What is the definition of an NGO? Check out the Functions, Characteristics, and Purpose

Understanding NGOs – In a community that wants to help the economy of the middle to lower class or become a forum for anyone who wants to channel their activities to creative ideas that are family-friendly, we will know what an NGO is, namely a Non-Governmental Organization.

The existence of NGOs also helps when a disaster occurs, whether it befalls their members or the general public who need help. NGO itself is a non-governmental organization established with the intention of obtaining benefits from the activities they carry out together.

NGOs also participated in voicing a number of social issues or their criticism of the government or any institution. For this reason, it is very important for Sinaumed’s friends to know what an NGO is and its functions, characteristics, types and purposes which can be additional insight for Sinaumed’s friends at home.

You can see further discussion about the meaning of NGOs below!

Definition of NGO

Non-Governmental Organizations can be interpreted as organizations/institutions established by members of the public who are citizens of the Republic of Indonesia, voluntarily on their own accord and with full interest, and participate in certain activities determined by the organization/institution as a form of community participation to increase standard of living and social welfare, with an emphasis on self-help.

It should be noted that NGOs are also organizations founded by individuals or groups of people who provide services to the community voluntarily and without profit. Therefore, the formation of this NGO is based on voluntary work without the hope of getting big profits.

NGOs work not only voluntarily, but also based on Pancasila principles. This is of course because Indonesia is the home and development of NGOs that support Pancasila. Of course, the Pancasila precepts are always applied in all activities of non-governmental organizations in the life of society, nation and state.

In society, non-governmental organizations/organizations have grown and developed as a gathering place for Indonesian citizens who become volunteers or are declared non-governmental organizations. The term non-governmental organizations was first recognized in Law Number 4 of 1982 concerning

Main Provisions for Environmental Management and related to environmental issues.

After that, NGOs have areas of action in their development that are not limited to the environment but include other areas of interest to improve living standards and social welfare both mentally and physically.

On the one hand, the existence and freedom of participation and development for the benefit of society and the state requires a conducive climate that encourages enthusiasm, creativity and community dynamics in all fields, so that non-governmental organizations can develop independently and voluntarily. Therefore, NGOs should be promoted as government partners who provide guidance, protection and encouragement.

Non-governmental organizations which are commonly abbreviated as non-governmental organizations are also referred to as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indonesia. Internationally, this institution is referred to as a non-governmental organization (NGO). According to a 1998 UN report, there are 29,000 international non-governmental organizations, most of which were founded in the last 30 years. The existence of non-governmental organizations has its own history and background, depending on the form of the institution.

NGO function

Based on Regional Regulation no. 13 of 2006 concerning Communities and Community Institutions states that “The definition of Community Empowerment Institutions, hereinafter abbreviated as (LPM) is an institution, organization or forum formed on the initiative of the community as a partner of the district government in fulfilling and realizing community aspirations and needs in the field of development.

Before it was called the Community Empowerment Institute, it used to be called the Village Community Rehabilitation Institute (LKMD). The main objective of the establishment of this organization is to strengthen community initiatives and self-help in implementing participatory development programs. In this case, community participation developed through LPPM includes planning and monitoring of development implementation at the sub-district level.

1. Duties and functions of community empowerment institutions

According to the Regulation of the Minister of Home Affairs Number 5 of 2007 concerning Guidelines for the Arrangement of Social Institutions, it is clearly stated that the function of village community empowerment institutions as referred to in Article 2 paragraph (1) is their responsibility. to assist the Lurah in community and community development and empowerment work. The Community Empowerment Agency to carry out the functions referred to in Article 3 paragraph (1) and paragraph (2) has the following duties and functions:

  • MISSION OF NON-governmental Organizations
  • Develop participatory development plans.
  • Mobilize community support.
  • Development implementation and management
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Next, Bastian summarizes Ismail Haddad’s comments on the role of NGOs according to their functions, namely:

2. Provide motivation

The function of NGOs is to motivate, explore potential, develop and expand people’s awareness of the problems they face and their environment;

3. As a Communicator

The function of NGOs is also to act as a communicator, observing, recording and channeling the aspirations and needs of the community to be used as a reference in the process of formulating policies and planning development programs as well as monitoring the development process.

Carry out community development policies and programs, and explain to the community about development programs in a language that the community can understand, and establish partnerships between NGOs that have the same interests and goals;

4. Strategy and Innovation Developer

As a developer of various strategies and innovations, as well as managing an organization that is not well known in the community;

5. As a Facilitator

Acting as a facilitator, namely providing various technical assistance in program implementation, such as funding, working capital, equipment, etc., according to the needs of the community.

NGO Characteristics

In order to get to know these NGOs well, it is first necessary to know the characteristics of these NGOs. So, here are the characteristics of an NGO that you need to know.

  • NGOs are not government, bureaucratic or state organizations.
  • Not all activities organized by NGOs are aimed at achieving certain benefits.
  • All activities and activities organized by NGOs are solely for the benefit of the community and not for the personal interests of NGO members.
  • The legal basis is in Law no. 16 of 2001 on the basis.

Objectives NGO Established

NGOs promote their cause by carrying out activities such as advocacy and voicing issues. For example, they lobby and persuade the public to pay more attention to the issues they are trying to address, such as gender inequality and wildlife protection. On the other hand, they also try to persuade, request or pressure the government to act on the issues they raise.

As well as advocacy and awareness raising, they can also provide services such as legal aid and counseling to assist those in legal, economic or social difficulties. They can also provide microfinance or help lift households out of poverty by encouraging them to become small entrepreneurs.

Although independent from the government, some NGO work can also support government efforts, for example related to development, education, health and humanitarian programs. In addition, they help the government successfully implement these programs, at least by providing constructive criticism.

John Clark describes the characteristics of NGOs in terms of realizing their goals as follows:

  • Serving the needy and poor groups
  • Encouraging open public participation in the policy implementation process
  • Develop useful initiatives and solve problems. Sometimes these innovations raise objections to government policies.
  • Implementation programs are small in scale to make it easier to track and measure precise results and objectives.
  • There is high employee engagement when they carry broad values ​​and beliefs about the social change mission.

Kinds of NGOs

NGOs cover a wide range of activities. So there are several types. But, what is certain is that they are independent from the government.

1. Blood donation organization

Non-governmental blood donation organizations are non-governmental organizations whose aim is to provide financial and proportionate support related to donating blood to others. Examples of these NGOs are: PMI

2. Professional organization

An NGO in the form of a professional organization is a non-governmental organization that carries out activities based on skills and expertise in certain fields, such as the health sector, the press and legal aid.

3. Opposition organizations

Opposition NGOs are NGOs that carry out activities by choosing to balance government policies, for example by providing criticism, suggestions, and involvement related to monitoring the continuity of the government.

Types of NGOs can be classified according to their directions:

  • Charity – for example, helping or meeting the needs of the less fortunate with little or no active involvement.
  • Empowerment – ​​for example, helping the poor by actively pulling them out of poverty through designed programs, such as developing home businesses.
  • Services – providing essential public services such as health care and education.

Another classification based on the field of activity, can be based on:

  • Community – serves a specific population within a narrow geographic area of ​​a country.
  • National – operate and provide services with national coverage.
  • International – operate internationally, cover more than one country, usually based in developed countries.
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Then, depending on the objective, the NGO can:

  • NGO Advocacy – aims to influence policy or practice to defend or promote a particular cause.
  • Active non-governmental organization – aims to design and implement projects to provide services.

What is an international NGO?

International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are non-governmental organizations that have an international scope.

They are not formed by agreements between governments like other international bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO). The following are examples of international NGOs:

  • Junior Achievement – ​​focuses on education by equipping students with academic programs related to financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.
  • Human Rights Watch – conducts human rights research and advocacy, and urges all parties to respect human rights by pressuring governments, businesses and policy makers to condemn human rights abuses.
  • Amnesty International – an international human rights NGO and advocate for the rights of women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples; End torture, abolish death penalty and refugee rights. The main target is the government.
  • Greenpeace – an international NGO specializing in environmental issues. It advocates for environmental issues and develops solutions for Earth’s sustainability, including voices on climate change, biodiversity, eco-friendly economic activities, and quantity of renewable energy.

NGO example

To perfect your knowledge of NGOs, it’s a good idea to listen to some examples of NGOs, including the following.


The first example of an NGO is YLBHI which stands for Legal Aid Indonesia which is an NGO that provides legal assistance to people in need.

2. Contrast

Kontras or the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence is a non-governmental organization that helps victims of violence and those who are considered missing.

3. Elsam

Elsam or the Community Research and Advocacy Institute is a non-governmental organization that provides advocacy and related research support to people in need.


PBHI or the Indonesian Association of Legal Aid and Human Rights is one example of an NGO in Indonesia that focuses on providing legal assistance to people who have experienced violence or have been victims of violence, some crimes.

Information about NGOs or non-governmental organizations can provide insight and knowledge for those of you, especially those who are looking for all information about NGOs

NGO Funding Sources

Donations are generally the main source of funding for NGOs. Other sources are membership fees or sales of goods and services. Donors can come from charities, private non-profit organizations, local organizations, international organizations and private donations. The latter usually represent a significant portion of NGO funding.

However, although they are called NGOs, i.e. independent from the government, some NGOs also depend on government grants, such as Oxfam, an NGO that works to reduce equality of grievances to end poverty and injustice.

As not-for-profit organizations, NGOs rely on a variety of funding sources, including:

  • Membership fee
  • Personal Contribution
  • selling goods and services
  • allowance

Although independent from the government, some NGOs rely heavily on public funding. Some large NGOs may have multi-million or billion-dollar budgets. On the other hand, start-up NGOs will have very little funding.

How Important is the Role of NGOs?

Why are there so many NGOs? As the world becomes more global and technology makes communication easier, more and more people are becoming aware of issues affecting others.

At the same time, people are losing faith in government institutions and their ability to meet people’s needs, both at home and around the world. More NGOs is a natural result. There are tens of thousands of NGOs operating today, but are they really helping? A number of NGOs have certainly received negative press in recent years, challenging the idea that these organizations have better aims.

But overall, it appears that NGOs are making a big positive difference. While not perfect, NGOs are very important and vehicles for positive change.


This is a brief discussion of the definition of an NGO. The discussion this time does not only discuss the definition of an NGO, but also discusses further how the functions, characteristics, types, and examples of these NGOs can be studied carefully.

Understanding the meaning of NGOs gives us additional knowledge about the various social institutions that exist in society in Indonesia as well as on an international scale which have a positive purpose and can help people without discrimination or looking at the existing social strata.