An NGO By Any Other Name…

Jaded observers of international relations will no doubt be shocked, yes shocked, to learn that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are "not inspired by the principles and values of voluntarism." Thus notes Alan Fowler of Great Britain’s International NGO Training and Research Centre in his book Striking a Balance: A Guide to Enhancing the Effectiveness of ...

Jaded observers of international relations will no doubt be shocked, yes shocked, to learn that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are "not inspired by the principles and values of voluntarism." Thus notes Alan Fowler of Great Britain's International NGO Training and Research Centre in his book Striking a Balance: A Guide to Enhancing the Effectiveness of Non-Governmental Organisations in International Development (London: Earthscan, 1997). Fowler has compiled a list of acronyms used around the world to describe these "pretender NGOs" that are often wolves in nonprofits' clothing. Some of the highlights:

BRINGO (Briefcase NGO): an NGO that is no more than a briefcase carrying a well-written proposal

CONGO (Commercial NGO): NGOs set up by businesses in order to participate in bids, help win contracts, and reduce taxation

Jaded observers of international relations will no doubt be shocked, yes shocked, to learn that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are "not inspired by the principles and values of voluntarism." Thus notes Alan Fowler of Great Britain’s International NGO Training and Research Centre in his book Striking a Balance: A Guide to Enhancing the Effectiveness of Non-Governmental Organisations in International Development (London: Earthscan, 1997). Fowler has compiled a list of acronyms used around the world to describe these "pretender NGOs" that are often wolves in nonprofits’ clothing. Some of the highlights:

BRINGO (Briefcase NGO): an NGO that is no more than a briefcase carrying a well-written proposal

CONGO (Commercial NGO): NGOs set up by businesses in order to participate in bids, help win contracts, and reduce taxation

GRINGO (Government run and initiated NGO): variation of a QUANGO (see below), but with the function of countering the actions of real NGOs; common in Africa

MANGO (Mafia NGO): a criminal NGO providing services of the money laundering, enforcement, and protection variety; prevalent in Eastern Europe

MONGO (My own NGO): NGOs that are the personal property of an individual, often dominated by his or her ego

PANGO (Party NGO): an aspiring, defeated, or banned political party or politician dressed as an NGO; species of Central Asia and Indo-China

QUANGO (Quasi NGO): parastatal body created by government, often to enable better conditions of service or to create political distance

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