The Diverse Landscape of NGOs: Types, Roles and Funding Sources

The Diverse Landscape of NGOs: Types, Roles and Funding Sources

Non-Governmental Organizations are an important factor that can help solve problems in various fields of activity. These are independent bodies that work at the local, national, and international levels to cover some areas that the government entities could fail to deliver services. As evidenced by the strikes that discussed both the protection of the environment and the advocacy for refugee rights, NGOs are involved in a variety of causes. The following article describes the evolution of NGOs and their current work, as well as the main sources of financing and gives a detailed instruction for dividing NGOs into various types.

Past Development of NGOs and Contemporary Function

The type has its roots in the early nineteenth century as various organizations where people could gather together for business. Basically, the abbreviation NGO originated after WW2 in 1945 when it acknowledged the necessity to have independent organizations for observing UN activity. However, non-governmental groups working for social causes cannot be said to exist only from the given year, though formally it is recognized.

Established in 1839, The Anti-Slavery Society is one of the earliest examples of an NGO; other organizations of that time include the International Committee of the Red Cross that was formed in 1863. These organizations laid the foundation for expansion of the concept of NGOs in the 20th century, especially later half of the Twentieth century aesthetically the Second World War.

Contemporary NGOs are a significant part of the world’s international relations as well as the international humanitarian and development actors. These organizations function as monitors, supporters, and service deliverers in many cases when governments cannot or do not want to intervene. More especially, NGOs participate in the formulation of policies and legislation, sensitization of the public on important issues as well as implementing programs on the ground affecting the people.

Today in the given global context, NGOs are assigned a role of prominent actors in reaching sustainable development objectives.

They work with governments, international organizations and the business world to solve issues like climate change, world poverty and the violation of human rights.

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Funding for NGOs 

As mentioned above, funding is a critical issue in the operation of NGOs and crucial to the achievement of the organizations’ goals and objectives.

A major way that NGOs source their funds is by depending on different funding methods to enable them run their various programs. The main sources include:

Government Grants: There are NGOs that get their sources of financing from the government for particular projects or even programs.

Foundation Grants: Billion dollar philanthropic foundations give significant funding to NGOs with the shared strategic mission.

Membership Fees: There are some NGOs that work on the basis of membership whereby it receives some kind of dues from the supporters.

Fundraising Events: More NGOs entertain the public by organizing gals, auctions and other social events meant to support the groups’ activities.

International Aid: Some OF the large NGOs may get funds from international Organizations such as the United Nations or the World Bank.

Earned Income: There are some NGOs that are financially self-sufficient or possibly procuring their income by involving themselves actively in business activities with social purposes.

NGO and Its Categories

Advocacy NGOs

Focus: Raising awareness of a particular issue or advocating for particular policy/rights/campaigns/supports/charities.


Amnesty International (human rights)

Greenpeace (environmental protection)

Operational NGOs

Focus: The next tasks include the implementation of development projects and the provision of direct services.


Médecins Sans Frontières (healthcare)

Habitat for Humanity (housing)

Service-Delivery NGOs

Focus: To offer basic services to people


It is also important to provide child protection, a function that is performed by Save the Children Organisation.

Organization For the Prevention of Food Loss (food security)

Research NGOs

Focus: Transmitting information through research and publications of concerns.


World Resources Institute is another important organization that deals in environmental research.

Pew Research Center is a distinguished research group in social and demographic trends.

Hybrid NGOs

Focus: Some of the OB practices entail integration of advocacy, service delivery, and research approaches.


Poverty and social justice non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom namely Oxfam.

WWF (scientific and conservation authority)

5 Largest NGOs Across the Globe

BRAC (Bangladesh): Concentrate in fighting poverty and social issues.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders): Responds to emergencies and gives medical aid

Oxfam International: Conducts efforts on dealing with poverty and other social justice related topics.

CARE International: Specializes in the themes of world poor and social justice.
Save the Children International: A leading international nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the wellbeing of children.

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