NGO and IGO: Things you need to know

calendar14 Jul, 2020
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes

There is a general misconception among the people that NGO and IGO are identical entities. This blog will address this area of concern and shows key differences between these two entities. So, before we dive into the main topic i.e NGO Vs IGO, let’s start the proceeding with the basics.

  • NGO stands for Non-Governmental Organization
  • IGO stands for inter-Governmental Organization

NGO Vs IGO: What is the key difference?

NGO serves underprivileged personal that are either not getting basic amenities or seeking prompt financial aid to cater to a mishap w.r.t health or other matters. IGO, on the contrary, serves a different concept altogether. IGO is formed by the collective effort of three or more countries to address mayhem, such as a pandemic, loss caused by natural disasters, and international conflicts.


NGO (Non-Governmental Organization): Key points to remember

  • As the name suggests, NGOs are free from any government control, and neither have they worked under the private sector.
  • NGOs focus on creating a better lifestyle for the ones who needed the most. They prioritize community and people instead of money and power.
  • NGOs can work within the region or cross border. Today’s approximately 40,000 NGOs are alive globally, working for the sake of others.
  • Since NGOs recognized as non-profit entities, they allocate the surplus fund back into their work. That means the money generated over time will not benefit the core members or donors. NGO’s are not established to reap monetary benefits whatsoever. Their motive is to support the help seeker and create a friendly environment amid chaos.
  • NGO’s workforce volunteers to aid the development and ensure smooth operation by putting their 100% efforts. Anybody who wishes to be a part of an NGO can join it voluntarily. All NGO’s help needy people and works on the universal principle of humanity.
  • There are plenty of platforms through which NGOs are funded, such as government, corporate, small, and large donors. Anyone can donate to NGOs regardless of their monetary status.
  • NGOs generally address healthcare, child mortality, livelihood, emergency response, education, water & sanitation.
  • Being an autonomous entity NGO discourages religious, political, or military viewpoints.
  • NGOs don’t work under the influence of governments or partner with armed forces. Impartiality is one of the key assets of NGOs, which makes it work transparent and highly credible.
  • NGOs disregard any connection with armed forces. They don’t allow their volunteers to secure any ammunition from troops from a security viewpoint. Also, they discourage any conversation with the military. NGOs establish peace and avert conflicts.
  • NGOs secure the rights of the people. NGOs are representative of civil society that help those in need.

Read our article:A guide on Legal Compliance for NGOs in India

NGO and IGO: Things in common

NGO and IGO Things in common

Inter-governmental organizations (IGOs): Key points to remember

Generally speaking, IGOs are set up by their membership and purpose. For instance, the United Nations, aka UN is recognized as a global organization because all countries have permission to secure its membership. Currently, there are 192 member states in the United Nations[1].

  • Some IGOs are region-based and have a state-wise membership limitation within the designated regions.
  • Some IGOs are serving as selective organizations that address a specific group of people as a criterion. For example, The Organization of the Islamic Conference confined its membership around religious affiliation. On the contrary, the IGOs like OPEC bases its membership on oil-producing countries.
  • IGOs like NATO, is focusing on a limited area of scope. Generally, different IGOs serve different purposes.
  • IGOs are entirely different from NGOs in all aspects. IGOs received their capital aid from its members; meanwhile, NGOs are funded by various private sources.
  • As far as the establishment is concerned, NGOs are generally formed by two or more individuals, whereas states form IGOs. NGOs work as entirely independent entities, while IGO’s have some legal burden in this regard. 
  • IGOs can target different areas of concern, whether regionally or globally. IGOs can seldom work beyond the scope of states that create them. However, IGOs can’t be considered as an alternative to government.
  • They try to combat complex interrelationships, political conflicts, economic disputes via promoting cooperation with other actors, particularly governments. To this end, their working protocols have gone beyond the scope of governmental sovereignty.
  • The IGOs charter has clear cut provisions for critical areas such as structures, principles, and decision-making processes.
  • Member states seldom utilize the IGOs’ decision-making processes for the creation of other rules.
  • IGOs can gather, examine, and distribute information to the state’s members. The actions can enhance the quality of data that the state obtained and keep states in regular contact with each other, thus increasing the transparency and authenticity within the system.
  • The advent of cutting-edge technology and high-speed data ensures seamless & faster inter-connectivity. Cross border traveling is now cheaper and more comfortable. Consequently, the communication between state and non-state actors has now become more consistent and smooth.
  •  IGOs seldom used to smoothen the progress of interactions between non-governmental and government actors, led to the creation of transnational networks.
  • IGOs create possibilities for their state members and impose limits on the policies and the methods that use for their creation.
  • In democratic societies, norms created by IGOs can be exercised by domestic groups to develop relevant changes in the national policies.
  • IGOs may use as an instrument for the creation and sustaining international cooperation.


IGO and NGO are two separate entities. NGO is creating value on the front of humanity and peace. Whereas IGO’s are more into resolving critical matters that occur on a global scale. Both NGO and IGO can operate in different verticals and serve different purposes. If you are one of those who are trying to get into NGO related work, then you need an NGO registration. If you are a newbie in this regard, then it’s recommended going for expert advice. Do not forget to drop your queries in case if need some clarification in the context of NGO Vs IGO.

Read our article: Civil society and NGOs: Things you need to know

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