Grassroots volunteering in West Africa

Start an NGO in Ghana: Register

Register your NGO or non-profit in Ghana

The important first four steps have been taken to profile the NGO.

  1. Develop vision and mission
  2. Set goals and objectives
  3. Set up a Board of Directors
  4. Set up a Constitution

Now, step 5, Register the NGO in Ghana.

NGO registration laws differ from country to country. Since we’re looking at Ghana, let’s now take a look at the legal requirements and the registration steps for NGOs in Ghana.

It’s a two step application process. The first step involves applying to the Registrar General’s Department. The second step involves applying to the Department of Social Welfare.

1. Applying to the Registrar General’s Department

Certificate to Commence Business and Certificate of Incorporation

Purchase the NGO registration form at the Registrar General’s Department in Accra or at the regional post offices outside of Accra. The current cost of the form is nine Ghana Cedis, fifty Pesewas (9.50). Please note here that there are different registration forms for registering different organization types. NGOs must pick the form marked “The Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179), Regulations of a Private Company Limited by guarantee.”

This is because the first step in the NGO registration process is to obtain a Certificate to Commence Business and Certificate of Incorporation.

If unsure, ask the attendant and they will assist in selecting the right form. Sometimes officials will refuse to refund money if the wrong form is purchased so be sure to purchase the correct form.

Fill the form
Next, fill in the required information in the appropriate spaces on the form. Be sure to take enough time to do this correctly. Most importantly, it must be typed on a type-writer, not a computer. The trick is to make photocopies of the form and fill it out with ink, and then submit that photocopied, handwritten form with the original form to a typing professional to type the details in the required spaces with a typewriter on the original, using the copy as a reference. Typewriting services are available for a small fee at post offices. If you’re lucky enough to have a typewriter lying around, go for it (and set up a small side business for NGO registration applicants).

Some of the information that the registration form requires include:

  • The name of NGO
  • The objectives
  • The first members of the Executive Council or Executive Board. The number must not be less than two persons and not more than twenty persons
  • Particulars of Directors and Secretary, which include their names; nationalities; usual residential addresses; business occupation
  • Name and address of Auditor. If you don’t have an Auditor, don’t worry because the Registrar will provide you with one upon approval of your application
  • Address and P.O.Box of registered office; principal place of business

If in doubt or confused, contact the Registrar General’s Department or the National Board for Small Scale Industries at the regional levels for assistance.

After filling the form, submit it to the Registrar General’s Department together with the registration fees. The current amount is 250 Ghana Cedis. They will issue the certificate to commence business in about two weeks. It takes about another week to get the certificate of incorporation. Keep in mind that everything takes time in Ghana and these timelines are just guides.

2. Applying to the Department of Social Welfare

NGO Status Application

After securing the certificate of incorporation from the Registrar General’s Department to operate as a company, it’s time to apply for NGO status from the Department of Social Welfare.

The Social Welfare Department is the regulator of NGOs in Ghana and is therefore mandated to issue certificates of recognition to organizations to operate as NGOs.

The requirements for registering an organization with the Social Welfare Department for NGO status have to be submitted to the national office of the Department in Accra and the approved fees paid in full.

  • Certificates of Incorporation and to Commence Business from the Registrar General’s Department
  • Application letter on organisation’s official letter head addressed to

The Director
Department of Social Welfare
P.O.Box M. 230
Accra, Ghana

  • Organisation’s constitution (link)
  • NGO profile form
  • Social investigation report
  • Both the NGO profile form and social investigation report will be provided by the Social Welfare Agency near your organisation’s location
  • A recommendation letter from the District, Municipal or Metropolitan Assembly in which your organization is located
  • Any brochure or publication of your organization. This could be your organisation’s profile, which talks about your vision, mission, goals and objectives, your programme areas, your board of directors, your staff and any other useful information about your organization.
  • Three copies of an endorsement letter from regional office of Departmental of Social Welfare. The Department of Social Welfare has offices in all the regions of Ghana.

It takes about one month to get the NGO status certificate.

Now, you’re registered!

After completing the above steps and obtaining official NGO status, the challenge is to go MaD (link) in Ghana.

Don’t forget to tap into the wealth of local knowledge and experience in the communities in which your NGO will operate.

If you also have any additional useful information, do not hesitate to share with us because sharing is what makes the world go round.

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26 Responses to Start an NGO in Ghana: Register

  1. You made some good factors there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree along with your blog.

  2. Your website is great! This post really caught my eye when I was searching around. Thanks for sharing it

  3. Gayle Pescud says:

    Thanks Norene, We hope it was helpful!

  4. henry Cartey says:

    Please what is social investigation report?Thanks

  5. reuben says:

    i found your info very intriguing and informative. thanks for sharing. by the way do you ve space for internship i would love to do my internship with your organisation. please let me hear from you soon.

  6. Beth says:

    It’s nice to find a quality blog post. I enjoy many of the articles on your site.

  7. AMADU, MOHAMMED FAISAL says:

    Great Mind Indeed! Thanks for your direction and guidance. It is good you choose to share these vital information to people like me who has severally searched for answers to the above! I am indeed grateful and would do just that. Thanks.

  8. Mary says:

    Thanks Gayle, for your insightful website. I have been contemplating this week to start an NGO and I had no idea how to go about it, although I live in Ghana! To have chanced on this was a treasure! Thanks indeed.

  9. UCAL says:

    Thanks, that is great indeed, My problem is solved.

  10. TILISIBA ADAM says:

    please can one get the sample of business registration form being post in my email box, so that i can study it and prepared myself for my business registration.

  11. Eli says:

    thank you very much for this educative and informative website

  12. Yaw says:

    Is indeed a great site to visit, thank you

  13. Collins Dakurah says:

    I got the forms recently, but its proven a complicated bunch. It appears to me the NGO act does not permit founders to double as Chief Executice Officers of their own NGO. But I look around and it appears that is what is happening. Mine is intended to be a hundred percent volunteer org and so its proving difficult to get people to take up all those roles the NGO law demands. Is there a short cut around this or I should just do what everyone else is doing? Would like to be credible so do advice.

  14. Amy says:

    does an NPO doing work in Ghana but based in the US have to register as an NGO in Ghana?

  15. Gayle Pescud says:

    It depends on what exactly you do in Ghana. If in doubt, visit the Social Welfare Department in Accra to check on what the requirements are for NGO work in Ghana from a US-basked NPO.

  16. Gayle Pescud says:

    Yes it’s not so easy at first. I can put you in contact with our other co-founder who has extensive understanding of this. Please let me know if you want the contacts.

  17. Pascaline says:

    Thanks for the info and this site……very useful indeed. Finished with the first part at the Registrar Department some months ago and didn’t know what to do next. Do I also have to register with SSNIT?

  18. der sixts says:

    pleaes can i get a sample of the ngo registraion form to study and prepare fort registration in my email

  19. frederickok kofi attuah says:

    this website have really be of god help to me. at list i was able to get the information i wanted.

  20. DEQ Change Foundation says:

    we wish you partner us to write our constitution and also edit our bronchure for us. we are about to register and start operation. Thank You

  21. Dorcas says:

    Am very happy to visit this sites because i have gotten all the information but i wanted to ask that can we register with Registry Department and operate for sometime for proper organization before we contact the Social Welfare

  22. Louis Denteh says:

    infact am so so happy because i now know what to do when am going to register my organization. thanks a lot

  23. Bright K says:

    Just done with the registrar general’s registration docs. Having a few problems-what to include in our constitution- Any suggestions?

  24. Bright K says:

    Just done with registration at the RG’s Department. Need some guidelines in drafting a final constitution, particularly with what to include and not.

  25. Kwaku Francis says:

    how do i renew my ngo?

  26. Gayle Pescud says:

    Hello. You must visit the Department of Social Welfare’s head office in your region. They’ll explain what you need to do to renew. :)

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