Can I make profit with an NGO?

By Drum Digital
06 September 2016

An expert answers...

Am I allowed to make profit through a non-governmental organisation (NGO)?

Joshua answers

An NGO is independent of Government, but it is also not a typical private sector formation and doesn’t work in the same way.

You may not make a profit from an NGO. You can, however, earn a decent salary as an employee of one, especially one that you have founded yourself.

According to the Non-profit Organisation Act 71 of 1997, NGOs fall under the category of a non-profit organisation. This means that, unlike a business, an NGO should not have as its basis the motive to make profit. Therefore, if you wish to start an organisation that will make a profit you may want to consider opening a regular business instead.

Instead of making a profit, NGOs are established for the benefit of the general public, and for striving towards a particular social cause. According to the Act, there is an obligation to report the finances of a registered NGO in a particular manner, and there may be harsh penalties meted out against someone found using the resources of an NGO for selfish reasons.

Best wishes.

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