Nonprofit Frequently Asked Questions

Nonprofit Frequently Asked Questions


What is NGOLD?

A Center at NIU focused on nonprofit excellence. It offers the Community Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) major and a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Civic Engagement to NIU students, acts as a resource for researchers, offers tools, training, and events for nonprofit leaders, and promotes research in topic areas that align with the NGOLD mission.

What is NGOLD’s purpose?

To help strengthen the nonprofit sector in northern Illinois, the United States, and globally; engage students, faculty and nonprofit leaders in important issues of civil society; and, educate the next generation of students who want to make a difference in their careers through the academic programming and engaged learning.

What is an NGO?

The term "NGO" originated with the United Nations and stands for "nongovernmental organization," which typically refers to organizations that are not part of a government but are not traditional for-profit private businesses. The World Bank defines NGOs as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development" (Operational Directive 14.70). The difference between NGOs and nonprofit organizations is slim and debated; however, the term NGO is not generally used to describe U.S.-based nonprofit organizations. According to the Foundation Center, NGO activities include, but are not limited to: environmental, social, advocacy and human rights work. They may also promote social or political change on a broad scale or very locally. NGOs play an important role in developing society, improving communities and promoting citizen participation.

In what ways does NGOLD work with nonprofit organizations?

NGOLD offers workshops, trainings, and networking events throughout the year for nonprofit leaders in the northern Illinois region. Beyond the regional focus, NGOLD has a presence at select national and international conferences focused on the nongovernmental sector. NGOLD can also act as a source for interns and volunteers by drawing from CLCE majors and students from other departments that are interested in gaining practical experience with nonprofit organizations. The CLCE major emphasizes engaged learning opportunities for students meaning that they take part in service-learning activities within nonprofit organizations. These activities allow students to build their professional aptitude while participating nonprofits benefit from the students' services.

How can I request students to work in my nonprofit organization?

NGOLD offers students service-learning opportunities throughout the year so they can apply classroom concepts to practical experiences. These students work on projects for nonprofit organizations such as marketing plans, research, needs assessments, and feasibility studies. If you are interested in learning more about having a student work on a project with your organization, email ngoldcenter@niu.edu or call (815) 753-4410.