Things to Know About NGOs

Definition: Direct, point-driven explanation of NGOs by a concise Wikipedia editor:
“A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business.”  More here.

Top NGOs: According to, a well-respected chronicler of NGOs, of the top 100 NGOs in the world, “The USA still leads in sheer number of ranked NGOs with 26% of the 2015 rankings. Within the top ten are the Acumen Fund (#4), Partners In Health (#7), and World Vision (#10). 38 USA organizations rank in the top 100, including Ceres, Landesa, One Acre Fund, Cure Violence, Ashoka, Mercy Corps, Room to Read, Root Capital, Rare, Care and the Open Society. A total of 131 of USA organizations appear in the rankings overall.” A list of the top 500 NGOs in the world can be purchased here.

Detailed travel compliance and related guidelines for NGOs: Source website,, funded by USAID.

Valuable resource on NGO funding:

Acronyms within NGOs: One may never encounter these, but if they come up, here is a list. (Source: Wikipedia)

  • BINGO: 'Business-friendly international NGO' or 'Big international NGO'
  • SBO: 'Social Benefit Organization,' a positive, goal-oriented designation as an substitute for the negative, "Non-" designations
  • TANGO: 'Technical assistance NGO'
  • TSO: 'Third-sector organization'
  • GONGO: 'Government-operated NGOs' (set up by governments to look like NGOs in order to qualify for outside aid or promote the interests of government)
  • DONGO: 'Donor organized NGO'
  • INGO: 'International NGO'
  • QUANGO: 'Quasi-autonomous NGO,' such as the (ISO). (The ISO is actually not purely an NGO, since its membership is by nation, and each nation is represented by what the ISO Council determines to be the 'most broadly representative' standardization body of a nation. That body might itself be a nongovernmental organization; for example, the United States is represented in ISO by the American National Standards Institute, which is independent of the federal government. However, other countries can be represented by national governmental agencies; this is the trend in Europe.)
  • National NGO: A non-governmental organization that exists only in one country. This term is rare due to the globalization of non-governmental organizations, which causes an NGO to exist in more than one country.
  • CSO: 'Civil Society Organization'
  • ENGO: 'Environmental NGO,' such as Greenpeace and WWF
  • NNGO: 'Northern NGO'
  • PANGO: 'Party NGO,' set up by parties and disguised as NGOs to serve their political matters.
  • SNGO: 'Southern NGO'
  • SCO: 'Social Change organization'
  • TNGO: 'Transnational NGO.' The term emerged during the 1970s due to the increase of environmental and economic issues in the global community. TNGO includes non-governmental organizations that are not confined to only one country, but exist in two or more countries.
  • GSO: Grassroots Support Organization
  • MANGO: 'Market advocacy NGO'
  • NGDO: 'Non-governmental development organization'