Are you thinking of starting your own NGO in Ghana and you’re looking for a guide that will direct you on the right steps to take? If you are, then you should continue reading.
If you are enthusiastic about doing something meaningful and helping the less privileged, then starting an NGO is the best thing to do.
What is an NGO?
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are non-profit organizations that offer specific benefits to the general public. These organizations do not generate revenue or charge for their services, thus staffs are usually volunteers who are interested in helping the less privileged and unemployed.
NGOs get their funding through grants and donations. These donations could be from individuals, the government or from other organizations. Examples of global NGOs include the Red Cross and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAIDS). NGOs in Ghana include
- Develop Youth Ghana
- Disaster Volunteers of Ghana (DIVOG)
- Doctors for Right to Health
- DWIB Leukaemia Trust
- Emerge Kids in Sports
- Families Of Today For Tomorrow
- Father Care Humanitarian Foundation
- Ghana Life Savers Organization
- Ghana National Deaf Children’s Society (GNDCS)
- Ghana Twins Foundation
- Ghanaian Women’s Association of Georgia
- Girls Advocacy Foundation, Ghana
- Health Allies Foundation
How to Start an NGO in Ghana
There are already hundreds of NGOs in Ghana with hundreds more being started every year. However, only a few of these NGOs make it past five years. This is because most activists and newbies who start their organizations do so without first testing the waters.
Before you start yours, consider joining an NGO similar to the one you plan to own. That way you can really decide if you want to own an NGO.
Make A Plan
Your plan should include the problems you want your NGO to address and how you want it to address the problems. If you want to start an NGO to focuses on girl child education, or one that stands against domestic violence, you should also provide solutions to the underlying problems.
Build A Website
Building a website is a way to attract volunteers and secure funding for your NGO. It also gives the organization a professional appearance and helps spread the word to the people you trying to help through your organization.
NGOs are required to be registered in Ghana. Being registered makes your NGO look more legitimate and professional. Below are the steps to registering an NGO in Ghana.
1. Pick a company name
Choose the name you will like your NGO to be called. After settling for a name, search the Registrar General’s Department database to see if that name has been taken or if it is identical to any other name.
2. Get your Tax Identification Number
You will be required to provide the TIN of the members of your organization. You can easily get this document by signing up for one.
3. Get and Complete the Company Limited Guarantee Form
This form is reserved for businesses registering as NGOs. You can get this form from the Registrar General’s Department website.
4. Submit the Forms
Once completed, you will have to submit the forms at the office of the Registrar General Department. You will also have to pay an official fee (paid in cash) of GH₵270.
If successful, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation, Form 3, Certificate of Commencement, and the Company’s Regulations.
All NGOs are required to register with the Department of Social Welfare before they can commence business in Ghana. To get licensed, you will have to submit five copies of each of the following documents to the Assembly (district office) within the District where the NGO is located.
The documents include
- Certificates of incorporation and commencement of business
- The application letter (should be on the organization’s official letterhead)
- The constitution of the organization
- An NGO profile form
- Memorandum of understanding between the NGO and the Government
- Articles of incorporation from the country of origin
- A social investigation report
- A letter of recommendation from the district, municipal or metropolitan assembly within the area where the NGO is to be located
- Publication or brochure about your organization
These documents will be evaluated, thereafter, the district office will send a letter of endorsement to the department of social welfare. If successful, you will be allowed to run your NGO.
The cost of registering your NGO with the Department of Social Welfare is GH₵1,200
Funding usually comes from donations and grants. In most NGOs, funding is required to do a lot of things. However, trying to get funds for your NGO should not steer you away from the goal you are trying to achieve.
Most NGOs try to minimize the need for funds by making the most out of what they have.
To get donations, you can make requests to businesses, grant foundations, individuals, and governments. You can also set up gofundme accounts and request that people donate for a meaningful course.
It is important that you work with other NGOs, that is, if you want your NGO to stand the test of time. You can also get established NGOs to accept you under their umbrella. This helps you to reach more people, get better funding, and touch more lives.
Connecting with people doing something similar makes it easier to get volunteers for your NGO.
Balance It Up
Working for an NGO first should help you understand how to balance your personal life and work. When you’re running your own organization, it is easy for you to get sucked in and completely ignore your personal life.
You should always take a step back and re-evaluate everything as it will do you good to help people continuously than to stop after a few years due to burnout or a breakdown.
Always take time to check just how much you’re impacting the lives of people and if the impact is positive and if it remains positive as time goes on.
The more people you help, the more your NGO grows, and the more recognition it gets.