About Non-governmental Organizations
Non-governmental organizations are organizations that promote awareness of humanitarian and social causes. They can operate at the local, national or global level. They may be financed by government funding, private donations, or sales of goods and services. NGOs often play a significant role in domestic politics. The political role of NGOs varies from country to country and from issue to issue. Some NGOs work closely with governments. Others are more independent, working locally, nationally, or globally. NGOs may have a strong central authority or a loose federal arrangement.
In countries under a dictatorship or a communist regime, NGOs have become more representative of society as a whole. In democratic societies, however, they are often less representative. NGOs are sometimes confused with social movements. A social movement is a group of individuals, ranging from a small group of activists to a mass movement, who work together to affect social change. A social movement is characterized as dynamic, innovative, and non-hierarchical.
NGOs can be distinguished from social movements by the manner in which they are structured. A social movement often has a national or global focus, while NGOs are usually focused on a particular issue. An NGO is usually a membership organization.