18 Facts About NGOs


Surveys indicate that NGOs have a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders.

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However, NGOs can be lobby groups for corporations, such as the World Economic Forum.

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In some countries, NGOs are known as nonprofit organizations, and political parties and trade unions are sometimes considered NGOs as well.

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NGOs are classified by orientation—the type of activities an NGO undertakes, such as activities involving human rights, consumer protection, environmentalism, health, or development; and (2) level of operation, which indicates the scale at which an organization works: local, regional, national, or international.

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NGOs vary by method; some are primarily advocacy groups, and others conduct programs and activities.

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Advocacy NGOs or campaigning NGOs seek to "achieve large-scale change promoted indirectly through the influence of the political system.

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NGOs are usually funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding and are run by volunteers.

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Since the end of World War II, NGOs have had an increased role in international development, particularly in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation.

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Government funding of NGOs is controversial, since "the whole point of humanitarian intervention was precise that NGOs and civil society had both a right and an obligation to respond with acts of aid and solidarity to people in need or being subjected to repression or want by the forces that controlled them, whatever the governments concerned might think about the matter.

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International Health cultivates collaborative, arm's-length relationships with NGOs, recognizing their independence, expertise, and honest-broker status.

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Service-delivery NGOs provide public goods and services which governments of developing countries are unable to provide due to a lack of resources.

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Since the end of the Cold War, more NGOs in developed countries have pursued international outreach; involved in local and national social resistance, they have influenced domestic policy change in the developing world.

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NGOs have been accused of weakening people by allowing their funders to prioritize stability over social justice.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin made that accusation at the 43rd Munich Security Conference in 2007, saying that NGOs "are formally independent but they are purposefully financed and therefore under control".

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NGOs have been accused of using misinformation in their campaigns out of self-interest.

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NGOs have been challenged as not representing the needs of the developing world, diminishing the "Southern voice" and preserving the North–South divide.

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NGOs have been accused of damaging the public sector in target countries, such as mismanagement resulting in the breakdown of public healthcare systems.

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Scale and variety of activities in which NGOs participate have grown rapidly since 1980, and particularly since 1990.

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