So many people want to quit their high profile jobs and turn to social work! If you are one of them, you should know that setting up an organization, such as an NGO, in India is no easy task. But if you’re determined, there’s help at hand.
NGOs are organizations that usually work towards the promotion of certain causes or the welfare of a target population. Since they function in the non-profit realm, their objectives and modus operandi are often ambiguous compared to for-profit organizations. In order to achieve their objectives, NGOs need to follow a meticulous approach right from the stage of conceptualization. Besides, there are rules and regulations laid down by the Government of India. Here is a brief step-by-step guide for starting your own NGO in India: (Source: Online Resource Centre)
Step 1: Conceptualization
The first step is to lay down the issues that your NGO wants to address, and identify the mission and vision.
Step 2: Forming the Governing Body
Before registering the organization, you need to have a governing body in place that will be responsible for all activities and decisions of the organization. The governing body will be involved in all matters of strategic relevance, including strategic planning, financial management, human resources and networking.
Step 3: Formulation of Byelaws
Every NGO in India is legally required to document a trust deed/ Memorandum of Understanding/ byelaws that contain the name and address of the NGO, mission and objectives, details of governing body members, human resource and staffing information, rules and regulations, administrative laws and procedures.
Step 4: Registration
In India, you may register an NGO under any of the following Acts:
Indian Trusts Act: A Charitable Trust is not legally obliged to obtain registration; unless the Trust wants to claim income tax exemptions or is based in a state that is governed by the Public Trusts Act, such as Maharashtra.
Societies Registration Act: A society can be formed by a group of seven or more people. Its formation is more complicated than that of a trust, but it also affords more flexibility in terms of regulations.
Companies Act: An association that is formed for the promotion of art, science, commerce, religion or charity can be registered as a company but its members cannot be paid a dividend. All profits should be utilized for furthering the objectives of the company.
Step 5: Fundraising
This is probably the most decisive step for an NGO. Funds can be raised through internal sources (membership fees, sales, subscription charges, donations, etc.) or grants-in-aid from the Government, private organizations or foreign sources. Inflow of foreign funds is governed by the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 1976. Many NGOs are eligible for tax exemptions - be sure to check your eligibility status and file your application if the exemption applies to you.
Besides meeting the above mandatory requirements, you need to build a wide professional network with other NGOs, Government agencies, media and the corporate sector. Like most other organizations, an NGO thrives primarily on the strength of partnerships.
Have you ever thought of starting an NGO? What are your areas of interest?