NGO, Trust & Society

SMCA non profit organizations can be registered in India as a Society, under the Registrar of Societies or as a Trust, by making a Trust deed. A third option is registration as a section-8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013..

  1. Lay down the issues that your NGO wants to address, and identify the mission and vision..

  2. Before registering the organization, you need to have a governing body in place, which will be responsible for all activities of the organization. The governing body will be involved in all matters of strategic relevance, including financial management.

  3. Every NGO in India is legally required to document a trust deed/ Memorandum of Understanding/Bylaws that contain the name and address of the NGO, mission and objectives, details of governing body members, rules and regulations.

  4. In India, you may register an NGO under any of the following Acts:

    • * Indian Trusts Act: A Charitable Trust is not legally obliged to obtain registration; unless the Trust wants to claim income tax exemptions or is based in a state that is governed by the Public Trusts Act, such as Maharashtra.

    • * Societies Registration Act: A society can be formed by a group of seven or more people. Its formation is more complicated than that of a trust, but it also affords more flexibility in terms of regulations.

    • * Companies Act: An association that is formed for the promotion of art, science, commerce, religion or charity can be registered as a company but its members cannot be paid a dividend. All profits should be utilized for furthering the objectives of the company.

  5. Raise funds through internal sources (membership fees, subscription charges, donations, etc.) or grants-in-aid from the Government, private organizations or foreign sources. Inflow of foreign funds is governed by the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 1976. Many NGOs are eligible for tax exemptions - be sure to check your eligibility status and file your application if the exemption applies to you.