Register your NGO or non-profit in Ghana
The important first four steps have been taken to profile the NGO.
- Develop vision and mission
- Set goals and objectives
- Set up a Board of Directors
- 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
Department of Social Welfare
P.O.Box M. 230
- 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.