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Feasibility of starting a NGO?

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SonhosDaVida

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I am an undergraduate student looking to start a NGO at my school centered upon educating people on proper disposal of medicines, donating OTC's to rural areas, and coordinating OTC collections for proper disposal around the school. Do you think this is enough to be approved as a NGO? And how hard is it to maintain a NGO/to start a NGO? What are the requirements before hand? Thanks.
 
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flapjack3d

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I am an undergraduate student looking to start a NGO at my school centered upon educating people on proper disposal of medicines, donating OTC's to rural areas, and coordinating OTC collections for proper disposal around the school. Do you think this is enough to be approved as a NGO? And how hard is it to maintain a NGO/to start a NGO? What are the requirements before hand? Thanks.
this sounds good enough for the international ngo certification board to approve
 
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SonhosDaVida

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What is the internation NGO certification @flapjack3d ? And how to I submit my club for approval? Thanks. I read that NGO's can usually be maintained for 2 years max with UG's. I don't know all of the logistics to starting a NGO.
 

jesie

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They're messing with you.

Try starting a little smaller. You may like the sound of starting an NGO, but you usually need some pretty serious momentum/demonstrated capacity before you can be approved for official certifications like 501c3 non-profit status or w/e it is that you're going for (if I'm not mistaken). Figure out who/what groups are already doing this. Talk to them and consider a club or local chapter. The school's probably not going to love the idea of students doing anything with large amounts of drugs (otc or not), but there may be a way.
 
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deleted480308

Any doofus can start a nonprofit. It's just paperwork

The question is if you can get anyone to let a 20yr old with no qualifications start advertising around campus that you want all their old meds, that's probably not happening
 
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flapjack3d

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What is the internation NGO certification @flapjack3d ? And how to I submit my club for approval? Thanks. I read that NGO's can usually be maintained for 2 years max with UG's. I don't know all of the logistics to starting a NGO.
Are you at a US university?
 

SonhosDaVida

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Yes, the reason for the drug focus is because the school is heavy on pharmaceutical sciences
 

SonhosDaVida

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So is starting a NGO just paperwork? Or, since I've already done some stuff with the local community and donated some drugs to other places, I can count these activities, and apply for a NGO.
 

seeinghowitgoes

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So is starting a NGO just paperwork? Or, since I've already done some stuff with the local community and donated some drugs to other places, I can count these activities, and apply for a NGO.

Technically yes, being an NGO (specifically 501c3 assuming you're in the US) is just paperwork. However, that paperwork is really not as easy as some here seem to think it is - it's a sizable commitment and requires yearly filings afterwards, which begs the question, why do you want to be one?

You should want to get 501c3 status for a reason. For example, companies and wealthy donors won't usually donate large sums of money if they can't call it a charitable deduction, so if you're targeting those donors you'll need it. It also allows you to apply for grants available only to tax-deductible organizations, so if you know of specific grants that you think could sustain you, then 501c3 status is necessary. Yes there are other things, like adding legitimacy to your org (it's an outward sign that you're dedicated enough to the cause to take the time to fill out the paperwork), but usually those alone are not worth it. It's the tax and funding benefits that 501c3 is really for (heck, it's the IRS you're filing with).

So my advice - that you're asking if you should do it suggests you have not thought enough about why being an "official" NGO is necessary for your group. I would strongly recommend against starting one. Stick with being a college club, or better yet go volunteer your time with an existing NGO - the nonprofit sector is already overflowing with good groups doing this type of work, just get started making a difference with one of them. Nobody should waste their time on paperwork unless they have something unique to add to the field and have a very detailed business plan for the future.
 
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Dox4lyfe

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I've looked into this quite a bit and I've realized that it's not worth all the time and effort. It's only worth considering after you have something successful already in place and you want to grow larger and become "official".

If you want this primarily for your campus, starting up a campus org will do just fine.
 

drmantistobbogan

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Why do I get the feeling that you want to start an NGO just so you can put it on your application?
 
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