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Complete Guide to Form Your Own NGO Start-Up


Introduction: NGO Start-Up

Want to help the unprivileged section of society but confused about where to start? Well, what about starting with forming an NGO Start-Up, it can give you a good start, right? But someone may ask the question, “Okay, the idea is good, but what’s the procedure? Are there any legal compliances one needs to follow while starting a Non-Governmental Organization? What should be the strategy to ensure everything goes right? This article is going to be the answer key to these questions. Starting an NGO, especially in India, is not difficult as it seems. Setting up an NGO means one has to put effort into the well-being of the people deprived of even the basic rights that make life worth living and all without expecting anything in return. Just like the phrase "Do the Good Deed, Even When No one is watching.” And, here it also wouldn’t be wrong to say that opening and operating an NGO Start-up do sort of match the way people run a company. The major difference one can see here is that the former has to keep transparency as much as possible. 

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Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

The level of improvements in health, education, poverty level, sanitation, and housing conditions today we witness has not come out of the air as many segments of the Indian society are working day and night for them, and here, the contribution of the country’s social sector can’t be underestimated at all. And, when it comes to that, how can we not consider NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). Being the backbone of the social sector in India, NGOs are transforming at a never seen rate and helping government schemes and initiatives achieve their targets. Not just that, they are making extensive contributions to the economy and society and the credit also goes to new technologies and innovations. 

The significance of NGOs can be acknowledged by the fact that they are present even in the sections that the Government has failed to reach. That’s the reason we see many segments of people turning to them instead of the state. So, the question is what are their sources? Like, taking social tasks at such a scale is not everyone’s cup of tea, right? When it comes to India, donations from the general public or wealthy ones are the drivers of NGOs, which are also referred to as charity organizations.

Advantages to Form Your Own NGO Start-Up

  • Tax Savings

What’s better than contributing to the welfare of society without paying any tax to the government? Under the Companies Act of 2013, any entity that seeks to register a company as a Non-Governmental Organization, gets many tax incentives. Being exempt from paying taxes, NGOs save a lot of money that they can use for other social projects. Furthermore, NGOs as section 8 companies under the Income Tax Act, also get exemption from the stamp duty payment.

  • Acquire Assets Legally

Everyone might be familiar with the fact that buying or selling land can have legal consequences for unregistered organizations. But with NGO registration, one doesn't need to worry about that as it gets the right to acquire and own assets, including land. 

  • No Minimum Paid Up Capital Requirement

As per the Company Act, 2013, there is no need for any minimum paid-up capital while the registration of an NGO. What this means is that to form your own NGO start-up, you do not need to worry about managing share capital requirements. All it requires to function independently is funds, which can be in the form of donations, subscriptions from its members, and the general public.

  • Easy to transfer ownership

As per the provisions of the Income Tax Act of 1961, any entity that has an NGO registered under the Companies Act of 2013, is under no restrictions for transferring its ownership or claims of the interests earned. 

  • Builds Reputation and Connections

Another major advantage of forming an NGO is the reputation it can bring you. If you show efficient and responsible leadership qualities and run it effectively, then you see many political organizations, government authorities, and other charitable institutes will want to be associated with you for the social cause. 

Compliance Required to Form an NGO Start-Up

  • Registration of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) as a society, a trust, or a company.
  • PAN registration.
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax) registration in case the gross revenue from the NGO Start-Up exceeds the basic exemption limit of GST.
  • Section 12A registration, also known as Tax Exemption Certificate, under the Income Tax Act (Not a mandatory requirement but can help you obtain certain tax incentives if the conditions prescribed under it get fulfilled).
  • Section 80 G registration under the Income Tax Act (Again, not a must requirement but registration under it can help the donors avail the tax saving benefits and also prove significant to raise extra funds).
  • FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) registration under the IT Act to get funding from foreign lands. 
  • TAN (Tax Deduction Account Number) registration, a permit for the NGO to deduct tax at source. 

Process to Form An NGO Start-Up

  • Define Your Goals

Okay, you want to start an NGO and do something for the development of the communities living under miserable conditions. But here, you also need to define the targeted audience and the vision of the organization as it’s not possible to bring changes for every poor section at once. There are so many problems prevalent in the country right now, be it malnutrition, poor education, lack of housing infrastructure, or human trafficking and the list is not going to end soon. Therefore, take your time and note down the mission, values, and people you wish to focus on first. 

  • Bring Management

Even if you don’t take donations and grants from the general public or organizations, spending your hard-earned resources without proper guidance may not generate the results as per your expectations. Just like a company has well-defined targets and people in hierarchical positions to achieve them, your NGO start up can also do the same to get the taste of success. As a first step, you can set up a board of directors or take help from people who have expertise in resource management, technological know-how, and the country’s laws.

  • Choose a Great NGO Name

This may seem the easiest task to many but the reality seems different when one actually does it. Someone may say “What’s there to do?” Well, the name of an NGO must reflect its goals and mission statement, as many times this is what attracts people to make a step forward. The NGO name should give a way to thoughts or we should say, some sort of ray of hope in the mind of the audience. To do this in a better and easier way, you can go through the names of other Non-Governmental Organizations and check how theirs resonate with their goals. 

  • Get All the Required Permits

Above we have mentioned almost all the compliances one may need to form an NGO set up in the country and its better if you apply and obtain them as an important priority. The reason behind saying this is that this step will not only help you start your Non-Government organization as a distinct and legal entity but also keep away any legal troubles. If you need any help with this step, you can come in contact with Corpseed, which is India’s leading environmental and legal consultancy firm.

  • Ensure Transparency

Would you make a contribution to a charitable organization or associate with it, whose funding sources and operations are not transparent? Surely, the answer of many is going to be a ‘No’. Transparency and Accountability are the two main ingredients when it comes to establishing high credibility and demonstrating honesty and integrity in the work. Therefore, one of your major responsibilities is to put a transparent accounting system in place. This will help you in two ways. First, you would be able to keep a close eye on the donations that are coming, their sources, and their utilization. Second, it would present a clean image of your NGO in front of the public, hence removing any doubts regarding your intention. 

  • Fundraising Programs

None would mean anything if you failed to raise donations enough to fund your social projects. Therefore, you also need to jot down strategies regarding where to get funding as there are many options available, including grants from government authorities, membership fees, donations from the general public, etc. Often people approach governments for funding-related matters but as we said above if your intentions are good and you show the right leadership skills, many people would like to associate with you. 

Is there anything left? Following these steps are more than enough to form your own NGO start-up. But this does not count as an end as after setting up an NGO, you have to start working on a social project. The best step would be to set some short-term goals and assign every member of your NGO a clear-cut task. Given the performance and results of these goals, you can make adjustments accordingly to the allocated budget.


NGOs in the country are at the forefront when it comes to welfare work for the needy and impoverished. In recent years, the work they have done has yielded significant improvements in the standard of living of poor communities, alongside raising their socioeconomic status in society. After reading this article, you would also agree that anyone who seeks to form an NGO start-up can do it easily if they follow the given instructions at the right time. To make the NGO start-up successful and work towards the upliftment of weaker sections, all you need to do is give your full commitment to the noble cause and ensure transparency at every step of the operations.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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