Do you know how to start an NGO? Have you been thinking about it? Are you aware of how time-consuming the process is – both at the beginning and in the middle of the process? Do you know that running a non-governmental organization will require a lot of your time and commitment? If you feel ready to do so, don’t think twice just find out, what to do step by step to start an NGO.

How to form an NGO? – table of contents:

  1. How to start an NGO?
  2. The team
  3. The name and the statute
  4. Register the NGO
  5. The meeting of the board
  6. Searching for funds
  7. Your first project
  8. Summary

How to form an NGO?

As part of the first step, you have to decide what area of activity is best for your NGO. Women’s rights, education, national minorities, sexual minorities, ecology, helping those in need, health – there are many possibilities, this is why this is so important to choose the goal of your organization that is aligned with your beliefs.

This way you have to establish to whom and why you wish to help. Then you will be ready to draft a mission statement and vision of the new NGO, as well as plan for a short and long period (consistent with tactical, operational, and strategic goals).

The team

You cannot run your NGO alone, you need an executive board to help you. Your management board has to share the vision and goals of the organization with you. You need people to deal with administrative, financial, legal, and project management matters.

The amount of people you have to employ depends on the scope of your activity. In the beginning, it is worth gathering a group of people with great skill and commitment.

The name and the statute

The name and branding are the essences of your recognizability. The name of the organization should reflect its goals, and the logo and other graphic materials should be easy to remember. One has to make sure that there is no other entity with the same name and similar logotype.

At this stage, you should try to prepare articles of association, statutes, or/and regulations (accordingly to the type of the activity). Those documents will form the base for the functioning of the foundation, association, or club.

Register the NGO

There is a time to start legal steps to confirm the registration officially – you may need to get some support from a lawyer, who could help you with registration, reporting, tax issues, and licenses.

Specific legal conditions that have to be fulfilled to register the activity may differ accordingly to the given country, but in most cases information about the board members, the mission, and personnel is necessary. The statute and the rule book are equally important.

how to start an ngo

The meeting of the board

Such a meeting is required to accept and vote on statuses and policies (among others related to the functioning of the board) and discuss the steps that will have to be taken to complete the first projects. It is the ideal moment to talk about the action plan, the possibility to run local research, or building a network of contacts that will help to establish partnerships with other entities.

how to start an ngo

Searching for funds

At this stage, it is crucial to develop – based on the action plan – the yearly budget and plan the costs. With this information, one can make research to find necessary financial support (loans, membership fees, grants, donations, grants, subsidies).

You can receive financial support both for general activity and the concrete project. To develop the best fundraising strategy, one has to establish the needs of the organization and the sources of income.

how to start an ngo

Your first project

Establish the details of the project, allocate roles, designate tasks, draw a budget, and start the project. Remember about regular analysis of the processes and observe, what resources are needed. Perhaps some of the financial needs may be higher than you have initially expected.

Take care of your brand and its recognizability. You have to have your website on the Internet and run your social media channels. Don’t forget about the equipment needed in the office such as laptops, furniture, and other amenities as well as about the insurance, and staff training.


Now you know how to start an NGO step by step successfully and efficiently. Remember to go through all the stages but treat all the hints as just the indication – all the particular issues may differ accordingly to the type of NGO (operational or advocacy) and the country you plan to register your organization. In most cases, there will be a need to adjust to the enforced conditions that are characteristic of the given country or region.

how to form an ngo

Check out our Free Project Management Software For NGOs. Organize projects with kanban boards, keep a database of volunteers and donors, store NGO documents and donor reports in one place!

Read also: How to communicate at work in order to be more effective?

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How to form an NGO? 7 quick steps to success andy nichols avatar 1background

Author: Andy Nichols

A problem solver with 5 different degrees and endless reserves of motivation. This makes him a perfect Business Owner & Manager. When searching for employees and partners, openness and curiosity of the world are qualities he values the most.