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How to start an NGO

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  25 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

So many people want to quit their high-profile jobs and turn to social work! If you are one among them, you should know that setting up an organization, such as an NGO in India, is no easy task. However, if you are determined, there is help at hand.

NGOs need to follow a meticulous approach right from the stage of conceptualizing. Besides, there are rules and regulations laid down by the Government of India.

1. Lay down the issues that your NGO wants to address, and identify the mission and vision.

2. Before registering the organization, you need to have a governing body in place that will be responsible for all activities and decisions of the organization. The governing body will be involved in all matters of strategic relevance, including strategic planning, fincial magement, human resources and networking.

3. Every NGO in India is legally required to document a trust deed/ Memorandum of Understanding/ Bylaws that contain the me and address of the NGO, mission and objectives, details of governing body members, human resource and staffing information, rules and regulations, administrative laws and procedures.

4. In India, you may register an NGO under any of the following Acts:

(a) Indian Trusts Act: A Charitable Trust is not legally obliged to obtain registration; unless the Trust wants to claim income tax exemptions or is based in a state that is governed by the Public Trusts Act, such as Maharashtra.

(The application for registration should be made to the official having jurisdiction over the region in which the trust is sought to be registered)

(b) Societies Registration Act: A society can be formed by a group of seven or more people. Its formation is more complicated than that of a trust, but it also affords more flexibility in terms of regulations.

(Application for Registration: Registration can be done either at the state level (in the office of the Registrar of Societies) or at the district level (in the office of the District Magistrate or the local office of the Registrar of Societies)

(c) Companies Act: An association that is formed for the promotion of art, science, commerce, religion or charity can be registered as a company but its members cannot be paid a dividend. All profits should be utilized for furthering the objectives of the company.

(An application has to be made for availability of me to the registrar of companies, which must be made in the prescribed form no. 1A, together with a fee of Rs.500. It is advisable to suggest a choice of three other mes by which the company will be called, in case the first me which is proposed is not found acceptable by the registrar)

4. Raise funds through interl sources (membership fees, sales, subscription charges, dotions, etc.) or grants-in-aid from the Government, private organizations or foreign sources. Inflow of foreign funds is governed by the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 1976. Many NGOs are eligible for tax exemptions - be sure to check your eligibility status and file your application if the exemption applies to you.

5. Besides meeting the above mandatory requirements, you need to build a wide professiol network with other NGOs, government agencies, media and the corporate sector. Like most other organizations, an NGO thrives primarily on the strength of partnerships.

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