A non-governmental group (NGO) is a non-profit civic group that operates independently of the presidency. NGOs are organized on national, national and global scales to perform financial, social and civic functions. Regardless of their independence from the federal government, many NGOs obtain significant funding from government entities.

Key points to remember

  • A non-governmental group (NGO) is a non-profit civic group that operates independently of the presidency.
  • NGOs are organized on national, national and global scales to perform financial, social and civic functions.
  • Regardless of their independence from the federal government, many NGOs obtain funding from Indigenous, state, and federal governments through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.

Watch now: What is an NGO?

Understanding the financing of NGOs and authorities

NGOs are non-public organizations, managed by non-public persons and operated independently of the presidency.

In 2021, there are approximately 1.5 million NGOs operating in the United States, representing all kinds of causes. Some NGOs pay attention to development tasks, equivalent to clean water, while others promote awareness of particular causes, equivalent to gender equality.

Many NGOs obtain funding from local, state and federal entities in the form of grants. A grant is a monetary award given to a business with a selected objective. Grants contribute to current funding for medical analysis, financial growth, academic advancement, and various tasks presented by public companies. Subsidies are mainly items that do not have to be repaid.

Different types of funding for NGOs include:

  • Annual membership fees or charges
  • People’s donations
  • Donations from charitable foundations, which are funded by both public donations or non-public donors, equivalent to an organization, person, or household
  • Income or gains from the sale of products and businesses
  • Contracts and cooperation agreements with governments

Special problems

Government funding of NGOs can be controversial when officials and/or voters differ on the NGO’s goals or funding needs. Some NGOs choose not to be recognized or tied to the federal government and avoid funding from any national or global government authority or group.

For example, environmental NGO Greenpeace receives no federal or corporate funding. Greenpeace refrains from getting involved in politics, in favor of its registration as a charity.

Examples of NGO and government funding

The following are examples of NGOs that are currently obtaining funding from the authorities or have obtained funding from the authorities in the past:

Documents without borders

Docs With Out Borders is an NGO that provides medical aid and access to medicine to those in need all over the world, which includes the fight against malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria and many other medical points.

The overwhelming majority of revenue comes from donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. The group receives international public funds, but limits this funding to less than 20% of the total amount of funds raised. Docs Sans Frontières has received no funding from the US government since 2002.

American Affiliation of Retirees (AARP)

The American Affiliation of Retired Individuals (AARP) is a society that helps people aged fifty and over by providing training and data. A number of areas that AARP focuses on include financial education, eldercare, and fraud security.

AARP receives grants from federal authorities through the AARP Foundation, which helps alleviate poverty among elderly residents. Otherwise, the group receives the overwhelming majority of its funding in the form of dues, donations, and advertising revenue from its publications. AARP also earns royalty revenue by allowing third-party companies, such as monetary institutions, to use the AARP model name.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

The mission of the World Wide Fund for Nature is to preserve nature and promote the range of life on Earth. Issues addressed include creating renewable energy, creating sustainable diets for people, conserving forests, and ensuring enough fresh water. In 2021, 28% of WWF funding came from individuals, 29% from foundations, 3% from corporations, while only 9% came from public grants.

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