How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in India

Cersai Stark

Cersai Stark

In India, operating an NGO is quite similar to running a business.  As a result, individuals seeking how to start a nonprofit must be acquainted with the NGO Registration process. Likewise, obtaining NGO registration gives the organization legal approval and increases its appeal to donors and the legal system.

In this article, we will outline the registration guidelines for establishing a nonprofit in India.


How to start a nonprofit
How to start a nonprofit


  • The first and most essential step to starting a nonprofit is to determine the purpose for establishing the organization 
  • Bylaws must be created in compliance with the Act’s legislative requirements 
  • Those who may not be able to form an association or group can support the initiatives of NGOs


What are the guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in India?

Knowing the essential requirements for establishing NGOs is the first step for anyone seeking how to start a nonprofit. Hence, we will go ahead to establish these guidelines. 

1. Outline the Purpose, Vision, and Mission of your nonprofit 

The first and most essential step to starting a nonprofit is to determine the purpose of the organization. Consequently, there must be a clear and concise statement that defines and represent the clear mission of the NGO. Also, the organization’s value must be clearly reflected in the framework. This should likewise include its target group and priorities. 

2. Understand the various Registration Acts and their governing principles

A nonprofit in India may choose to register under any of the three NGO Acts of the country. The Indian Trust Act, Societies Registration Act, and Companies Act constitute the governing principle for nonprofit registration. 

For charitable trusts, there is no maximum number of members. Nonetheless, there must be at least two people. Likewise, trusts and societies may be registered under the Maharashtra Public Trust Act. However, a society nonprofit requires a minimum of seven persons to be established. Nonprofit corporations on the other hand may choose to register with the Registrar of Companies under the Companies Act. 

3. Set up the Board of Directors and Team Members

This is also one crucial aspect to consider when seeking how to start a nonprofit. By and large, the founder(s) must work with a team to choose the individuals who will make up the board of directors of the organization. 

Over time, these members establish the groundwork for the management and operation of the nonprofit. Hence, founders must consider committed individuals with a sense of charity and social welfare. Note that there is no cap on the number of founder members or supporters.

4. Seek Legal Support from Experts and Consultants 

Legal assistance and the services of NGO consultants are required when starting an NGO. These organizations help nonprofits in handling legal issues. 

5. Choose the name of your NGO 

Be sure to verify that your organization’s name is not the same as or closely related to the name of any government authority body, board, or ministry. To be sure, research and confirm that the desired name is not already in use in the office or jurisdiction where you must apply for the Registration. In contrast, if you intend to register the NGO as a trust under the Indian Trust Act, the name does not constitute a problem.

6. Draft the Bylaws, Memorandum, and Articles of Incorporation

Memorandum or Articles of Incorporation serve as the foundation for the organization’s proof of existence and accountability. Also, the bylaws are contained in the Memorandum. To sum up, the Bylaws, the Memorandum, the Articles of Incorporation, or the Articles of Association must follow a predetermined and customary legal format and description. 

In general, the rules, regulations, modes of operation, working pattern, working area, obligations of the NGO, and NGO objectives are represented in the bylaws. Also, the bylaws are created in compliance with the Act’s legislative requirements and the procedures used to establish the NGO. 

7. Register your NGO 

After adhering to the aforementioned guidelines on how to start a nonprofit, you can go ahead to register or incorporate your organization. Likewise, the several states and Registrar offices have different norms and regulations. As a result, you can seek the assistance and guidance of a consultancy. 

After completing the necessary paperwork and payment, your organization becomes a recognized nonprofit in India. 


We have outlined the necessary process on how to start a nonprofit in India. By and large, NGOs are well known for their prevalent devotion to developing society. As a result, they are an essential component of humanity. Those who may not be able to form an association or group can support the initiatives of NGOs. By so doing, everyone gets to participate in community development. 

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