Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is a term coined in the mid-1940s. As the phrase implies, it refers to a group of like-minded individuals, unaffiliated with any government, who seek to affect public policy and/or provide services to a community. NGOs operate locally, nationally, and internationally, and they address issues that range from human rights and environmental sustainability to disaster relief and economic development. This diversity makes it difficult to generalize their goals and characteristics. Most, but not all, are not-for-profit organizations. Although the vast majority of NGOs are independent of governmental control, some are not, especially in authoritarian countries, and NGOs often receive financial support from governments. Many NGOs supplement this money with private donations or funds from international organizations. Although political parties and guerilla organizations are not considered NGOs, some NGOs represent people who are not members of a state, and therefore operate as quasi-governments.
Irwin, Ryan, "Non-Governmental Organizations" (2015). History Faculty Scholarship. 19.