What Are the Best Tips for Starting an NGO?

NGOs can use social media to boost awareness about a cause.
Previous experience in a similar organization can be helpful when starting an NGO.
NGOs might start from environmental concerns.
NGOs need to be hyperfocused in order to be the most effective.
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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2015
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Before starting a non-governmental organization (NGO), it is wise to determine whether there is truly a need for its particular services and if there is enough support available to keep it afloat. Other important things to consider when starting an NGO include the group’s mission, resources, and potential funding. It is also wise to consider the nature of the organization’s leadership, staff, and overall structure.

Previous experience in a similar organization can be helpful when starting an NGO. This is one of the best ways to learn how such an organization runs and what sorts of challenges to expect. It can also help the founders to determine whether they are suited to the demands of this kind of undertaking.

Before starting an NGO, it is also advisable to determine whether there is a need for the organization in question. This includes finding out if another group or groups are performing the same service and whether there are gaps in what they offer. It also involves learning about the target population and researching their needs.

Another important task is to build staff and volunteer support for a new NGO. This includes efforts to ensure that supporters who are passionate in the early days of the organization are kept engaged over the long-term. It also involves finding people who understand and are able to advocate effectively for the cause. In addition to those who understand the core mission, administrative, legal, and financial functions should also be covered.


While many groups can start small and with little funding, it is still often useful to determine potential sources of money before starting an NGO. This includes researching possibilities for private and public contributions. If possible, it can be beneficial to secure at least one major source of income before developing the organization.

Understanding avenues for promotion is another important part of starting an NGO. While it is good to start by determining where similar organizations are already marketing themselves, it can be more beneficial to find areas that are not as crowded with groups needing donations. By finding a unique angle, a new NGO can break into different sources of donors.

Effective networking in a wide array of venues is another common task of starting an NGO. This can include attending local business functions, fairs, and circulating in the community in order to spread awareness of the organization. Using online methods such as public service announcements and social media can also help to boost an organization’s profile.



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