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Small Business Tricks to Help You Start Your NGO

Are you interested in starting a non-governmental organization? An NGO provides an outlet for people with common interests to channel time, money, and energy into advocating for their chosen cause. The U.S. alone has more than 1.4 million NGOs that employ approximately 11.4 million people, according to statistics from the International Forum of National NGO Platforms. These organizations promote causes like political advocacy, environmental issues, human rights, animal welfare, and many more.

Although NGOs are by nature non-profit, there is overlap between the business world and the successful management of an NGO. For instance, comparing commercial auto insurance quotes with CoverHound can help your employees travel to important events. As the leader of a non-governmental organization, you will have to consider many aspects, from the overarching mission statement to managing donations, advertising, budgeting, and transportation.

The legal benefits to officially incorporating an NGO include possible exemption from federal and state taxes. According to, sources of funding for NGOs can come from private donors, private companies, philanthropic foundations, grants from any level of government, or foreign governments. While this distinguishes non-profit organizations from for-profit businesses, there are shared tricks that help individuals establish and maintain either type of organization.

Understand What ROI Means to Your NGO

Businesses use a variety of metrics to calculate their return on investment (ROI), but it usually boils down to how much money they’re making in relation to how much they had to spend to make it happen. Finances are important for NGOs, but ROI may not be as clear-cut as they would be in a for-profit model. NGOs sometimes measure returns on social investment. NGO Pulse offers some examples of this non-monetary ROSI: people supported, CO2 emissions reduced, or children educated. While it’s helpful to use a business-like analysis of what’s important to an NGO and to carefully measure expenditures, it may be harder to pin an exact dollar figure on your ROI.

Keep Meticulous Records from Day One

An NGO with its heart in the right place won’t get very far without a business-oriented brain backing it up. Maintaining accurate, up-to-date records is the only way to gauge the performance of your NGO. Most NGOs must keep meticulous track of donor records and databases, not to mention saving receipts for supplies, transportation costs, and employee compensation. Treating your NGO like a business is the best and only way to stay operational. As Idealist writes, “without financial and service records, it is impossible to provide the community and other stakeholders with reliable information about the scope and value of the organization’s work.”

Think Long-Term to Foster Growth

Every NGO starts with an idea. Once you turn that idea into a mission statement, you’ll have a better idea of the direction your organization is heading. An NGO should try for stability and growth well into the future so it’s not a flash in the pan. Establish a structure that works for now—and for later. Vicky Ferguson, director of Glad’s House, explains how the seedling of an idea can grow into something that requires a long-term commitment for all involved: “I didn’t really think of the long-term implications when I was 20. Now there are 27 people working for the charity so I have to keep going for the staff and their families, as well as for the children it helps directly.”

The decisions you make as the founder and leader of an NGO will affect others. It’s important to take your commitments seriously and run your NGO like a business. Incorporate these tips into your workflow and you’ll be ready to positively impact the world! When your NGO is ready to hit the road, check out commercial auto insurance quotes from CoverHound.

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Review personalized quotes, select coverages, and buy online - Everything insurance, all-in-one-place.
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