Want to start an NGO? Here’s how to go about it!

We all have different reasons to want to establish our own NGO, or a church, mosque, or any other non profit making entity. Be it a cause that touches your heart or a calling, whatever may be the reason, these steps simplify the procedure in the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 and shows you the steps involved in registering your association with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

  • Name: In opting for a name, you must be careful to develop a name that speaks the whole aim of the association, and also make sure that you have alternative names just in case your first choice name does not go through. CAC will usually allow at least 3 options.
  • Apply for Availability & Reservation of Name: The next step is to make an application to CAC for your chosen name to be reserved pending when you will be able to perfect the pre registration processes.

Note at this point that, for the purpose of registering a church, mosque, organisation or association for religious, educational, literary, scientific, social development, cultural, sporting, or charitable purpose, you are allowed to transact directly with CAC if you so desire, otherwise, you can seek the service of a Legal Practitioner.



–          Walk into any of the CAC branches nearest to you.

–          Ask to know where you can purchase FORM CAC IT NAME.

–          Make your payment and fill the form: You will write your name as the presenter, your address, the proposed name of the association you seek to register in order of preference, then the principal aims and objectives of the association (you may just write the principal aims at this point), in the space for classification, you write “Incorporated Trustees”, you then date it and put your signature.


  •        The waiting period: After filling and submitting the CAC IT NAME form, there is usually a waiting period within which the CAC scrutinizes and check its base to know whether one of the names you applied for is available.

The waiting period varies depending on the branch of C.A.C. you are transacting with. In Abuja Head office, it is usually ready within a week, while in lagos, it takes about 3 weeks.

At the end of the waiting period, the C.A.C will issue a Notice of Approval if your application scale through, but if not, a Notice of Denial will be issued in which case you have to fine tune your choice names and make a new application.

Let’s assume your application is successful, the name will in essence be reserved for your exclusive use for a period of 60 days. This is where the task begins and you can do a number of things next depending on your preference, but I will suggest that you follow the order below:


  • Advertisements: It is usually advisable to place adverts first after your choice name is successfully reserved. The advert is usually made in 2 newspapers: one national daily, and one local daily in circulation where the head office is to be situate. Take for instance, you have an intention to establish your head office in Lagos, P.M. Newspaper and Abuja Chronicles are examples of Newspaper Press in circulation within Lagos and Abuja.
  1. Size of publication: Usually 3 inches of the 2 column of the newspaper (3 by 2).
  2. Essence of publication: The aim of the publication is to give notice to the public that an organisation is about to be registered with C.A.C; the name of the organisation, the names of the intended trustees, and the aims and objectives of the organisation are also listed out.

The publication avails the public the chance to raise an objection to the intended registration, the objection may be on the basis of the character of any of the trustees, the name of the organisation, or that the aim(s) of the organisation is/ are contrary to public policy etc. Such objection must be sent to the C.A.C. within 28 days of the advert, supported with cogent reasons why the objection must be upheld.


  •        The Constitution of the Organisation: While a company usually have a memo and an article, that which govern associations registered under PART C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act is the Constitution.

It may be very tasking to exhaust all you need to know about drawing up a befitting constitution for your organisation (more reason why many prefer to give the whole job to their lawyer to handle for them), my suggestion will be that you seek the assistance of a Legal Practitioner, because drafting a constitution is a cumbersome exercise, which is within the confines of the training of a competent legal practitioner.

Usually, 2 hard copies of the constitution are to be submitted to C.A.C.


  •    Purchase and filling of Incorporated Trustees Set Form: The content of the form also evidences some step by step guides for applicants. The 3 very essential parts of the form are:

              1.      The provision for the aims/ objectives of the Applicant body (where you exhaustively spell out your aims and objectives).

              2.      Inclosure “D” of the form wherein you write out the full name, permanent address, occupation of the trustees for the organisation, signature, and one passport size photograph. (Please note that the minimum number of trustees for the purpose of CAMA is 1).

              3.      The impression of the common seal of the organisation. (The seal is the instrument for the authentication of the corporate acts and the execution of the legal transactions of the association). This is further discussed below.


  •      Declaration on oath of trustees: The content of the oath is to further affirm that none of the trustees is/ are infant(s) (below 18years old), person of unsound mind (as declared by a court of competent jurisdiction), person that has been convicted of any offence involving fraud or dishonesty (within 5years of his proposed appointment as a trustee) and that he/ she is not an undischarged bankrupt.

Each trustee is to swear the oath, sign it, and attach his/ her passport size photo, and the oath must be sworn to at a High Court Registry before a Commissioner for Oaths (you must remember to collect and keep your oath receipt as it may be needed later on).


  •   The Seal of the body: This is usually a metallic device. It is the impression of the authority of the body to documents. Usually, the name of, and the logo of the body is designed on the seal.
  •    Minutes of Meeting: 2 minutes of meeting are needed:

1.  Minutes of meeting of the appointment of the trustees: Here, you must exhaustively show the votes scored by each contestants for the position of the trustee, the names of members present at the election of the trustees, and the authorisation to proceed to C.A.C to apply for their registration. It must be duly signed by the chairman, and secretary for the purpose of the meeting.

2. Minutes of the meeting where at the special clause was adopted: The association must adopt the special clause provision in the Companies and Allied Matters Act. The special clause relates to the income and property of the applicant body and its application solely for the promotion of the objects of the body to be registered.

This, however, is not a strict rule as there are instances where the income and property may be used otherwise.


  •    Filing fee: The filing fee can change at anytime, depending on the order of the Registrar of C.A.C, but as of the date of this publication, the filing fee is #22, 000.00 (Twenty Two Thousand Naira Only) cheque written in the name of the Registrar, Corporate Affairs Commission.


In conclusion, once you have all this in place, you are good to go with the final stage of your application which is payment of filing fee coupled with application letter evidenced in the letter head paper of the proposed body stating that you have met all necessary requirements for registration, and asking to be so registered. You will take along the Notice of Approval of the approved name, the already filled trustees form, copies of newspaper advert, 2 constitutions (hardcopies), the minute of meetings, common seal, and your filing fee, after which you will await the final assent of the C.A.C.

The above guide will see you through the rigours of getting your association registered. Hope this helps!




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  1. iam kelvin uzomah, i want to know the cost of registering a youth forum of a state in lagos here and we have find out through the CAC short code that the name does not exist. it is avalible for us to register, where do we purchase the form? or address of any nearest office around ikeja or mainland. kindly let’s us know the cost and process. thanks.

  2. I sincerely appreciate the knowledge that you have shared out. You jus reviewed to me in an all-embracing manner the information that i really wanted. Am looking at establishing an NGO that is focused in the area of adulescent reproductive health issue. I will not fail to mail you when its neccessary. Thanks.

  3. Thanks. U r uncommon nigerian. This info will go a long way to helping many youths, especially. God shall replenish ur coast. Amen!

  4. Good day, I want to use this medium to thank you for your help on company registration with the C.A.C

    Already, I am feeling like I am just a step away from being registered by that piece of information you provided.

    My question now is that who is a trustee?

    Can some one who is a founder/GO of a particular missionary body can as well be a trustee or among the board of trustees?

    Thanks for your help
    You are blessed.

  5. Thank you for this great piece of information. I am closer to my passion of serving humanity and making an impact while i still breath.

    God bless.

  6. Thanks a lot for the information.More than anything else, I want to give back especially to womanhood and childhood. Now,my desire to serve humanity takes a step onward.

    Bless you
    Martha K

  7. Eyitayo, u re awesome. The capsule of information u just gave means a lot to many people, including my humble self. Thank u and God bless u more.

  8. I have an orphanage Home. Please advice me on how to get support from cooperate bodies and individual. I run it all alone. Thanks

  9. I want open an ngo on gender and enviromental sustainability network.where can l get sponsor on d above initiative.tks

  10. Thanks so much for ur guideline,thou l av a foundation which l’ve been runing singlehandedly for years now but its not progressing as l want,pls l want to know how to get cooperate bodies for support or how can l develop it.
    Actually l’ve taken d step for registeration this month but l just dont no how to start fully and d urge to serve the less priveledge is upon me,pls kindly put me through.

  11. Thanks for ur guideline. I wnt to open Ngo, Project concerning! Youth Tranformation & Empowerment’ frm grass-root. Pls, kindly channel me on how/way to get financial backup. God bles U

  12. 10q! l run an ngo, nt yet register with c.a.c but approved by min. of edu., lagos state 2go run d senior secondary sch. 2 organise free seminars on leadership qualities, career talk & welfarism. how can l get sponsor?

  13. Thank u so much for ur endorsement, at list u have made me to strt some, some pple say it is very hard to have any NGO bt u have made it easy for me.

  14. Am available to volunteer in any of the existing ngo around ikeja ogba or ketu axis and willing to help to raise funds.

  15. Thanks for this info. Please i want you to send me through my E-mail, the stages required by corperate affairs commission (CAC) to establish a non-govenmental organisation. Thanks.

  16. A friend is opening a an ngo for the less priviledge and my position is direct them on what to do. Infact I am now the direct pls give me a guide line on how to start. I am so confiuse I don’t know where to start from

  17. Ugo is impressed. Yet, i would want to find out if one can register an ngo in Abuja CAC, when the ngo is to be situated at Enugu?

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