Different Types Of NGOs (With Definition And Functions)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working for a charitable purpose may be a fulfilling profession since it enables you to support yourself while working to make the world a better place. Working in an NGO or a non-governmental organisation may be the right career choice for you if you have a strong desire to help individuals, animals or the ecosystem. Knowing more about NGOs can assist you in determining whether this career path is ideal for you. In this article, we examine what non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are and list different types of NGOs operating in the country.

What Is An NGO?

An NGO, or non-governmental organisation, is a nonprofit organisation that offers free services without trying to turn a profit from what it does. While some individuals use the terms ‘NGO' and ‘nonprofit' interchangeably, you can distinguish between the two phrases, using ‘nonprofit' to describe a local or regional operation and ‘NGO' to describe a worldwide organisation. NGOs may advocate for a wide range of social concerns, including:

  • Disability activism

  • Environmentalism and wildlife preservation

  • Labour rights

  • Corporate and financial lobbying

  • Religious activism

  • Human rights advocacy

  • Medical aid

  • Political empowerment

Related: What Is Social Responsibility And Why Is It Important?

Types Of NGOs

The basic types of NGOs operating in the country classifies into two broad segments based on orientation and level of operation:

Based on orientation

These are some NGO classifications based on their orientations:

1. Charity

Charitable orientations refer to paternalistic endeavours with little involvement from recipients. It includes NGOs that run campaigns to meet the needs of the underprivileged, such as to provide clothing, medication, food, shelter, education and transportation. Such NGOs also play an active role in supporting those in need after natural disasters. These organisations play a very significant role in fostering development. Typically, they get financial support from the government and they can also receive private donations.

2. Service

Service orientations include those organisations that run campaigns to advance family planning, healthcare and education. They categorise such activities into programmes that ask for people's active involvement to ensure smooth execution. The funds for these organisations can come from private individuals or from the government.

Related: How To Become A Social Worker: Skills, Salary And Duties

3. Participation

Self-help initiatives with a participatory orientation include locals in the project's implementation, whether through financial, labour, material or other contributions. Participation starts with the identification of needs and continues through the planning and execution phases of a community development project. Participatory orientation is common in cooperatives.

4. Empowerment

Empowering orientations aim to raise awareness regarding the potential power that impoverished people possess to improve their own lives. It also assists them in better understanding the political, economical and social elements that affect them. These organisations can emerge spontaneously around a problem or topic in some cases, while in other cases, external professionals assist in the establishment of such groups.

Based on level of operation

These are some classifications of NGOs based on their level of operation:

1. Community-based organisations

Community-based organisations or CBOs form as a result of individual initiatives. Sports teams, women's organisations, neighbourhood associations and religious or educational institutions are a few examples of CBOs. These organisations come in many different forms, some of which are endorsed by national or international NGOs, or bilateral or international organisations, while others operate without outside assistance.

Related: What Is A Social Entrepreneur? (Definition And Examples)

2. City-wide organisations

NGOs with a city-wide focus include organisations like the coalitions of business, associations of community organisations, chambers of commerce and industry and associations of ethnic or educational organisations. Individuals form these organisations with the objective of helping the poor. Some of them may also work towards helping those in need as one of their primary endeavours.

3. National NGOs

National NGOs are NGOs that function across a nation. The Red Cross and YMCAs or YWCAs are examples of national NGOs. Some of them help nearby NGOs and have state and duty-based branches.

4. International NGOs

International NGOs engage in a variety of activities, notably by providing funding for regional NGOs, institutions and projects. They are also responsible for carrying out the initiatives themselves. Examples of international NGOs include Save the Children organisations, CARE and OXFAM.

What Do NGOs Do?

The precise duties an NGO performs may vary depending on the organisation's size, the cause it supports and the requirements of the beneficiaries. Some common responsibilities may include:

Raising funds

As NGOs do not turn a profit, the donations they receive account for a significant portion of their revenue. Because of this, many NGOs have sizeable fundraising teams made up of both paid personnel and volunteers, who make sure the group has enough money to meet its development goals. Community gatherings, donor dinners, online auctions, telethons and donor drives are a few examples of NGO fundraising activities.

Offering services

Members of certain NGOs go to various states or nations to serve the needy, deliver aid, and oversee educational initiatives. A medical assistance NGO may, for instance, construct clinics, educate locals with first aid and health education, manage immunisation programmes, and offer medical treatment to remote locations. Other NGOs may concentrate on developing initiatives for local residents, such as food kitchens or hospice visitation.

Increasing awareness

The dissemination of information about a specific cause an NGO supports may be a crucial component of its goal. The NGO's staff and volunteers can produce print and digital materials informing people about the cause, visit communities and schools to connect with the public, and look for media opportunities with regional and national news organisations. An advocacy organisation for a particular chronic disease, for instance, may send representatives to school meetings or stop by a local news station to speak with people about the effects of having the illness and offer advice on how to support those who have it.

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Jobs In NGOs

Jobs in non-governmental organisations provide individuals with the chance to hone their abilities while often making a good impact on people's lives. There are several occupations available inside these organisations for individuals to choose from, and some of them are as follows:


To support the NGO's purpose, fundraisers persuade individuals to provide funds and other assets. They may make calls to potential contributors, disseminate information to the general public about the NGO's objective, go to fundraising events and schedule meetings. These professionals may also send receipts, invoices, tax information and record donations' amounts in addition to other administrative duties linked to their fundraising activities. NGOs may employ fundraisers with a variety of educational backgrounds, although big NGOs frequently employ fundraisers with prior sales or business development expertise.

Related: What Are Fundraiser Skills? (With Tips For Improvement)

Administrative assistant

An administrative assistant in an NGO is an individual that performs a number of tasks to support the leadership of an organisation. They can be of assistance to a manager, a director or even a department. An administrative assistant at an NGO may be responsible for filling out insurance paperwork, keeping track of correspondence, monitoring events on the organisation's calendar, and creating reports for directors and other stakeholders. While the educational backgrounds of administrative assistants might vary, most of these professionals working in NGOs hold degrees in sociology, administration, global studies or in the field of liberal arts.

Related: Administrative Assistant Career Goals (Importance And Tips)

Marketing coordinator

Marketing coordinators are individuals who help marketing directors and they are in charge of site design, content generation and advertising campaigns. Marketing coordinators collaborate with other members of the marketing and branding teams to organise campaigns, develop designs and compose slogans in NGOs. NGO marketing campaigns work towards attracting potential donors, meeting fundraising goals or raising awareness of a particular need or problem pertaining to the organisation's purpose. These professionals often hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in marketing or advertising, while some can also hold higher degrees.

Related: Top 10 Marketing Positions (With Salaries And Job Duties)

Programme director

Program directors oversee the day-to-day activities of a department within a company. For instance, programme directors for an educational NGO may focus on volunteer work, capital projects, facilities administration and curriculum creation. These leadership experts can assist in the establishment of the yearly and monthly goals for their division and may also employ and train people, make budgets, track vital performance indicators and produce reports for stakeholders. These professionals can hold degrees in leadership, management or nonprofit administration.

Project managers

Project managers assure the accomplishment of an NGO's goals, through systematic project management. Among an NGO's strategic projects are activities like branching out into a new area, stepping up fundraising efforts, bringing in new products and services and reforming the company. To establish objectives, create project plans, keep track of developments and evaluate outcomes, these experts employ project management techniques. While the professional backgrounds of project managers might vary, many of them have degrees in business, management or leadership and they also have prior project management experience in public or private organisations.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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