Advantages of being an NGO
NGOs are often of interest to the general population. However, little is known about their work, and the very term NGO is a very vague concept for most people. In this article, we will explore why they are so popular when we know so little about them. We will also look at an emerging notion called ‘Tech-NGOs’ and why Berty chose this very special status.
🤝 What is an NGO?
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a group of persons brought together in the form of a legal association to help others and which operates autonomously for a governmental authority, including an international one.
- The two main criteria defining an NGO are as follows:
- It must be politically independent;
- Serve the public interest.
- In practice, two other criteria are often associated with this:
- the non-profit nature of its work;
- financial independence
In his book, Philippe Ryfman proposes to give the name of NGO to entities that share a set of five characteristics:
- The notion of association (i.e. the grouping together of private individuals) with a non-profit project for the benefit of others.
- The legal form of non-profit association, according to national laws.
- The fact of being an autonomous space concerning the State or private powers. The State must not be at the origin of the creation of the NGO even if it may have links with the State. The same autonomy must exist about the private economy, the Church, sects or criminal groups.
- “Reference to values implying, at the same time as a freely consented commitment, the will to include associative action in a citizen dimension inserted in a democratic framework. “The NGO thus becomes one of the segments of what is called “civil society”.
- The transnational nature of the action: an action that is carried out in another country (other than the country of origin) where it seeks to defend human rights or to intervene for the protection of the environment and sustainable development.
This definition makes it possible to differentiate between “NGOs” such as pure governmental NGOs (GONGOs, governmental NGOs) or organisations set up by companies or circles defending commercial interests (BINGOs, business NGOs).
It is important to note that NGOs do not have status under international law.
🏦 An NGO must be politically independent and therefore financially self-sufficient.
- NGOs can be very politically engaged, even virulent. To guarantee their independence, they do not wish to depend on public funding. Rather, NGOs are supported by private donations. Thanks to this form of funding, government budget cuts do not constitute a potential obstacle and make it possible to guarantee their financial independence and therefore the independence of their actions.
🌍 An NGO must serve the public interest and therefore be non-profit making.
- The ultimate goal of an NGO is to serve the public interest. Its purpose must be non-profit. This ensures that choices are made in the collective interest and not in a personal interest as might be the case in a traditional business. Therefore, within the framework of an NGO, there must be no personal enrichment, otherwise we could no longer speak of an ethical society.
🎨 Difference between an NGO and a non-profit organization (NPO).
- An NGO refers to a non-governmental organization made up of ordinary citizens, which operates independently of the government. In contrast, an NPO is an organization created to provide goods and services to people and operates on the principle that none of its members will receive any profit or loss from the entity.
🎯 Purpose of an NGO
- In its simplest definition, an NGO is a non-governmental organization that has been created and is used by those who have a single common agenda. An NGO works for the improvement, upliftment and development of society and the economy, human rights awareness, empowerment of women, etc.
- An NPO is created to promote art, science, research, trade or any other useful purpose.
- An NPO may include a charitable organisation, membership groups like a sports club or women’s club, social or recreational organisation, public educational institutions, public hospitals, etc.
Benefits of NGOs
- An NGO can easily adapt to local environmental conditions and thus provide personalized assistance. They also make it possible to test new techniques in a very targeted manner, for example. Programmes can also be easily integrated when it comes to providing benefits to the local population.
🏎️ Speed of execution
- One of the advantages of an NGO is its flexibility and speed of action. Unlike governments, they are not hampered by bureaucratic red tape. They can mobilize the population for rapid action when a crisis breaks out in a given country. The example of Romania is a good illustration of how, in the early 1990s, a multitude of NGOs were set up in record time and many initiatives were taken in Switzerland to raise money and deliver aid to communities in Romania.
The possibility for NGOs to network internationally and thus mobilize for certain causes has considerably strengthened the weight of their campaigns, creating a kind of “world public opinion”. They mobilise part of public opinion in favour of development aid and serve as channels of information on projects carried out in developing countries and on the contribution of cooperation to the beneficiaries.
An NGO can provide a means for people at the local level to communicate with those at the highest level of government administration. Besides, professionals working for the NGO are not hindered by the same types of restrictions that a government position would impose on their work.
- NGOs are very effective in raising donations, especially from northern populations. They enjoy an excellent level of trust. They are generally perceived as transparent and this builds trust. NGOs show a sense of closeness and mobilization. NGOs are generally well supported by supporters and donors.
Why you should choose NGO status
As you can see, the creation of an NGO can offer your organization several benefits. It will help you to achieve your goals of delivering your local community program and building credibility.
👍 You will be able to do good for those around you.
- NGOs are more advantageous than government programmes because they are part of the local community in terms of their structure. They can be involved in more than one project that is designed to support positive change in the lives of local people. This is also possible because of the NGO’s ability to integrate into each area of the local community to determine what is needed to facilitate positive change. One area that can be addressed is the reduction of local illiteracy rates.
💸 You can obtain funding
- Once your NGO has been established, you are now able to obtain grants from various financial institutions. Here you can use loans to obtain assets such as land. You can also use the funds to finance activities that your NGO needs to maintain.
💳 Banking Benefits
- It is easy to understand that a bank is necessary to establish your finances in a way that indicates your transparency. Consider the fact that your funding comes from private donors and not just government sources. You would want any potential donor to feel more comfortable giving you money that is not in your own name. Your bank account will show that your NGO is indeed a corporation created to honestly receive the donations you receive. It will also demonstrate the viability of the organisation, as it must be registered with the General Affairs Commission to open a bank account in its name.
⏱️ Unlimited life span
- An NGO will have what is called “perpetual succession”. Therefore, your NGO will continue to exist if the directors or founder leave the organization or die. For the NGO to be terminated, a formal decision must be made through a court order. In this way, your NGO can continue to exist after your death and for future generations.
🛡️ You protect your responsibility
- This is the least glamorous part, but if you’re hesitating between several legal statuses, it’s good to know. Under the name of an NGO, you can make acquisitions related to financial matters and assets. This is a very clever way to protect yourself from liabilities related to situations such as divorce, judgments, seizures and bankruptcies. Property or assets that are listed under the name of an NGO cannot be targeted by legal means when it comes to settling a debt. This is a common and very practical way to enable you to carry out your NGO activities without having to worry about financial “attacks” from outside.
👷 Beware of
Having an Indication of Stable Leadership - by registering your organization as an NGO, you have indicated that your organization has stable and cohesive leadership. This means much more to the public than having an organization that is not registered. Also, your organization will be better able to secure partnerships with charities, donor agencies, government entities and financial organizations if it is registered.
Have a sound financial plan - your NGO can provide you with tax-free options that will cover the activities you carry out under its auspices. This is because, by its very nature, an NGO is tax-exempt since it is non-profit. You can therefore carry out activities that are not hindered by tax obligations. By using this method of “tax avoidance”, you can help those you help without involving “tax evasion”, which is a criminal offence. It is an excellent way to legitimately reduce or cancel tax obligations.
Deposit your organization’s name - no one else can decide to use your organization’s name once it has been registered. This will prevent unauthorized use of your name.
If you can see that technology can change the world, you should seriously consider opting for NGO status!
🔎 Challenges and Opportunities
If you have a tech idea that can change the world? a committed idea? a challenging idea? Well, go for NGO status, aim higher. Dare to have a societal dimension.
A Tech-NGO will be attractive for your future ‘prospects’ (even if we can’t necessarily talk about clients in these cases) because you will have this stamp ‘I want to do good around me’. You will also be interesting for the people who will come to work with you. Indeed, there will be that extra soul in their work. They will fight with you for a common cause. It’s very motivating!
It is also possible that people will get involved around you simply because the cause speaks to them. And yes, you are more likely to create a community like that.
💻 What is a tech NGO?
Nothing could be simpler: A tech NGO is an NGO whose means are technical/digital. Today, technology allows us to respond to issues that were beyond us a few years ago, but also raises many questions that are important to answer.
There are three major ideas:
- A “private life” and “public welfare” part, i.e. everything concerning sustainable development and ecological awareness, with start-ups that should inspire large companies to be environmentally aware.
- Another part that asks questions: where are we going? At the moment, people are innovating to innovate without thinking about the consequences that this may have.
- Finally, we have to think about how to manage all these ideas, i.e. keeping the capitalist model in a regulated model, having at the same time agile authorities at the governmental level.
💛 Tech For Good movement
You’ve probably already heard of Tech For Good. Yes, the use of technology to serve the general interest in a territory. It is generally a network of entrepreneurs and investors who develop and finance technical and digital solutions to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable and responsible society.
The objective is to create within the ecosystem a model of tomorrow’s Tech entrepreneurship, concerned and focused on its purpose and its social and environmental externalities, by carrying out an ethical reflection on the role and use of innovation.
So yes, it is possible to think about tech, without thinking about the next unicorn, fundraising but rather patronage and concrete action that helps people with digital.
- They can experiment freely with innovative approaches and, if necessary, to take risks.
- They are flexible to adapt to local situations and respond to local needs and are therefore able to develop integrated projects, as well as sectoral projects.
- They have good people skills and can provide micro-assistance to people as they can identify those most in need and tailor assistance to their needs.
- They can communicate at all levels, from the neighbourhood to higher levels of government.
- They can recruit experts and highly motivated staff with fewer restrictions than the government.
- All NGOs need to fundraise.
- Before you even start looking for sponsors and applying for funding, start by looking at your own wishes and financial needs.
- As non-profits, NGOs rely on a variety of sources for funding, including:
- Membership dues
- Private donations: Individuals also make donations or sponsor NGOs for good causes.
- Sale of goods and services
- Grants from other non-profits
- Government grants: The government gives grants to NGOs for certain causes, provided they meet specific conditions.
- Institutional funds: Many trusts and institutions also provide funds for certain causes.
- Foreign Grants: Some international countries also provide grants for certain causes to improve their image and enhance their credibility and acceptance.
- Awards and prizes: NGOs that work well receive many awards and prizes for their good work.
- It’s not easy to raise money. An NGO needs a dedicated team just to fundraise.
Berty a Tech-NGO
At Berty’s, we think privacy is an everyday struggle. We believe that there is still a lot of work to be done to guarantee our right to digital anonymity. Censorship and mass surveillance are sadly still commonplace.
We believe that technology can solve this problem. That’s why we have opted for an NGO status. We didn’t imagine that we could create a lucrative business because our data is not for sale and protecting ourselves shouldn’t cost anything. It is a fundamental right.
We hope to unite many people around this project and we believe that the NGO status is a guarantee of our commitment.
If by any chance, you wanna support our work, visit our community page!! It means a lot 🧡