NGOs are diverse entities and their features are mostly shaped by the socio-economic, cultural, political and legal situation of a country. However, generally speaking, we can list out the following features that are common among NGOs in most of the countries around the world.
- Non-Profit in functioning: An NGO is not meant for making profit for personal gain. In case a NGO conducts some revenue generating activity, the profit earned should not be distributed amongst the board members, instead it should be used for expanding NGO activities further.
- Values: An NGO should address a social, cultural, economic or political cause and should work towards public good.
- Voluntary: NGOs are voluntary associations. They have been formed by a group of like-minded volunteers who have come together to address a common issue.
- Legally registered: Although there may be unregistered NGOs working for a cause, it is mandatory in most countries to get an NGO legally registered. Besides, only legally registered NGOs can access formal donations.
- Non-criminal: NGOs do not indulge in anti-social and criminal activities.