Nonprofit FAQs


What is Nonprofit and NGO Studies?

Nonprofit and NGO Studies is a center at NIU focused on nonprofit excellence. We offer a Nonprofit and NGO Studies (NNGO) and a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Nonprofit and NGO Studies to NIU students; act as a resource for researchers; offer tools, training and events for nonprofit leaders; and promote research in topic areas that align with the Nonprofit and NGO Studies mission.

What is Nonprofit and NGO Studies’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 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 Nonprofit and NGO Studies work with nonprofit organizations?

Nonprofit and NGO Studies offers workshops, trainings and networking events throughout the year for nonprofit leaders in the northern Illinois region. Beyond the regional focus, we have a presence at select national and international conferences focused on the nongovernmental sector. We can also act as a source for interns and volunteers by drawing from Nonprofit and NGO Studies majors and students from other departments who are interested in gaining practical experience with nonprofit organizations. The Nonprofit and NGO Studies major emphasizes engaged learning opportunities for students meaning that they take part in service-learning activities within nonprofit organizations. 

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

Nonprofit and NGO Studies 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 Nonprofit and NGO Studies or call (815) 753-4410.  

Contact Us

Center for Nonprofit and
NGO Studies
Zulauf Hall 114

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