Frequently Asked Questions: Starting an NGO

Q: How can I start my own NGO?

Click here for instructions on how to start an NGO.

Q: What is a Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors sets the policies and strategies for the NGO. It often includes the founders of the organization. A Board of Directors may also be called the Steering Committee, the Advisory Group, Board of Trustees, etc.

Q: What is the minimum number of Directors?

The number of Directors must not be less than 5, and not more than 15. All Directors must be of legal age.

Q: Director, Trustee, Incorporator — are they all the same?

An incorporator is the NGO’s version of a film producer. The incorporator, or founder, organizes the NGO, elects the first Board of Directors, and submits the Articles of Incorporation.

Once the NGO is registered, the Board of Directors begins to manage/direct the affairs of the organization. Incorporators usually join the Board of Directors.

The terms ‘Director’ and ‘Trustee’ are often interchanged; however, ‘Trustee’ gives a more charitable impression.

Q: Why is it necessary to have a Board of Directors?

Directors provide guidance and much needed advice. The Board can develop plans, handle policy issues, etc. Selecting Board members from your community can also bring greater awareness. (e-myth). The Board is also said to be the conscience of the organization.

Q: What is a VMG statement?

A VMG statement is the vision, mission, and goals of your NGO. It is the guiding principle of the organization. Every decision, project, or even bylaw must serve the purpose of the organization. If you need help to write your VMG statement, click here.

Q: Is it required that I put the word ‘Foundation’ in my NGO name?

Not Necessarily

Q: What are Articles of Incorporation?

The Articles of Incorporation are the primary corporate document of your NGO. They contain basic information, the list of incorporators and Directors, and other policies. CLICK HERE to see a sample on how and what goes into the Articles of Incorporation

Q: What are Bylaws?

The bylaws are your NGO’s operating manual or handbook. This includes all your rules and procedures – about important decision-making, attendance, elections, and appointment of officers, etc. CLICK HERE to see a sample on how and what goes into the By-Laws.

Q: What are Minutes of the Meeting?

The Minutes of the Meeting refers to the record of a meeting. The first meeting with the Board of Directors is often called the organizational meeting and the Minutes must be recorded.