NGO – Concept, types of NGO, functions and examples

We explain what an NGO is and the types of NGO that exist. Also, its various functions and examples of this type of organization.

NGOs are non-profit and have no ties to the state.

What is an NGO?

NGO is the acronym for Non-Governmental Organization, that is, a private non-profit organization that it is not involved at any level with the institutions of the State. In other words, they are intermediate organizations between private companies and public institutions, generally made up and run by ordinary citizens with a similar mission and vision.

NGOs generally get their funding from various sources: governments (national or foreign), private companies, other NGOs, volunteers, etc., without ideally compromising their objectives and their methods to the control or supervision of the interests of any power group, thus sustaining themselves as independent entities in the concert of public and private forces. This does not mean, of course, that NGOs are above the legal or juridical framework of the nation in which they operate.

NGOs can be groups of diverse nature, pursuing also diverse objectives, ranging between ecology, the fight against poverty, the denunciation of totalitarianism, sexual education, women’s liberation, and a huge etcetera. It is estimated that in the United States alone, more than one and a half million NGOs operate per day, and in third world countries such as India, that number may rise to two million or more.

Despite their diversity, NGOs they tend to have in common their autonomous character, unconcerned about financial gain, which allows them to pursue very long-term objectives, and in many different areas of action.

NGO types

NGOs can be classified based on two different criteria:

  • NGO according to their level of orientation. According to its tasks, it can be spoken of:
    • Charitable NGO. Dedicated to the development of charitable activities, especially for the poor or underprivileged sectors, with little participation from the beneficiaries.
    • Service-oriented NGO. They focus their efforts on indiscriminate care in sectors such as health, education, family planning, among others. They usually involve donations, roaming services, etc.
    • Participatory oriented NGO. They offer self-help projects that involve the beneficiary population, who are provided with a specialized guide to guide their efforts towards success and participatory learning.
    • Orientation to empowerment. They provide educational and psychological assistance to various disadvantaged or oppressed sectors of society to give them existential, emotional or psychological tools for self-improvement or entrepreneurship.
  • NGO according to its scope of operation. According to its capacity for action, one can speak of:
    • Community-based NGOs. Usually the product of the population’s own initiatives and demands, they act in small areas and seek to improve small sectors of society.
    • NGO at city level. They usually operate as chambers of commerce or industry or organizations of cultural exchange, ethnic or religious fraternity, etc.
    • National NGOs. Organizations of action throughout the country, with an important presence within the institutions of the nation.
    • International NGOs. NGO with presence in various countries or even continental regions, with international coordination, large-scale meetings, etc.

Functions of an NGO

The NGOs are aimed at social, solidarity or political-independent action.

NGOs can have functions and missions that are really dissimilar to each other, since they are born to fight for a specific and specific task.

However, they are broadly considered institutions aimed at social, solidarity or political-independent action, occupying an intermediate place between private interests and public policies.

This means that they can face more directly certain problems that are difficult (or inconvenient) to assume from the State, with a greater quota of freedoms.

The latter, however, has played against them on various occasions, since their tasks may go against those of certain States and, consequently, they have been accused of playing a role of intervention or sabotage in internal affairs. of countries, undermining international law in favor of imperialism.

NGO examples

NGO- amnesty international
The international amnesty seeks to defend human rights.

Some of the best known NGOs in the world are:

  • WWF. The World Wide Fund for Nature seeks to preserve biodiversity and fight for endangered species.
  • Doctors without borders. Focused on medical care in countries in humanitarian crisis or for populations displaced or threatened by armed conflicts or humanitarian tragedies.
  • International Amnesty. Committed to the fight for human rights in more than 150 countries around the world.
  • Greenpeace. Ecological NGO and denunciation and condemnation of anti-ecological actions, such as indiscriminate logging or irresponsible industrial activity.
  • CARE International. An aid organization for the displaced and refugees from the war, with a presence in 84 countries and more than 122 million people benefited.