter stipulated consultative status for organizations which are neither governments nor member states. An international NGO was first defined in resolution 288 (X) of the
United Nations Economic and Social Council The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; french: links=no, Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, ) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental org ...

United Nations Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) on February 27, 1950, as "any international organization that is not founded by an international treaty". The role of NGOs and other "major groups" in
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
was recognized in Chapter 27 of
Agenda 21 Agenda 21 is a non-binding action planAn action plan is a detailed plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources, used to achieve an Goal, objective to do something. It is commonly understood as a ...
. The rise and fall of international NGOs matches contemporary events, waxing in periods of growth and waning in times of crisis. The United Nations gave non-governmental organizations observer status at its assemblies and some meetings. According to the UN, an NGO is a private, not-for-profit organization which is independent of government control and is not merely an opposition
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
. The rapid development of the non-governmental sector occurred in Western countries as a result of the restructuring of the
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
.
Globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

Globalization
of that process occurred after the fall of the communist system, and was an important part of the Washington Consensus.Pawel Zaleski ''Global Non-governmental Administrative System: Geosociology of the Third Sector'', n:Gawin, Dariusz & Glinski, Piotr d. "Civil Society in the Making", IFiS Publishers, Warsaw (2006) Twentieth-century
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

globalization
increased the importance of NGOs.
International treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relation ...

International treaties
and organizations, such as the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
, focused on
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...

capitalist
interests. To counterbalance this trend, NGOs emphasize humanitarian issues,
development aid Development aid is aid In international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international ...
, and
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
. An example is the
World Social Forum The World Social Forum (WSF, pt, Fórum Social Mundial ) is an annual meeting of civil society organizations, first held in Brazil, which offers a self-conscious effort to develop an alternative future through the championing of counter-hegemoni ...
, a rival convention of the
World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in Cologny Cologny () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Cologny is first menti ...

World Economic Forum
held each January in
Davos , neighboring_municipalities= Arosa , neighboring_municipalities= Alvaneu Alvaneu (''Romansh language, Romansh: Alvagni'') is a former municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the district of Albula (district), Albula in the Cantons of S ...

Davos
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
. The fifth World Social Forum, in
Porto Alegre Porto Alegre (, , Brazilian ; ) is the capital and largest city of the Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5&nbs ...

Porto Alegre
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
in January 2005, was attended by representatives of over 1,000 NGOs. The 1992
Earth Summit The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the Rio Summit, the Rio Conference, and the Earth Summit (Portuguese: ECO92), was a major United Nations The United Na ...
in
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ), or simply Rio, is the List of largest cities in Brazil, second-most populous city in Brazil and the Largest cities in the Americas, sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro (s ...

Rio de Janeiro
, attended by about 2,400 representatives, was the first to demonstrate the power of international NGOs in environmental issues and sustainable development. Transnational NGO networking has become extensive.


Legal status

Although NGOs are subject to national laws and practices, four main groups may be found worldwide: *
Unincorporated Unincorporated may refer to: * Unincorporated area Sign at Heinola, an unincorporated community in Otter Tail County, Minnesota.">Minnesota.html" ;"title="Otter Tail County, Minnesota">Otter Tail County, Minnesota. An unincorporated area is ...
and
voluntary association A voluntary group or union (also sometimes called a voluntary organization, common-interest association, association, or society) is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form a body (or organization ...
*
Trusts A trust is a legal relationship in which the holder of a right (eg. title to a chattel) gives it to another person or entity who must keep and use it solely for another's benefit. In English common law English law is the common law legal sy ...
,
charities A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, b ...
, and foundations * Not-for-profit companies * Entities formed (or registered) under special NGO or
nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
laws The
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
drafted the
European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental OrganisationsThe European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations is an international treaty that sets the legal basis for the existence and work of international non-governmental organizations in Eur ...
in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
in 1986, creating a common legal basis for European NGOs. Article 11 of the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
protects the right to associate, which is fundamental for NGOs.


Economic theory

The question whether a public project should be owned by an NGO or by the government has been studied in economics using the tools of the incomplete contracting theory. According to this theory, not every detail of a relationship between decision makers can be contractually specified. Hence, in the future the parties will bargain with each other to adapt their relationship to changing circumstances. Ownership matters because it determines the parties’ willingness to make non-contractible investments. In the context of private firms, Hart (1995) has shown that the party with the more important investment task should be owner. Yet, Besley and Ghatak (2001) have argued that in the context of public projects the investment technology does not matter. Specifically, even when the government is the key investor, ownership by an NGO is optimal if and only if the NGO has a larger valuation of the project than the government. However, the general validity of this argument has been questioned by follow-up research. In particular, ownership by the party with the larger valuation need not be optimal when the public good is partially excludable (Francesconi and Muthoo, 2011), when both NGO and government may be indispensable (Halonen-Akatwijuka, 2012), or when the NGO and the government have different bargaining powers (Schmitz, 2013). Moreover, the investment technology can matter for the optimal ownership structure when there are bargaining frictions (Schmitz, 2015), when the parties interact repeatedly (Halonen-Akatwijuka and Pafilis, 2020), or when the parties are asymmetrically informed (Schmitz, 2021).


Influence on world affairs

Service-delivery NGOs provide public goods and services which governments of developing countries are unable to provide due to a lack of resources. They may be contractors or collaborate with government agencies to reduce the cost of public goods. Capacity-building NGOs affect "culture, structure, projects and daily operations". Advocacy and public-education NGOs aim to modify behavior and ideas through communication, crafting messages to promote social, political, or environmental changes (and as news organisations have cut foreign bureaux, many NGOs have begun to expand into news reporting). Movement NGOs mobilize the public and coordinate large-scale collective activities to advance an activist agenda. Since the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, more NGOs in developed countries have pursued international outreach; involved in local and national social resistance, they have influenced domestic policy change in the developing world. Specialized NGOs have forged partnerships, built networks, and found policy niches.


Track II diplomacy

Track II diplomacyTrack II diplomacy or "backchannel diplomacy" is the practice of "non-governmental, informal and unofficial contacts and activities between private citizens or groups of individuals, sometimes called 'non-state actorsNon-state actors include organiza ...
(or dialogue) is transnational coordination by non-official members of the government, including epistemic communities and former policymakers or analysts. It aims to help policymakers and policy analysts reach a common solution through unofficial discussions. Unlike official diplomacy, conducted by government officials, diplomats, and elected leaders, Track II diplomacy involves experts, scientists, professors and other figures who are not part of government affairs.


World NGO Day

World NGO Day A national or international awareness day or observance is a date usually set by a major organisation or government to commemorate a public health or ethical cause of importance on a national or international level. An international observance, ...
, observed annually on 27 February, was recognised on 17 April 2010 by 12 countries of the IX
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
NGO Forum at the eighth Summit of the Baltic Sea States in
Vilnius Vilnius ( , ; see also other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror n ...

Vilnius
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
. It was internationally recognised on 28 February 2014 in
Helsinki Helsinki ( or ; ; sv, Helsingfors, ; la, Helsingia) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or ...

Helsinki
,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
by
United Nations Development Programme The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)french: Programme des Nations unies pour le développement, PNUD is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace ...
administrator and former
Prime Minister of New Zealand The prime minister of New Zealand ( mi, Te pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-go ...
Helen Clark Helen Elizabeth Clark (born 26 February 1950) is a New Zealand politician who served as the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and was the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme The United Nations D ...

Helen Clark
.


Criticism

Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-larges ...

Tanzania
n author and academic
Issa G. Shivji Issa Gulamhussein Shivji (born 1946) is a Tanzanian Tanzania (;This approximates the Kiswahili pronunciation. However, is also heard in English. ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a count ...

Issa G. Shivji
has criticised NGOs in two essays: "Silences in NGO discourse: The role and future of NGOs in Africa" and "Reflections on NGOs in Tanzania: What we are, what we are not and what we ought to be". Shivji writes that despite the good intentions of NGO leaders and activists, he is critical of the "objective effects of actions, regardless of their intentions". According to Shivji, the rise of NGOs is part of a
neoliberal Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with valu ...

neoliberal
paradigm and not motivated purely by altruism; NGOs want to change the world without understanding it, continuing an
imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperial, Nebraska * Imperial, Pennsylvania * Imperial, Texas * ...

imperial
relationship. In his study of NGO involvement in
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-lar ...

Mozambique
, James Pfeiffer addresses their negative effects on the country's health. According to Pfeiffer, NGOs in Mozambique have "fragmented the local health system, undermined local control of health programs, and contributed to growing local social inequality". They can be uncoordinated, creating parallel projects which divert health-service workers from their normal duties to instead serve the NGOs. This undermines local primary-healthcare efforts, and removes the government's ability to maintain agency over its health sector. Pfeiffer suggested a collaborative model of the NGO and the DPS (the Mozambique Provincial Health Directorate); the NGO should be "formally held to standard and adherence within the host country", reduce "showcase" projects and unsustainable parallel programs. In her 1997 ''
Foreign Affairs ''Foreign Affairs'' is an American magazine of international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader ...

Foreign Affairs
'' article, Jessica Mathews wrote: "For all their strengths, NGOs are special interests. The best of them ... often suffer from tunnel vision, judging every public act by how it affects their particular interest". NGOs are unencumbered by policy trade-offs. According to
Vijay Prashad Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator, and Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shap ...
, since the 1970s "the World Bank, under Robert McNamara, championed the NGO as an alternative to the state, leaving intact global and regional relations of power and production." NGOs have been accused of preserving imperialism (sometimes operating in a
racialized In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, emp ...
manner in
Third World The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Western European nations and their allies represented the "First Wor ...

Third World
countries), with a function similar to that of the clergy during the colonial era. Political philosopher
Peter Hallward Peter Hallward is a political philosopher Political philosophy is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a famili ...
has called them an aristocratic form of politics, noting that
ActionAid ActionAid is an international non-governmental organization An international non-governmental organization (INGO) extends the concept of a non-governmental organization (NGO) to an international scope. NGOs are independent of governments and can ...
and
Christian Aid Activists from Christian Aid lobbying for trade justice Christian Aid is the official relief and development agency of 41 Christian (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox) churches in the UK and Ireland, and works to support sustainable development ...
"effectively condoned the 004 US-backedcoup" against an elected government in Haiti and are the "humanitarian face of imperialism". Movements in the
Global South The Global South is a term often used to identify lower income countries on one side of the so-called global North–South divide, the other side being the countries of the Global North. As such the term does not inherently refer to a geogra ...
(such as
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
's
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is a non-racial popular movement made up of poor and oppressed communities in Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans File:WIKITONGUES- Alaric speaking Afrikaans.webm, Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans ...
) have refused to work with NGOs, concerned that doing so would compromise their autonomy. NGOs have been accused of weakening people by allowing their funders to prioritize stability over social justice. They have been accused of being designed by, and used as extensions of, the foreign-policy instruments of some Western countries and groups of countries. Russian president
Vladimir Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia. He has been serving in this position since 2012, and he previously held this of ...

Vladimir Putin
made that accusation at the 43rd
Munich Security Conference The Munich Security Conference (MSC; german: Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz) is an annual Meeting, conference on international security policy that has been held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1963. Former names are ''Wehrkundetagung'' and '' ...
in 2007, saying that NGOs "are formally independent but they are purposefully financed and therefore under control". According to Michael Bond, "Most large NGOs, such as Oxfam, the Red Cross, Cafod and ActionAid, are striving to make their aid provision more sustainable. But some, mostly in the US, are still exporting the ideologies of their backers." NGOs have been accused of using misinformation in their campaigns out of self-interest. According to Doug Parr of
Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Green ...

Greenpeace
, there had been "a tendency among our critics to say that science is the only decision-making tool ... but political and commercial interests are using science as a cover for getting their way." Former policy-maker for the German branch of
Friends of the Earth Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries. Friends of the Earth was founded in 1969 in San Francisco by David Brower, Donald Aitken and Gary Soucie after Brower's split ...
Jens Katjek said, "If NGOs want the best for the environment, they have to learn to compromise." They have been questioned as "too much of a good thing". Eric Werker and Faisal Ahmed made three critiques of NGOs in developing nations. Too many NGOs in a nation (particularly one ruled by a warlord) reduces an NGO's influence, since it can easily be replaced by another NGO. Resource allocation and outsourcing to local organizations in international-development projects incurs expenses for an NGO, lessening the resources and money available to the intended beneficiaries. NGO missions tend to be paternalistic, as well as expensive. Legitimacy, an important asset of an NGO, is its perception as an "independent voice".Edwards, M. and Hulme, D. (2002) NGO Performance and Accountability: Introduction and Overview. "In Edwards, M. and Hulme, D., ed. 2002." The Earthscan Reader on NGO Management. UK: Earthscan Publications Ltd. Chapter 11. Neera Chandhoke wrote in a ''
Journal of World-Systems Research The ''Journal of World-Systems Research'' (''JWSR'') is a biannual, open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken t ...
'' article, "To put the point starkly: are the citizens of countries of the South and their needs represented in global civil society, or are citizens as well as their needs constructed by practices of representation? And when we realize that INGOs hardly ever come face to face with the people whose interests and problems they represent, or that they are not accountable to the people they represent, matters become even more troublesome." An NGO's funding affects its legitimacy, and they have become increasingly dependent on a limited number of donors.Edwards, M. and Hulme, D. (1996) Too Close for comfort? The impact of official aid on Non-Governmental Organisations. "World Development." 24(6), pp. 961–973. Competition for funds has increased, in addition to the expectations of donors who may add conditions threatening an NGO's independence. Dependence on official aid may dilute "the willingness of NGOs to speak out on issues which are unpopular with governments", and changes in NGO funding sources have altered their function. NGOs have been challenged as not representing the needs of the developing world, diminishing the "Southern voice" and preserving the North–South divide.Lindenberg, M. and Bryant, C. (2001) Going Global: Transforming Relief and Development NGOs. Bloomfield: Kumarian Press. The equality of relationships between northern and southern parts of an NGO, and between southern and northern NGOs working in partnership, has been questioned; the north may lead in advocacy and resource mobilization, and the south delivers services in the developing world. The needs of the developing world may not be addressed appropriately, as northern NGOs do not consult (or participate in) partnerships or assign unrepresentative priorities. NGOs have been accused of damaging the public sector in target countries, such as mismanagement resulting in the breakdown of public healthcare systems. The scale and variety of activities in which NGOs participate have grown rapidly since 1980, and particularly since 1990. NGOs need to balance centralization and decentralization. Centralizing NGOs, particularly at the international level, can assign a common theme or set of goals. It may also be advantageous to decentralize an NGO, increasing its chances of responding flexibly and effectively to local issues by implementing projects which are modest in scale, easily monitored, produce immediate benefits, and where all involved know that corruption will be punished.Anheier, H. and Themudo, N. (2002) Organisational forms of global civil society: Implications of going global. In: Anheier, H. Glasius, M. Kaldor, M, ed 2002.


See also

* List of active NGOs of national minorities * :Non-governmental organizations *
Advocacy group Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
(interest group) *
Charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the Wor ...
*
Community foundation Community foundations (CFs) are instruments of civil society designed to pool donations into a coordinated investment and grant making facility dedicated primarily to the social improvement of a given place. Community foundations are a global phenom ...
*
International organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations ...
* NGO-ization


References


Further reading


Norbert Götz. "Reframing NGOs: The Identity of an International Relations Non-Starter." ''European Journal of International Relations'' 14 (2008) 2: 231–258.
* Norbert Götz. "Civil Society and NGO: Far from Unproblematic Concepts." ''The Ashgate Research Companion to Non-State Actors''. Bob Reinalda (ed.). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011. 185–196. * Hilton, Matthew et al. eds. ''The Politics of Expertise: How NGOs Shaped Modern Britain'' (2013) * * Davies, T. 2014. NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society. New York: Oxford University Press. . * Velusamy M. Non-Governmental Organisation, Dominant Publishers & Distribution Ltd, New Delhi * Mark Butler, with Thulani Ndlazi, David Ntseng, Graham Philpott, and Nomusa Sokhela. ''NGO Practice and the Possibility of Freedom'' Church Land Programme, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 200
Churchland.co.za
* Olivier Berthoud, ''NGOs: Somewhere between Compassion, Profitability and Solidarity'
Envio.org.ni
PD
Edinter.net
Envio, Managua, 2001 * Terje Tvedt, 19982/2003: Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats. NGOs & Foreign Aid, Oxford: James Currey * Steve W. Witt, ed. Changing Roles of NGOs in the Creation, Storage, and Dissemination of Information in Developing Countries (Saur, 2006). * Cox, P. N. Shams, G. C. Jahn, P. Erickson, and P. Hicks. 2002. Building collaboration between NGOs and agricultural research iNGOs – Die Gewerkschaften in Guinea während der Unruhen 2007'' – European University Center for Peace Studies, EPU Research Papers: Issue 03/07, Stadtschlaining 2007 * Lyal Sunga, Lyal S. Sunga, "Dilemmas facing INGOs in coalition-occupied Iraq", in Ethics in Action: The Ethical Challenges of International Human Rights Nongovernmental Organizations, edited by Daniel A. Bell and Jean-Marc Coicaud, Cambridge Univ. and United Nations Univ. Press, 2007. * Lyal Sunga, Lyal S. Sunga, "NGO Involvement in International Human Rights Monitoring, International Human Rights Law and Non-Governmental Organizations" (2005) 41–69. * Werker & Ahmed (2008): What do Non-Governmental Organizations do? * * Abahlali baseMjondol
''Rethinking Public Participation from Below''
'Critical Dialogue', 2006 * Akpan S. M (2010): Establishment of Non-Governmental Organizations (In Press). * Edward A. L. Turner (2010)
Why Has the Number of International Non-Governmental Organizations Exploded since 1960?
', Cliodynamics, 1, (1). * Eugene Fram & Vicki Brown, How Using the Corporate Model Makes a Nonprofit Board More Effective & Efficient – Third Edition (2011), Amazon Books, Create Space Books. * David Lewis and Nazneen Kanji (2009): Non-Governmental Organizations and Development. New York: Routledge. * Issa G. Shivji (2007): Silence in NGO Discourse: The Role and Future of NGOs in Africa. Nairobi: Fahamu. * Jens Steffek and Kristina Hahn (2010): Evaluating Transnational NGOs: Legitimacy, Accountability, Representation. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan. * Yearbook of International Organizations, produced by the Union of International Associations.


External links

* * {{Authority control Civil affairs Non-governmental organizations, 01 Non-profit organizations Political science terminology Types of organization 1940s neologisms