Non-governmental organizations are different groups or companies in various fields with varying scope of work. There are those formed with no intention of making profits. Alternatively, NGOs are also known as civil society groups, self-help organizations, private voluntary organizations, grassroots organizations, independent sector, volunteer sector, non-state actors (NSA’s) or even transnational social movement organizations.
Non-governmental organizations, also known as non-profit organizations (NPO’s), are grouped based on co-operation, orientation and structure. NGOs work for various reasons and causes such as environmental, social, human rights, economical, etc.
Top 8 Types of NGOs based on Orientation and Operation Level
- Service Orientation – these kinds of NGOs offer services such as family planning, health provision or even education. The programs are created by the self-help organizations with an expectation that people will take part in its implementation and receipt of the service offered.
- Charitable Orientation – these kinds of NGOs have a top-down structure where the program beneficiaries make little to no effort to participate. Such organizations aim at helping the poor meet their basic needs. For instance, they distribute clothes, food or medicine; offer transport, housing, schools, etc. Relief activities when disasters (man-made or natural) strike are also carried out by these types of NGOs.
- Empowering Orientation – these types of NGOs aim at assisting the poor to understand political, social and economic factors responsible for their circumstances, creating awareness to help them gain the strength needed to take charge of their lives.
Although sometimes these organizations come up due to certain issues or problems, other times they are created by people working outside NGOs. However, NGO owners play the role of facilitators with optimal involvement in activities or programs.
- Participatory Orientation – these NGOs are involved in self-help projects. In such programs, the locals take part in project implementation by contributing land, cash, materials, tools, labor, etc. In these kinds of projects aimed at community development, the definition of a need is the beginning of participation, which continues into the phases where project planning and deployment take place. A good example is a cooperative.
Operation Level-based NGOs
- City-wide Organizations – business coalitions, the chambers of industries and commerce, educational or ethnic groups, Lion’s or Rotary Clubs and association of community organizations are good examples of city-wide organizations. Whereas some of these NGOs also run programs to help the poor, others are specific to a single role such as assisting the needy.
- Community-based Organizations (CBOs) – these types of NGOs are initiatives of individuals or certain people. Women’s organizations, sports club, educational or religious organizations, neighborhood organizations and sports clubs are just some types of CBOs. Whereas some are independent, others get support from international or national NGOs or international/bilateral agencies.
Some CBOs raise awareness of the urban poor to help them comprehend their rights to basic necessities. Others offer the poor the basic services they need.
- International NGOs – OXFAM, Redda BArna, CARE, Save the Children organizations, Rockefeller Foundations, Ford and religious groups make up NGOs with operations across the globe. Although they mainly fund local institutions, NGOs and projects, some are involved in grassroots projects implementation.
- National NGOs – YMCAs/YWCAs, the Red Cross, professional organizations, etc. are some examples of national NGOs. With county and state branches, these NGOs support local not-for-profit organizations.
5 Benefits of Non-Governmental Organizations
There are several benefits of NGOs some of which are as follows:
- They easily adapt to local circumstances to meet the needs of locals. Due to their flexibility, NGOs create sectoral and integrated projects to meet such needs.
- They use innovative strategies to freely make experiments or even take risks where necessary, for instance, when it comes to saving lives during a disaster.
- They have great communication skills and what it takes to communicate not just to locals, but also involved governments.
- They provide help poor people and enjoy the support of many because they can relate to those with the most need. As a result, they customize the support they give to meet the needs of different people.
- Unlike governments, they have what it takes to hire staff that’s highly motivated and experts or professionals with few to no restrictions.
4 Cons of NGOs
Just like there are benefits to these kinds of organizations, there are also cons or challenges experienced by these organizations.
- Constrained or restricted techniques to certain areas or issues
- Reduced cooperation between organizations due to ‘territorial possessiveness’ deemed as competition or a threat
- Restricted project or program design participation level due to paternalistic attitudes
- Reduced chances of an idea being replicated due to small area covered by projects, non-representation of a chosen area or project, reliance on financing from outside sources, etc.