A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted, non-governmental organization created by natural or legal persons with no participation or representation of any government. In the cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization.

Globalization during the 20th century gave rise to the importance of NGOs. Many problems could not be solved within a nation. International treaties and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization were perceived as being too centred on the interests of capitalist enterprises.

Some argued that in an attempt to counterbalance this trend, NGOs have developed to emphasize:
humanitarian issues,
developmental aid
and sustainable development.


The primary purpose of an operational NGO is the design and implementation of development-related projects. One frequently used categorization is the division into relief-oriented versus development-oriented organizations; they can also be classified according to whether they stress service delivery or participation; or whether they are religious or secular; and whether they are more public or private-oriented. Operational NGOs can be community-based, national or international.

Examples:
Doctors without Borders
Oxfam
CARE
World Vision
Save the Children
Catholic Relief Services