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Top 10 largest NGOs in the world

18 Jan 2022
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Top 10 largest NGOs in the world

Top 10 largest NGOs in the world

By Ion Ilasco 23 December 2021

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are nonprofit entities created around specific purposes or issue(s) with local or international reach that operate independently from governments. Modern NGOs take various juridical forms and can be differentiated based on a number of factors such as their size, budgets, level of representation, scope, focus, and operational orientation. International NGOs (INGO), for example, operate at a global level while community-based organizations (CBOs) represent grassroots initiatives formed at the community level. Based on the operational focus, some NGOs work on environmental preservation and rehabilitation measures while others aim to advance human rights through the use of legal systems or facilitate the efficient distribution of humanitarian aid towards those people in need.

See also: Non-governmental organizations – everything you need to know

Top 10 most influential NGOs in the world

The NGO ADVISOR, a Geneva-based independent media organization, compiles yearly rankings that feature the top 200 largest and most impactful NGOs. It undertakes the evaluation and further ranking by focusing on NGOs as the unit of analysis, rather than examining specific programs or interventions. The scoring process uses a fair and independent review of information gathered through entity website(s) and questionnaires. These are the top 10 nonprofit organizations highlighted in the 2021 ranking:

1️⃣ BRAC International is the largest non-governmental development organization in the world that was established in 1972 and is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This nonprofit offers a wide range of services that create opportunities for social empowerment, education, health, livelihood, environmental, and disaster preparedness. BRAC employs over 107,000 people (the largest workforce overall) and its last known annual income was around US$1.08 billion.

2️⃣ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors without Borders is an international non-profit medical humanitarian organization that offers emergency medical assistance and guidance to people affected by armed conflicts, violence, epidemics, or natural disasters. It was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Switzerland. The entity employs over 45,000 people and has reported an annual income of almost €2 billion.

3️⃣ Open Society Foundations is a network of international and national nonprofit organizations working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. It was founded in 1993 in the United States. The network employs between 1,001 – 5,000 people while the last known operational income was over US$500 million.

4️⃣ The Danish Refugee Council is one of the leading international nonprofits that offers humanitarian support to refugees and internally displaced persons affected by violence, war, political crises, and natural disasters. The entity operates in 40 countries, employs 9,000 people, and has an operating income of about €430 million. It was established in 1956 in Denmark.

5️⃣ Ashoka is an international nonprofit entity that focuses on empowering social leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Ashoka is currently running projects in more than 90 countries, employs a little over 500 people, and had an operating income in 2019 close to US$65 million. This NGO was founded in 1980 in the United States.

6️⃣ Mercy Corps is an international humanitarian nonprofit working in more than 40 countries around the world with a mission to alleviate suffering and poverty and assist those in need to build secure, productive, and just communities. The organization currently employs over 5,300 team members and shows an operating yearly income of US$500 million. Mercy Corps was established in 1979 in Portland in the United States.

7️⃣ JA Worldwide is one of the world’s largest youth-centered NGOs that was established in 1919. The organization works in over 100 countries by assisting young people to gain the professional and entrepreneurial skillsets necessary to succeed. JA Worldwide employs about 4,000 people and had an annual operating income of about US$370 million.

8️⃣ Acumen is an international NGO that aims to drive impact across the globe by investing in businesses that tackle poverty. Acumen was founded in 2001, currently employs about 300 people and its last known operational income was a little over US$33 million.

9️⃣ Cure Violence Global was first established in 1995 in the United States and its program was launched in Chicago in 2000. This nonprofit aims to reduce violence globally using disease control and behavior change methods. The organization currently employs about 700 people, has programs running in more than 50 cities worldwide, and has a yearly income of about US$55 million.

🔟 Landesa is a nonprofit organization established in 1981 in the United States. It forms partnerships with governments and other stakeholders to create opportunities for the world’s poorest to lift themselves out of poverty. Landesa currently employs about 120 people and showed an operating yearly income of little over US$13 million.

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