NGOs or non-governmental organisations are formed by compassionate people who wish to help others in need, such as underprivileged folks and children, animals, the elderly, victims of abuse, orphans, etc. SHGs or self-help groups are created by a group of people with the same socio-economic background who contribute money to a fund which can be used by any of them later in times of need. While both NGOs and SHGs focus on helping people, the difference between the two lies primarily in who the group or organisation aims to help. Let’s take a deeper look into what the difference between NGOs and SHGs is by first understanding their purposes and objectives better.
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NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations)
NGOs are organisations created not by the government but by private individuals and groups to help out those in need. All animal shelters, homeless shelters, orphanages, etc. are run by NGOs and they strive to help out the people who need it. NGOs accept donations in the form of money and supplies, and they also accept volunteers to help out at their various sites such as donation drives, shelters, etc. Essentially, NGOs work towards the betterment of life for people who do not have the means to support themselves, NGOs are the backbone of the downtrodden members of our society.
SHGs (Self-Help Groups)
In India, Self Help Groups (SHGs) are very common, especially amongst women belonging to the same communities. Self-help groups, as the name explains, are groups of people that pool in money together by the month and provide it to its members when they are in need of it. It is essentially like a self-created banking system where people of the same socio-economic classes and background get together to create a safe monetary space for each other. This is a method of saving money and helping each other out where and when it is required, and is a great method of community building as well as bringing about financial stability and also for inculcating the good habit of saving money.
Difference between NGOs and SHGs
The similarity between NGOs and SHGs is that they both aspire to fight injustices and the socio-economic problems that often take the backseat in our country. The difference, however, is that SHGs attempt to do this in smaller groups of about 10 to 20 people, while NGOs strive to do this on a city-wide, state-wide, national and even international basis.
Another difference between the two is that SHGs look out for its own members and takes care of the needs of these members, while NGOs look out for other people who are in dire need of attention in terms of monetary help, the requirements of medical, educational, occupational facilities, and much more. Where SHGs aim to make each member of their group stable and secure amidst the political and economic climate of the time, NGOs aspire to do the same on a much larger scale.
The funding for NGOs comes from outside sources, including donations as mentioned before, from individuals, enterprises or even other countries, and the funding for SHGs comes from the members of the group itself.
There are also organisational differences between NGOs and SHGs, where NGOs are required to abide by certain laws established for their functioning, and SHGs do not. As such, NGOs are more formal organisations that must be registered and established legitimately, but SHGs do not have such legal requirements and can be started informally between the people willing to be a part of it.