NGOs in India often struggle with sustainability. The primary reason for that is the limited sources of income available to run daily operations. With the lack of government funding, it is very difficult for nonprofits to gain stability with finances. They mostly rely on large donations from philanthropic individuals, or CSR initiatives from corporates. But sometimes these are one-off charitable initiatives, which limits NGOs’ potential to run operation for a long period of time, or over a large geographic area.
More recently, the concept of crowdfunding has seen a lot of growth in the Indian social space. An NGO can quickly and easily raise funds online by running a campaign on the internet, and sharing their cause with the world. What’s even better is that some crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru have tied up with international crowdfunding portals so that Indian campaigners can receive donations even from international sources. The only prerequisite to receiving foreign donations is registering your NGO under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Registration Act).
That said, majority of the Indian NGOs aren’t registered under the FCRA. We strongly urge all those NGOs to start the process of getting themselves registered under FCRA. If you are worried about the various criterias and rules involved, we’ve noted down a few pre-requisites to get you started.
Eligibility to receive foreign contributions
As defined in Section 3(1) of FCRA, 2010, foreign contribution can be accepted by anyone other than:
(a) a candidate for election;
(b) correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper;
(c) Judge, government servant or employee of any Corporation or any other body controlled on owned by the Government;
(d) member of any legislature;
(e) political party or office bearer thereof;
(f) organization of a political nature as may be specified under sub- section (1) of Section 5 by the Central Government.
(g) association or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news or audio visual news or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode, or any other electronic form as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (i) of Section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 or any other mode of mass communication;
(h) correspondent or columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner of the association or company referred to in clause (g).
The following documents must be filed for obtaining registration
i) Form FC-8 duly filled up in triplicate.
ii) Audited statement of accounts of past three years.
iii) Annual Report specifying activities of past 5 years.
iv) Detail of the beneficiaries and detail of the socio-economic factors of the region in which the NGO is working.
v) List and geographical detail of the state, and districts proposed for work.
vi) Certified copy of the Registration Certificate.
vii) Certified copy of the Bye-laws and Memorandum and Article of Association whichever is applicable.
viii) Copy of certificates of exemption or registration issued by the Income Tax Department u/s. 80G and 12A.
ix) Copy of any prior permission granted to the organisation.
x) Copy of resolution of Governing Body of the organisation, authorising the registration under FCRA.
xi) Copy of Power of Attorney or the resolution of Governing Body by which the Chief Functionary is authorised to submit FC-8.
xii) List of present members of the Governing Body of the organisation and the office bearers.
xiii) Copy of any Journal or other publication of the organisation.
xiv) If the association is having any parent or sister or subsidiary organisation, which is registered under the FCRA then the registration number along with Ministry of Home Affairs file number should be mentioned.
xv) If the association has submitted any application earlier then its reference number should be mentioned.
xvi) If the association has received any foreign contribution with or without the prior approval of the Central Government, then the detail should be given.It may be noted that the onus of getting registered under FCRA lies on the association and therefore, before accepting foreign contribution, it is the responsibility of association to ensure all the requisite formalities are complied with and registration is granted before accepting any foreign exchange.
How to register online?
Go to Ministry of Home Affairs page: http://fcraonline.nic.in, and click on application for FCRA registration. After that, fill out the details asked and follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.
In the past, Indian NGOs have raised more than INR 8,500 crores annually from international donors. Once an NGO gets the FCRA permit, they can easily raise funds from other countries and scale up their operations. Keeping in mind the benefits of foreign funding to Indian NGOs, we urge all nonprofits and NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA, as well as start campaigns on crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru, that are affiliated with notable international donors like Global Giving. If more NGOs sign up for this opportunity, the growth potential for India in sectors like health, sanitation, education, is unlimited.