What is an NGO
The term NGO which stands for Non-Governmental Organization according to Abbreviationfinder, refers in a generic way to any organization NOT belonging to or linked to any instance of government, at any level.
It was first used by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1950. In Brazil, it began to be used in the mid-1980s, referring exclusively to organizations that carried out projects with popular movements, for example, in area of social promotion.
We can consider synonyms the following terms CSOs Civil Society Organizations, Third Sector (from English Third Sector) or Nonprofit Sector (Nonprofit Sector).
We can say that NGOs are organized social groups that:
- they have a social and political role in their community or society;
- they have a formal and legal structure;
- they are related and linked to society or community through acts of solidarity;
- do not pursue financial profits (non-profit);
- have considerable autonomy.
Activities of a NGO
From the above, an NGO can act in several fields, in various ways, with different objectives, with very varied institutional missions.
There is no type of NGO that is more comprehensive in the social or political field than others. All, from small and local to large and international, play an important socio-political role.
Trying to designate NGOs, for their specific actions, such as left or right, combat or advisory, technical or militant actions, is a wrong way of conceptualizing the political role of an NGO. It would be to divert the attention of the public opinion on the functions of an NGO, for labels that divide, do not add up.
This is because if it exists, active and present, in a specific field of social action, it is logical to assume that it serves the interests of a socio-cultural group, within a range of the existing political spectrum. Therein lies its legitimacy.
In contrast, the networks of solidarity and immediate interests may not be the same for all NGOs, this determines the diversity of the field of political action for each one of them.
For the specific case of this manual, in summary, we can consider that “NGOs are private institutions, with public purposes”, as the anthropologist Rubem Cesar Fernandes summarizes.
In other words, NGOs are “pressure groups that seek, on the one hand, to influence and democratize government public policies so that they meet the needs of society and equal and fair living conditions worldwide as widely as possible and, on the other hand, to move the society in which they operate, using their relations of solidarity, in the search for this democratization and political influence ”.
How to proceed to the foundation
The 1988 Federal Constitution abolished the control of any state apparatus by Civil Society Organizations, ensuring that “associative entities, when expressly authorized, have the legitimacy to represent their affiliates judicially or extra judicially”. Under the Magna Carta, these associative entities can even bring security mandates or bring legal actions.
The Community Solidarity Program is initiating a series of consultations and debates to define new legislation, a new legal framework for the Third Sector, aiming at consolidating more efficient and less bureaucratic mechanisms.
The creation of an NGO or CSO has previously been in the interest of a specific group, with common goals and identities, to define whether or not they want to become a legal entity or prefer an informal group.
Having defined the interest of this group in founding a non-profit NGO, with status and registration in the registry office, linked to the social, environmental or social movement, some procedures need to be followed.
We remind you that this manual simplifies these steps. In order to avoid problems, it is recommended to accompany a competent professional, in this case a Lawyer.