How can I start my own NGO? Do you plan to register an NGO in South Africa in 2021 and have no clue on how to go about the process? This article breaks the process into bits and deciphers compound details about the process. It also gives pointers on how to increase your chances of having a successful procedure.
Before delving into details, what is an NGO? Non-governmental Organizations are corporations that legal people like incorporated companies legally constitute. NGOs run independently, and the government does not fund their operations. Section 1 of the NPO Act gives directions on how to register an NGO in South Africa and its jurisdictions.
Types of NGOs in South Africa
There are different types of non-governmental organizations. Each one of them has a specified mandate and jurisdiction. Types of non-governmental organizations in South Africa include,
- Non-Profit Organization in terms of the NPO Act of 1997
- Community-based organizations (CBOs)
- Faith-based organizations (FBOs)
- Organizations that have registered as Non-Profit Company (NPC) under the Company Act 61 of 1973
- Trusts that have registered with Master of the High Court under the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988
- Any other voluntary association or also referred to as "associations of persons"
- Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) in terms of the Income Tax Act
How do I set up an NGO?
If your dream is to start your NGO in South Africa, you should understand that it is never a bad thing to do at all. After all, what makes society a better place is when everyone contributes their quota to improve its standard. Check out the steps you should take to actualize your dream below:
1. Define your goal
Before you start thinking of registering your NGO, the first step you have to settle is determining what the NGO will stand or be known for. What exactly do you hope to achieve once you start the organization? The mission should be clear enough to help you make the right decisions and ensure you are on the right path.
2. Carefully choose your board of Directors/members
Carefully selecting the management of the NGO is a fundamental step. It is prudent to bring like-minded people on board. It would be better to get people from different career spectrums who could chip in during different situations.
3. Draft your memorandum
These are very important as they prove your intention to register the organization as a not-for-profit company. Then, information about how the organization would be governed, owned, and others would be contained therein.
4. Formalize everything by registering
After establishing the name of the NGO, its objectives and goals, you can proceed to register it. Registration means it can legally operate in South Africa.
How do I start an NGO in South Africa?
Section 1 of the NPO Act requires that every non-profit organization be registered for the following reasons,
- To help the organization with tax incentives.
- To allow the organization to open a bank account.
- To improve the organization's credibility and funding opportunities.
The first step of registering an NGO is ensuring you have the following documents,
1. A Trust Deed (a written agreement used by trusts) if the organization is a Trust
You are expected to carry an authorization letter from your trustees for a trust.
2. A Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) if the organization is registered as an NPC
These are very important as they serve as proof of your intention to register the organization as a not-for-profit company. Then, information about how the organization would be governed, owned and others would be contained therein.
3. A constitution if the organization is a Voluntary Association.
- The main and supporting objectives of the organization
- A declaration that the organization's income and property cannot be distributed to the office bearers or members except for some form of compensation for whatever service(s) that anyone renders.
- Organizational structure, power and details on how the organization will be governed
- Details on how meetings will be conducted and the quorum that should be met while conducting meetings
- Criteria for making decisions and procedures for conducting financial transactions
- Procedure and criteria for changing the constitution and procedure for dissolving the NGO
- You also need to declare the need for the organization's continued existence even when the membership or office bearers are recomposed.
- Explain that no member or person holding an office has personal rights to the organization's assets or property because such is a member or holding an office.
How do I register an NGO in South Africa Online?
With the prerequisite documents, you can proceed to register an NGO online. The process is free, and it involves filling in an online NPO application form 2021. The NPO form will require you to fill in the organization's name, type, contact person, financial period, postal address, official telephone number and email.
After filling in the details, you will be required to submit the form and documents via email or post them to this postal address,
Directorate for Nonprofit Organizations,
Private Bag x901,
If not, you could hand-deliver them to this location,
Department of Social Development,
134 Pretorius Street,
It may take up to two months for the Department of Social Development to get back to you and update you on the status of your NGO registration in South Africa. If your registration goes through, the Department of Social Development will send you an acknowledgement letter. If your application meets the requirements of the Nonprofit Organizations Act, 1997, you will receive a registration certificate. Possession of the certificate accredits you to solicit funds to run the organization.
Once your NGO is registered, the Department of Social Development requires you to submit its annual report nine months after the end of its financial year. The report should contain a financial report and a narrative report.
If you were worried about how to register an NGO in South Africa in 2021, these details must have put your worries to rest. It is a criminal offence to run an NGO illegally in South Africa. Therefore, if your registration is rejected, you can appeal to the panel arbitrators. Nonetheless, while registering, you ought to be careful to ensure you meet the set criteria and present the required documents. The information in the above article will make things easier for you.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!