Are you one of those people who are sick of the corporate life and want to give back to the society now, full time? Every year, increasing numbers of people want to set up an organisation – a non-profit one. Most of them don’t know how.
While we’d like to help you by telling the basics, we’d also want you to know that it isn’t very easy. However, if you heart is at it, you will definitely do a brilliant job. So, get to it!
Here are a few pre-requisites to starting your own NGO:
Be sure about what you want
First, sit down and assess your goals. There are a million causes to work on, in the country and in the world. What is it that you wish to work on?
Make sure you select the cause you have full conviction about, and something you have worked on before. This is serious business, once you get into it, there is no backing out. Your cause also needs to be something feasible for you to work with, so check all your resources.
Also, remember that there will be more people against your cause than for it. You’ll need to be emotionally strong to bear it all. You will be subjected to the darker side of human nature and see a lot of poverty, sickness and cruelty. Be strong: your strength can help many.
Register your NGO
Once decided, you need to register the organisation. But even before that, you will need to create a governing body. This body will be responsible for all the decisions, planning, management, networking and activities of the organisation.
A few years ago, a leading newspaper had published an article on how to register an NGO. Most of the details should be the same, so you can check the article for more detailed information. However, it is wise to cross-check this information with someone who knows more, like a lawyer, or someone who already has a functional NGO.
Get the MOU
In India, if you are starting a NGO, you will need to document a trust deed/MOU which will include the address of the organisation, objectives, mission, rules & regulations, and details about the governing body and staff. Form the governing body of your organisation and then, the byelaws and the MOU on the basis of which the NGO will function.
Categories of NGOs
NGOs in India can be formed and registered under three categories – a trust, society and section-8 company. The laws for these are different so it is advised to first decide under which category you want your NGO registered and then find out everything about it.
Whichever you chose, your income tax liability will be the same under given circumstances. An NGO can be registered under any of the following acts in India –
- Companies Act: Under this, all profits should be used for further needs of the organisation.
- Indian Trusts Act: As per this, a trust which is charitable doesn’t have to get registered except when it wants to claim tax exemptions.
- Societies Registration Act: A few people can come together and form a society. This way they get more flexibility when making regulations.
In all the categories, the mode of succession on board of management is election by appointment. In a trust, the statute followed is Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950, while in a society it is the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and in a section-8 company, it is the Indian Companies Act, 2013. More details can be found on the NGOs India website.
To register your NGO, the first thing you’ll need is the form which is available at the district registrar’s office. Also required are the rules and regulations of the company and a memorandum of associations along with consent letters from all the members of the managing committee.
This committee should have at least seven members in it. All these members need to sign the authority letter, too. The members also need to get together than sign on a declaration that all funds earned or secured by the company will be used only for the society.
The registration fees for all NGOs, except mahila mandals is Rs 50. This needs to be submitted with the form and copies of the documents. Mahila Mandals need to pay only Rs 10 as registration fees.
The income of a trust is exempt from income tax. However, to be able to avoid this option, it is important to get certificate u/s12A from the income tax department soon after the registration as a trust.
Once registered, you will need to raise funds from internal sources. This can be from donations, sales, membership fees, subscriptions. Since the incoming funds are monitored, make sure you know if you are exempt from tax of not.
You can arrange activities, charity events, publish and sell works by the organization and its members, and even ask for online donations.
According to Entrepreneur magazine, crowdfunding is the process of raising money to fund what is typically a project or business venture through many donors using an online platform, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder.
A lot of NGOs are also use Network for Good, an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profit organizations. It makes made online donations easy so that NGOs can raise funds online using their software. This is one way you can start an NGO without money.
For the NGO to work and grow, you will need to work on your network – in your professional, personal and social circuits. Of late, there being a digital boom, it is the perfect time to use social media as a tool to promote your NGO.
Get listed in directories
Another thing you need to do is to register your NGO with Karmayog. This website is the database of all NGOs, and has details for resources, donations, volunteering etc.
The website takes you through a step by step guide of how to set up an NGO. You can also advertise on their website to promote your NGO. Also search for more directories online where you can list your NGO.
Did you find these tips on starting an NGO useful? Let us know in the comments below.