Talk:Non-governmental organization

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Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive This article was on the Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive for the week of June 26, 2005.

The EU is an NGO[edit]


A very high profile Wiki Editor is stating that this is the case:

Are you seriously trying to suggest that the EU is not an NGO? ... If you consider me throwing my political science and international relations degrees at you to be derogatory, then I have to say that I am sorry you feel that way. I am not a potted plant; I know the policies of which I speak, ... - Arcayne (cast a spell) 09:04, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

that this is clearly not true, and i said so (although the original remark was not directed to me and that editor accepted it, "If you are so hung up on the EU as being an NGO, then by all means") , but i just want to make sure that there is'nt a grey area or that the article here needs to be corrected to state EU=NGO. I also asked in EU as well in case nobody sees this here. Thanks for any guidance on this.20:45, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

The EU is absolutely not an NGO. There is no gray area. --JayHenry (talk) 22:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Yep, I know that. I screwed up the lettering NGO and IGO in a discussion about wacky over-the-top flagicon usage. I guess I should get 30 lashes with a wet noodle. :) - Arcayne (cast a spell) 05:45, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

OK, sorry I was just following this:
  • the EU is not a single nation, nor is the UN or UAE. They are actually something called NGO's, or non-governmental organizations. ... we do not link flags to NGO's. - Arcayne
    • f) The EU is nothing BUT a governmental organization. Its purpose is to politically unite the countries within the European Community. it does not 'act on behalf' of any single state; it is a united entity. Ditto the UAE.. Kapowow
      • f - Are you seriously trying to suggest that the EU is not an NGO? ... If you consider me throwing my political science and international relations degrees at you to be derogatory, then I have to say that I am sorry you feel that way. I am not a potted plant; I know the policies of which I speak, ... - Arcayne

I've marked this as resolved. (talk) 13:34, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

The EU is the clear opposite of an NGO!If the EU is an NGO, then everything is an NGO! -- Dynam1te3 (talk) 03:30, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


  • "Since NGOs are usually non-profit organizations that gain at least a portion of their funding from private sources". I almost fell of my chair when I read this. They're 99% government tax payer funded, no person in the world have put any money in an NGO since they know it's money thrown out the window. And all in the name (and out of the utter arrogance) of "teaching" these countries "capitalism". The people who do their kind of work, expatriates all, whether American, British, or German, are the same all over the world. They love the life, would not dream of doing anything else, lackeys, who couldn't really make it at home. They do not have to be right or wrong, when everything goes wrong, the government bails out the shareholders. Scores of people have written about how they think and act, Jim Rogers, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene.- Jerryseinfeld 01:23, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Am in 100% agreement with the view NGOs are a project of northern states that are, with the World Bank etc, the apparatus of contemporary imperialism. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Inkani (talkcontribs). 08:46, January 29, 2007 (UTC)

These comments and their links are, to be honest, generalising rubbish and contribute nothing to an understanding of the phenomenon itself. Let's make a little more effort to get to the heart of the matter shall we? --campdog 03:09, 29 July 2006 (UTC)


The current definition in this article seems really broad. I think most people would limit NGO's to those groups that have some kind of advocacy mission, either popular or through lobbying. I.E. country clubs, etc. do not count. For now, I'm adding this to the article. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:49, 2005 Jun 26 (UTC)

Here are links to two definitions by notable institutions:
UIA definiton of NGO
World Bank Criteria defining NGO
--Fenice 21:27, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Improvement Drive[edit]

What do we think this article needs? It needs internationalising for starts - what is a PVO? It doesn't include charity anywhere and yet they are nearly all charities in England and Wales (there are issues around charities and political activities which stop groups like Amnesty being charities). I think the list is pretty pointless and I'd like to either make a new article or just cut it.

Can we find a good way of categorising NGOs? I know development NGO is a common term, are there any others? We need to talk about the breadth of the term and give examples from across the world. Secretlondon 28 June 2005 13:40 (UTC)

Development NGO's should definitely be listed under Purposes. I don't think categorizing NGO's is the best way to go in the prose since that is already done in the list section. I think a good way to proceed would be to differentiate between their different methods, like a subsection on lobbying, work in the developing world, etc. Christopher Parham (talk) 2005 June 28 16:57 (UTC)
I think the lists should be shortened and only the most important ones left in this text - there can be a separate article List of non-governmental organizations.
I agree with secretlondon - NGOs should be categorized, and the listed ones could be cited as examples. Development NGOs, I agree, is often heard. It also appears in the categorization (they call it typology) of NGOs by the World Bank. They come up with this categorization:
  • operational NGOs

primary purpose: design and implementation of development-related projects
Individual operational NGOs vary enormously according to their purpose, philosophy, sectoral expertise and scope of activities. A number of different NGO typologies exist. For example, NGOs have been classified according to whether they are more relief or development-oriented; whether they are religious or secular; whether they stress service delivery or participation and whether they are more public or private-oriented.(quote from WHO-site)

  • advocacy NGOs (sometimes called militant NGOs)

primary purpose: to defend or promote a specific cause
--Fenice 28 June 2005 17:33 (UTC)

I have created subsections for "Methods" and I don't think it interferes with a typology.--Fenice 29 June 2005 17:14 (UTC)

The best way to organize the list section would probably be according to the topics they deal with: environment, health, refugees, food, etc.--Fenice 29 June 2005 17:30 (UTC)

an NGO has a majso distiction to it that an NPO does not. it's obvious that an NGO is a NPO. but not neccesarily the other way around~goodspeed

Lobbying (why was it deleted?)[edit]

Can anyone explain why the lobbying section of this article was deleted? I'm tempted to revert the edit, but I don't want to do it ignorantly. Jxn 17:33, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

I guess the (anonymous) person (with only a couple of edits) deleting the section did not agree with the content ;-) (it wasn't exactly the best section of the article...). In a way I agree with the removal. “Everything” in the article, and especially the methods section, seems to be a bit snapped together. When talking about such a broad topic as NGOs it is easy to write something that applies to certain organisations and at the same time goes against the "ethics"/way of work of another one. Maybe it's not viable to include all this information in the main NGO article and enough to just mention the various methods. Or when the general consensus is to include more info to at least have different sections for different "groups" (environmental action, aid etc) of NGOs. Although even then it will be hard to mention information that applies to various organisations in the same group (a good example are Greenpeace and the WWF; partly striving for the same goals, though their methods are often far from eachother) Anyway, just rambling a bit here. But if anyone want to comment on it ;-) Pepijn Koster 23:03, 18 November 2005 (UTC)


She-Nyyx 03:37, 24 November 2005 (UTC) Spelling correction in Acronym section (natinal > national)

==Criticism==df added the following paragraph to the article:

In recent years there has been an up rise of an increasing scepticism about NGO's- especially in developing countries. NGO's biggest problem is that their ultimate aim should be to eliminate themselves- meaning that when NGO's get formed (and they are usually formed up to tackle a specific problem), their primary aim should be to make themselves unnecessary again. However- due to the amounts of money which often runs through NGO's and into the hands of the employees of the NGO, this motivation is eliminated. For further criticisms and a thorough discussion on this topic read this critical discussion which evaluates the effectiveness of NGO's in Africa- [1]]

A section on criticism of NGO's would be a valuable addition to the article and has made some good points. However, the source isn't good enough. It is a BBC News discussion forum, and the comments are just from random people. We need better sources. I'm willing to work on this. Sunray 17:17, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


I think this section is garbled and inconclusive, although containing pertinent facts and observations. I think it would be useful to obesrve that the modern undertanding of NGO is firmly linked to the development of the nation state and that it is also useful to connect its development with the UN and other wider globalisation processes. thus I propose the following components to the history section (1) prestate precursors to modern NGOs; (2)The nation state and the emergence of NGOs, (3) globalisation and the contemporary proliferation of NGOs. I think this historical format then sets the article in a position to adequately discuss a typology of contemporary NGOs. --campdog 06:04, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Evolutionary development of NGOs[edit]

The division of NGOs into a typology is useful and I think should be included and expanded on, but I think the evolutionary framework is a nonsense. I think it would be more easy to typologise NGOs as (1) humanitarian NGOs devoted to the aleviation of direct human suffering caused by catstrophe, war, and poverty (eg the Red Cross, Save the Children), (2) Globalising NGOs devoted to relationships between states and their economicies and governmentalities (eg Greenpeace,endless numbers of peace and conflict NGOs etc), (3) Strong state NGOs (these are essentially stakeholder lobby groups which do not neccessarily disagree with state governance, but wish to maximise the resources and attention allocated to their stakeholder group), (4)failed state NGOs (these are NGOs which lobby for stakeholders encompassed by a state, but fundamentally excluded from its benefits), (5) limited purpose NGOs (these are NGOs directed towards a specific goal such as building a school, increasing local awareness of Tuberculosis etc). Please note it is clear from this typology that many NGOs possess a number of these elements. It is also clear that they may be positioned almost anywhere on the political scale. --campdog 06:39, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge with NPO[edit]

David Bornstein in Massive Change says that NPOs and NGOs are American and European names for the same thing (and proposes citizen sector organizations as a neutral alternative), so I'm proposing a merge. If this isn't precisely true, could we at least have much heavier cross-referencing? --Vagary 19:23, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

No - NGO is widely used and understood internationally, NPO less so.--Glen Fergus 02:21, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Fine, then merge NPO into NGO! I'm not advocating a North American bias, but the confusion of these terms is widespread there and these articles are incomplete without addressing that. --Vagary 23:54, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I could see merging NPO into NGO, but agree with Glen that NGO is the more internationally understood term. Sunray 04:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

In an MA thesis a decade ago I spent over 15 pages up front just defining terms in common usage for various "3rd-sector" actors from various different angles and country perceptions. There is no easy way, given so many varied organizations, in so many countries, in so many fields, to nicely combine them in one easy discrete category that would be accepted globally. Would recommend keeping two large categories and cross-linking 1) NPO for US most commonly used term, and 2) NGO for more global understanding. (note: many NGOs in developing countries provide community services, but do so specifically for personal profit, unlike more developed economies where there are functional tax systems and incentives to drive the Non-Profit component. It would be quite a misnomer to thus call some of these organizations non-profits). Indeed difficult to create fair and discreet conceptual bounds. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

That would make it even more confusing. Things that describe the same thing but have different names must be merged. That's one of the most fundamental reasons for merging articles. Just merge NPO into NGO. 17:40, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

No - Agree with previous commenters that NGO is much too widely used in international forums, especially in the formal academic literature, for it to be merged with NPO. NGO should remain a separate article. N2e 01:17, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

No - Non-profit organization connotates something other than Non-governmental organization, especialy in the United States where Non-profit organization has some special legal status. Also Non-governmental organization to many means an international group while Non-profit organization is a domestic group Perhaps a caveat is in order, but both articles should remain their own distinct articles to avoid confusion. Delgado in Color 17:09, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

No - Regardless of what the articles say (I apologize I have not read either in their entirety) they are fundamentally different organizations. Agree with Delgado in Color - the main differentiation between the two is in terms of domestic/international mandates, with NGOs being the latter and NPOs being the former. This is only one distinction anyways - there are others which should be included in the articles.--Gregorof 10:51, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

No - All NGOs are variations on NPOs, but not are NPOs are NGOs. Some may perceive them as the same due to incomplete information but they are not the same. An NPO registered with agencies of state must uphold specific statutory rules to retain its status, its status implies adherence to external statutory governance and makes it domestic to the agency/government it holds status with. An unincorporated and/or unregistered NPO is not responsible for adherence to statutory rule except in criminal matters and therefore is not a subject of governance by any but its own board, officers and/or members. The ability of a third party to interfere in the governance of many NPO's through state bylaws is an important distinction between the broad category of NPOs and the more narrow category of NGOs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

The Merge[edit]

Like what Glen Fergus said, it shouldn't because countries like Australia broadly understand what an NGO than a NPO. Really, I disagree too. --Learnt 11:29, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Having thought about it further, I too disagree with the merge. Sunray 05:50, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Disagree. Non-profit is not the terminology used in other countries. Súmate is an NGO, it is not defined as a non-profit. Sandy 21:45, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Uh...hello? That's not a reason to disagree with a merge. That's only a reason to disagree with the direction of the merge. If the two terms are used to describe the same thing they should be merged. You guys are being really stupid about this if that's your only qualm with the merge. Very strongly support. 17:36, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

"Not For Profit" has a distinct purpose in its name, that is that the people involved in the “Not-For-Profit” or NPO organization cannot use it to make personal financial gain. This is very different from the term "Non Govermental Organinzation" or NGO - which means not involved with the govermental. In many cases NPOs are involved with the goverement, ie. receiving grants from the goverment like Canada'a CIDA grants. NGOs do not receive funding from goverments ( a big defference). The two terms are functional. The point here is that you can be a NPO and not a NGO and vice versa. They are not the same thing and thus should not be merged. I personally founded a NGO and a NPO. Both organizations are distinct entities, one receives funding from the goverment and the other does not. The NGO is not even register with the goverment as this would make it a something other than a NGO. I argue that the term "Nonprofit" or NPO functions to diferentitate itself from the private sector (it doesn't need to diferentiate from the goverment/state as this is not its purpose - many NPOs are govermentally funded as stated before). Please remove the merge tag, it is only there because the terms are used loosely by those who do not know there definitions. Look in any accoungting 101 textbook, it clearly defines the two terms differently. Please don't confuse the rest of the world because you are. I strongly disagree. If you are so intent on the idea of a third sector page make one. I suggest if there is there is no more support for the merge than we cut it in 1 month time. Tomorrow 07:58, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I agree with a merge. One article could get very confusing in trying to sort out all the differences. There is definitely a lot of overlap that is poorly managed at the moment. One of the problems is that, although there is broad correlation around the world between NGO, NPO, Voluntary Sector, 3rd sector and even social entrepreneurship organizations, there's also a lot of nuance to the categorizations and some very different understandings in different cultures. I think it would be better to have a separate article that discusses this sector in a broad, global manner. Then have smaller articles about the various different classes of organization (probably distinguished in part by geography) and different countries' approaches to the sector. --SiobhanHansa 08:57, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the points made by Tomorrow and SiobanHansa. NGO and NPO mean different things. NGO means the organisation is not run by the government; NPO means the organisation does not make a profit. Just because some NGOs are also non-profit making does not mean that the two terms are synonymous. Stron gly disagree Bobo12345 07:26, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Strong disagree Just because a poodle is a dog doesn't mean all dogs are poodles. -THB 08:02, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Strongly disagree with merge; in this case, not even all poodles are dogs! "Non-profit" and "NGO" mean two very, very different things in the United States, and from what's been posted above, it sounds like the distinction is there in other countries too. --Quuxplusone 04:59, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Disagree as these are two different terms. ThanksRaveenS 14:23, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Methods - Networking[edit]

Under the "Methods" heading was a section that read:

The International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), founded in 1992, is a global network of more than 72 non-governmental organizations that promote and defend the right to freedom of expression

I removed it because, though IFEX looks like a legitimate example of an NGO, the subsection doesn't explain what the Networking method is. If anyone can succinctly explain it, it would be great to get it back in the article. --Siobhan Hansa 21:11, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Physical attack against NGO workers[edit]

We need a section on this as with this so called war against terrorism, NGO workers have become targets in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Also sometimes government forces are known to attack NGO workers because of perceived or actual issues with neutrality like in Sudan and Sri Lanka (see section2006_Trincomalee_massacres#Massacre_of_NGO_workers. This is an aspect that is missing from this article. Thanks RaveenS 14:16, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The section can then link to this main article Attacks on humanitarian workersRaveenS

Okay, I did that in International Health.Deopressoliber (talk) 03:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC) a reliable source?[edit]

A reference has been put in for the estimate of NGOs in India: "What is an NGO?" The website appears to be a private company set up to provide services to Indian nonprofits. This doesn't make them entirely independent since, though they may need accurate figures, their interests may be best served by publicizing a higher or lower estimate. The estimate on the webpage seems a little less than rigorous to me and a bit editorialized. But it may be the best available and good enough with a minor change to the article text to attribute it to the site. So I guess the question is - does anyone know of this website and what their reputation is in India (or elsewhere) for rigorous NPOV facts about the sector? -- Siobhan Hansa 00:08, 6 January 2007 (UTC)


...where exactly the line is drawn. The article seems to imply that NGOs are bodies that address social and humanitarian problems or plan projects for this purpose; however it is unclear (to me, at any rate) where the division is between such an NGO as it appears is the usual interpretation of the term, and a literally-interpreted NGO such as a for-profit company that addresses the same issues, a company that has nothing to do with social concerns at all, or a terrorist group. All of these can exist without government sanction and can therefore fit the literal definition of NGO, so why is this massively broad term used in what seems like such a narrow context? Forgive me if I am missing something obvious. Leushenko (talk) 20:01, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

YouTube - Have International NGOs Gotten out of Hand? A panel discussion with Professor Richard Falk, Professor Helmut Anheier, President and CEO of Direct Relief International Thomas Tighe, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Foundation Chuck Slosser, and Dean Melvin Oliver discusses the nuances of globalization and civil society actors' role in shaping world order.


Per Wikipedia:NAME#Lowercase second and subsequent words in titles, government should be lower case because this is not a proper noun. It would only be capitalized if Non-Governmental Organization were the formal name of a specific entity. Since it's a description for many entities, the general standard in English is lower case. Cheers, --JayHenry (talk) 03:08, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Are the following undisputably NGO's?[edit]

I'm not clear from this article whether or not there is a consensus definition of an NGO. Would e.g. a non-state-owned busines corporation automatically qualify as a NGO, being non-governmental and some sort of "organisation"?

This may seem as a far-fetched idea, but it is actually caused by the way the term is used in our article List of indices of freedom. In that article (in its present form), exactly six entities are presented as "non-governmental organizations" (without any modification or questions about it, anywhere in the article), namely the following ones:

  1. Freedom House;
  2. The Wall Street Journal;
  3. Heritage Foundation;
  4. Reporters Without Borders;
  5. Fraser Institute; and, finally,
  6. The Economist.

Of these, I personally would classify Reporters Without Borders as a non-governmental organisation without any deliberation. Moreover, while Freedom House is founded by the US government to a very high extent (80% in the last available figures), it is indeed cooperating in a US human rights umbrella organisation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch as other members, which indicates that at least these organisations in some sense recognise Fredom House as a "fellow". However, of the remaining four proposed NGO's, two are news publications, and the remaining two according to the respective WP articles are outspokenly conservative think-tanks. Is there some undisputed consensus behind listing all six as NGO's, or some more "objective reason" (like them all having been admitted as NGO's in well-established context such as the World Social Forum); or should the article List of indices of freedom be modified, in your opinions?-JoergenB (talk) 08:45, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

When the term NGO is used it typically refers to non-profit enterprises, although this doesn't seem to be mentioned in the article, and I'm not sure whether it's technically part of the definition. The Wall Street Journal and the Economist would not normally be considered NGOs for this reason. The others are, I think, non-controversial. There's nothing about NGOs that says they must attempt any sort of neutrality, governmental funding is only an issue if it comes with direct governmental control (such as the right to appoint board members). --JayHenry (talk) 12:43, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I found the non-profit criterion mentioned in some older versions, and some of the footnote URL's; mostly but not always claiming that this indeed was a necessary criterion for a NGO.
I also found a couple of listings of NGO's, by means of the Duke link (and btw I suspect that including this as a "World Bank criterion" site in two references is a mistake; cf "footnote 10"). Freedom House was present both at Duke's own list and at the UN list of NGO's; Heritage Foundation only at the UN list; Fraser Institute at neither; but I guess that doesn't mean very much. So I'll suggest a modification of the presentation of the news publications as NGO's, but leave the others. Thanks!-JoergenB (talk) 21:22, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
As far as indices of freedom go, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal are still good sources, so the article should probably just read "NGOs and news organizations" or something like this. --JayHenry (talk) 22:40, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Al Qaeda[edit]

...meets the definition given of an international NGO. Someone, anyone with actual knowledge of this subject, please either update the definitions, give a clearer explanation of the narrowed, nonliteral meaning of the term, or make mention of the ambiguity of the terminology. Or if you want, justify Al Qaeda and co. as being NGOs, whatever, just clear it up. Leushenko (talk) 18:11, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Then the Italy-based mafia organizations ('Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra etc.) would be NGOs as well. -- Dynam1te3 (talk) 03:23, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Must be big?[edit]

It seems to me that local (municipal and county) governments have NGOs at their disposal in (ultimately) certainly greater number, if not greater dollar amount than international. This doesn't seem reflected in the language except vaguely.

In my area, local governments "voluntarily" fund: the local library, ambulance service, local "wheels for seniors" type transportation, hospice, agency on aging, etc. This BTW is in a very liberal state! The problem is that they are already taxed up to their eyeballs and have to do what they can to hold down taxes which is done through these other agencies which not only have many volunteers but sometimes hold fundraisers, bill clients, bill some other government agency, etc.

So it's not all World Bank stuff in the real world. Student7 (talk) 02:53, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Prior uses[edit]

I'm wondering now if NGO-type status was granted clear back to the middle ages. Knights Hospitaller, SMOM, to name two. (They've had ongoing "discussions" in those articles). It can't have been "just" invented. These organizations didn't want to be shut down by any "mere" nation, which were (anyway) often weak, numerous and unpredictable at the time.

Second question. Do the Knights and SMOM fall under NGO status organizations? How do I go about verifying this? Thanks. Student7 (talk) 11:25, 21 June 2008 (UTC)


"Furthermore it has often been argued that USAID is in fact a key arm of American imperialism and that it sets up and supports NGOs in order to further imperial agendas."

This statement seems rather vague and against the NPOV policy. There is a citation, but it is hard to elaborate without actually digging up that paper. I am not saying I either agree or disagree with it, just that it is out-of-place. Perhaps this is best left for the section in USAID

Evaders99 (talk) 09:17, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Non-governmental organization is type of Civil Society Organization (CSO)?[edit]

On we can find "Examples of civil society institutions", and Non-governmental organizations (NGO's) is one of them.

On this page (Non-governmental organization: we find that a CSO is a type of NGO.

First of all this information is conflictual, and second; I would argue that an NGO is a type of CSO, as CSO is a much broader term.

I suggest changing the article, but I first wanted to start a conversation here.

What do you think?

Pietradelmundo (talk) 20:17, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

That's a worry. And for all the discussion higher on this talk page about NPOs and NGOs being different, I'm still not clear what the differences are... --Chriswaterguy talk 13:22, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
The original intent was to document international groups who were NPOs by terming them NGOs.
But in an area in which I live, we have NPOs performing governmental-type work, social services, ambulances, etc. They are not owned nor run by the government, but various local governments "contribute" to them; they qualify for government grants. It seems frivolous to call them NPOs; they seem beyond that somehow. Student7 (talk) 14:01, 3 November 2010 (UTC)


This article needs a lot more references. Sekwanele 2 (talk) 12:21, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Language variant[edit]

We need a language variant banner on this page. I'm usually pretty good (and pretty neutral) about researching these things, but I am totally flummoxed by the antecedents, made mostly by IPs (!) and only trivial updates by later registered editors. Anybody else feeling neutral? Student7 (talk) 20:14, 23 April 2011 (UTC)


This section needs better references. The Stuart Becker citation [37] does not link to the direct article, which can actually be found at Elliewks (talk) 01:11, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Fixed the broken ref. Dawnseeker2000 01:23, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Number of Currently Operating NGOs[edit]

The number for currently operating NGOs is listed as 40,000, but that number is from 2001. Does anyone have a more recent figure? (talk) 15:43, 3 July 2012 (UTC)Todd

"The number of Nationally operating NGOs is estimated at 40,000" - Actually, I'd like to know which nation was meant here. Luckily, most of the article seems to be written from somewhat wider perspective, not relying on the contrast between an anonymous "us/normal people/nationals" and "them/foreigners/internationals". --Oop (talk) 10:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)


NGO is not an acronym. It is an abbreviation. QUANGO is an acronym.

OECD definition[edit]

According to Jdforrester, OECD has a definition for NGO, but it may be hidden in some paywalled document. Seems worth including, especially as from hearsay it doesn't match the legal definition of e.g. Italy. --Nemo 16:56, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Problems of definition[edit]

I know I'm not the first person to observe this, but a fundamental problem with this article is the difference between how the term 'non-governmental organization' is defined and how it is actually used. Strictly speaking, it theoretically refers to any organization independent of government, as the name suggests, and is sometimes used in that broad sense. But it is commonly used in a narrower sense (as in the 'Critiques' section of this article) to specifically describe Western-based development organizations operating in the 'Third World'.

This article uses it in both senses, making it at times a bit contradictory: for example, it notes that 'the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign in South Africa have sometimes refused to work with NGOs arguing that this will compromise their autonomy', but by the broad definition the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is itself an NGO.

I don't have any solutions here - the problem is with the English language and how words and phrases change meaning over time, as 'NGO' has. But maybe there's something we can do to make this article clearer for those unfamiliar with the subject. Robofish (talk) 22:56, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Types - What is a GRO?[edit]

Although "NGO" is defined, "GRO" is not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Latvian Prime Minister[edit]

The photo seems a rather strange one to illustrate the topic. Can anyone find something better? Agricmarketing (talk) 09:31, 20 July 2014 (UTC))