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How to Get Certified as an NGO?

Registering an NGO is a challenging task. This blog provides a complete set of steps to get your NGO certified successfully.

Nowadays, people from all over the world are concerned with the degrading living standards faced by organisms on Earth. Whether they are animals, plants or even humans, we all are coping with various challenges. It can be pollution, global warming, hunting, poaching, deforestation, violation of human rights, and many others. Being a genuine task, NGO registration is not a cakewalk. This blog provides a complete set of steps to get your NGO certified successfully.

Citizens leave this problem as the ‘responsibility’ of the government to solve. While some masses formulate an NGO, an NGO is a non-profit organisation that works for the justice of humans, animals, and plants. Addressing political, environmental, and social issues are some of the major functions that these independent organisations perform.

We must appreciate your decision to start an NGO if you have made one up your mind. Today, NGOs are doing very well if they have all the proper licenses and permits. An NGO certificate or NGO registration is required to operate an NGO.

Hence, in this article, we have focused on how one can obtain NGO registration or certificate.

According to GSI (GuideStar India), the number of certified NGOs in India is a little over 10,000 while the Central Statistical institute of India states that there is an NGO for every 400 Indians.

Staring an NGO is a great and appreciable initiative, but it also requires some certification and verification that can validate it as a legal working body. Here are the complete steps that an NGO has to follow in order to get certified by the government of India.

How to Get Certified as an NGO?

Define your Organisation’s Mission and Activities: Before seeking certification, clearly define your NGO’s mission, objectives, and activities. Determine the social or humanitarian cause you aim to address and identify the target beneficiaries of your programs.

Choose a Legal Structure: Decide on the legal structure that best suits your NGO’s objectives and operations. Common legal structures for NGOs include trusts, societies, and nonprofit companies. Research the legal requirements and implications of each structure in your jurisdiction.

Register your NGO: Register your NGO with the appropriate government authorities or regulatory bodies in your country. This typically involves submitting an application form along with necessary documents such as the organisation’s constitution, bylaws, board of directors’ details, and proof of address.

Obtain Tax Exemption Status: Apply for tax exemption status with the relevant tax authorities to avail of tax benefits available to NGOs. This often requires demonstrating that your organisation meets the criteria for tax-exempt status, such as being nonprofit and carrying out activities for charitable purposes.

Comply with Legal Requirements: Ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements applicable to NGOs in your jurisdiction. This may include maintaining proper accounting records, filing annual reports, adhering to financial reporting standards, and fulfilling any other obligations mandated by law.

Seek Accreditation or Certification: Some countries or international bodies offer accreditation or certification programs for NGOs. Research available certification schemes and assess their relevance to your organisation’s goals and activities. Apply for certification if it aligns with your objectives and enhances your credibility and accountability.

Build Partnerships and Networks: Establish partnerships with other NGOs, government agencies, donors, and stakeholders working in your field of interest. Collaborating with reputable organisations can enhance your NGO’s visibility, credibility, and impact.

Maintain Transparency and Accountability: Implement robust governance practices, including transparent financial management, accountability mechanisms, and ethical conduct. Regularly communicate with stakeholders, donors, and beneficiaries to provide updates on your organisation’s activities and impact.

Continuously Evaluate and Improve: Regularly assess your NGO’s performance, effectiveness, and impact. Collect data and feedback to evaluate the outcomes of your programs and initiatives. Use this information to make informed decisions, improve efficiency, and maximise your organisation’s effectiveness in achieving its mission.

By following these steps and adhering to best practices, you can navigate the process of getting certified as an NGO effectively and position your organisation for sustainable growth and impact in serving your community or cause.

Eligibility for NGO Certification

The eligibility criteria for NGO certification may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific certification scheme or accreditation body. However, there are some common eligibility factors that NGOs typically need to meet to qualify for certification:

Legal Registration: NGOs must be legally registered entities in their respective countries or regions. This often involves registering with government authorities or regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing nonprofit organisations.

Nonprofit Status: NGOs must operate on a nonprofit basis, meaning that their primary purpose is to pursue charitable, social, humanitarian, or environmental objectives rather than generating profits for private individuals or shareholders.

Mission Alignment: NGOs should have a clearly defined mission and objectives that align with the criteria set forth by the certification scheme or accreditation body. This may include addressing specific social, environmental, or community needs or promoting certain values or principles.

Operational Transparency: NGOs must demonstrate transparency and accountability in their operations, governance, and financial management. This may involve maintaining proper records, adhering to reporting requirements, and implementing governance structures that ensure integrity and accountability.

Evidence of Impact: NGOs may be required to provide evidence of their impact and effectiveness in achieving their mission and objectives. This could include documentation of program outcomes, beneficiary testimonials, or independent evaluations demonstrating the organisation’s positive contributions to its target beneficiaries or community.

Compliance with Legal and Regulatory Requirements: NGOs must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards governing nonprofit organisations, including those related to governance, taxation, employment, fundraising, and reporting.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement: NGOs should demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning, evaluation, and improvement of their programs, operations, and organisational capacity. This includes a willingness to adapt to changing needs, challenges, and opportunities in the communities they serve.

Process Of Getting Certified 

  • Getting a DSC and DIN 

The procedure starts with filling out the application for DSC (Digital Signature Certificate). Once received, the NGO must apply for a DIR -3 (Directory file) with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

This is followed by request for DIN (Director Identification Number). When all the above formalities are satisfied, a final documentation verification is performed by RoC, and then a DIN is allotted to the directors. 

  • Legal Name 

In the second step, the organisation is provided with an authorised that would be its legal name and could mention on formal documents. For this, one needs approval from RoC for INC-1 (Incorporated-1) or RUN ( Reserve Unique Name). Any company can fill two names, which are suggestions and are provided as a choice if in case the desired name is occupied by some other company.

The RoC is responsible for approving a name for the organisation, which depends upon the availability of names.

  • Approval from INC 12

Once your organisation has a legal name, you are all set to apply for INC-12. This certification validates you as a legal NGO in India and allows you to function.

An MOA(Memorandum of Agreement) and AOA (Article of Association) should be signed and verified by every participant in the presence of at least one witness.

  • Issuing the Licence 

Once the application is carefully examined by RoC and everything looks fine, an authorised licence will be provided to an organisation with the declaration that you successfully registered your organisation as an NGO under Section 8 of the constitution in Form INC-16.

  • Incorporation of the company with SPICe form INC-32 

Once the organisation is licensed, the application of SPICE (Simplified Proforma for Incorporating a Company Electronically) with RoC must be done. Some documents are a must with the application, which are-

  1. An affidavit from every member of the NGO, including the director and subscribers, as per INC 9
  2. Declaration of Deposits
  3. KYC(Know your customer) of directors
  4. Applying for Form DIR 2 along with identity and residence proof is to be only done by directors.
  5. Recent Utility bills should not be older than two months
  6. No objection certificate from the landowner
  7. Interest in other entities of all directors
  8. MOA and AOA
  9. Consent letter by the director

The application may take some to get reviewed by RoC. Once satisfied with an application, the RoC will proceed by awarding you the Certificate of Incorporation and Corporate Identification Number (CIN) of the NGO.

Why Should You Register As An NGO In India?

Registration is always important to work without fear and to your full potential. But why is it important to get a proper certification? Why can’t an organisation work as an NGO without any validation?

  • Tax Exemption

As per the  Companies Act 2013, many NGOs are provided with the privilege of not paying some cesses and thus, save some bucks from this advantage. This fund can be used in other operations of NGOs, which is again a great benefit of certification.

  • Perpetual Succession

Registering as a certified NGO helps you always keep your organisation functional. There is no authorised deadline or something like that. The company has full authority to work even after the death of the founder/trustee, director, or any other major personality. The only formal way to take down an NGO is to get ordered by the Court of India. 

  • Preservation of Name 

Getting your organisation an authorised certificate also reserves the name of your company. No other firm, organisation, or startup can use your NGO’s name legally. Hence getting a reservation from the Indian government would permit to use of the name exclusively. Moreover, a petition can be filed against the individual or group of individuals who tries to use the name without your permission.

  • Help you with Finance

A certification may seem like a normal piece of paper with some information written, but it is much more than that. A certificate establishes a company as an authorised and verified institution which also worlds great during the demand for finance from banks, government, money lenders, etc. The NGO can use this finance to extend its limits of operations and overall development.

  • No limit on share capital requirement

By registering as a Non-Profit Organisation, a firm does not have any limit on share capital. Most of the investments that NGOs perform are funded by the charity they raise; hence, a lot of money is not required to function for them, making them help the needy.


Getting a certificate for your NGO is quite simple. One just has to get certain approvals and licences in order to register as a valid working institution. RoC plays a very significant role as most of the documents and id proofs are checked and examined by them; therefore, it is required to have a clean background.

The process might be simple but not easy. A list of IDs and applications has to be correctly filled out. Also, as many offices are associated with the procedure, an applicant may have to visit various offices situated at distant places to get the right information about the application

Thus, both expertise and experience can make things happen quickly. Vakilsearch is India’s largest platform for legal, Legal and tax services. We offer quality service at affordable prices. Check out our website to know more about our services and hire your professional law advisor now.


What is an NGO?

An NGO, or Non-Governmental Organisation, is a non-profit organisation that operates independently of government control and is typically dedicated to addressing social, humanitarian, environmental, or community development issues.

Why should an NGO get certified?

Certification can enhance an NGO's credibility, transparency, and accountability. It demonstrates the organisation's commitment to best practices, ethical standards, and quality assurance, which can help attract donors, partners, and beneficiaries.

How can I get an NGO certificate in India?

To obtain certification for an NGO in India, organisations can apply to recognised accreditation bodies or certification schemes that assess compliance with specific standards or criteria. The process typically involves submitting documentation, undergoing assessment, and meeting eligibility requirements.

What are the benefits of certification for an NGO?

Certification offers several benefits for NGOs, including enhanced credibility and trustworthiness, improved fundraising opportunities, increased visibility and recognition, enhanced accountability and transparency, access to networking and collaboration opportunities, and potential for increased impact and effectiveness.

Is certification mandatory for an NGO?

Certification is not mandatory for NGOs, but it can be highly beneficial. While certification may not be required by law, many donors, partners, and stakeholders prefer to support certified organisations due to the assurance of quality and accountability that certification provides.

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