How to register an NGO

Starting an NGO is very similar to starting any business. Once you know all the process involved, you can build it up from scratch by yourself.

  • Select a name and cause
  • Form the board for your NGO
  • Types of NGOs
  • Acts & Registrations to remember

Select a name and cause

Most important step in starting an NGO is to define the cause that you would like to work for. Education, Healthcare, Gender equality & women empowerment, environment & ecology, reducing child mortality & improving maternal health,skill development & rural development are some of the areas where NGOs work towards bringing the change. Once you define the cause that your NGO will be working on, finalise on a name that resonates with your cause and something that is unique.

Form the board for your NGO

The next step after you select a cause and name for your NGO is to set up a board for your NGO. The board usually consists of directors and working members. Apart from this, you would also need advisors to guide you with finances, legal advice etc.

Types of NGOs

There are 3 types of NGOs in India,

  • Trust
  • Society
  • Section 8 company


Public trust

Public trusts can be created for public charitable purposes. There is no All India Level Act for setting up public charitable trusts. Some states have enacted the Public trust acts.

Private trust

A private trust, created under and governed by the Indian Trusts Act of 1882, aims at managing assigned trust properties for private or religious purpose. A private trust does not enjoy the privileges and tax benefits that are available for public trusts or NGOs.


A society is an entity that can be created by a group of individuals united in their cause for promoting science, arts, literature, social welfare and useful information. Societies are governed by the Societies Registration Act, 1860. They must be registered with the respective state Registrar of Societies to be eligible for tax exemption.

Section 8 Company

A Section 8 company is registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for charitable purpose. It is an enterprise formed with a commercial, social, charitable or any other such objective and intends to apply its profits for promoting such objectives.

Acts & Registrations to remember

NGOs are legally required to register & follow guidelines under various acts. We have listed the required documents & registrations here for you,

  • PAN card
  • Registration under section 12A of the Income Tax Act
  • Registration under section 80G of the Income Tax Act
  • FCRA Registration
  • TAN Registration
  • GST Registration
  • Professional Tax
  • Retirement Benefit
  • Shops and Establishment License

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