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Setting up a NPO

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

NPOs: A Closer Look


Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs), also known as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or charities, are organizations driven by a mission to serve the public good rather than generating profit. This mission can encompass a wide range of areas, including:

  • Social welfare: Providing services to underprivileged communities, advocating for social justice, and promoting human rights.

  • Education: Offering educational opportunities, promoting literacy, and supporting research and development.

  • Environment: Protecting natural resources, promoting sustainability, and combating climate change.

  • Health: Providing healthcare services, raising awareness about public health issues, and supporting medical research.

  • Arts and culture: Supporting artistic expression, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting cultural exchange.


NPOs come in various shapes and sizes, each with its unique structure and focus. Some common types include:

  • Foundations: Primarily grant-making organizations that support other NPOs working on specific issues.

  • Advocacy groups: Focus on influencing public policy through lobbying, education, and campaigning.

  • Service organizations: Directly provide services to their beneficiaries, such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and educational programs.

  • Membership organizations: Represent the interests of a specific group of people, such as trade unions, professional associations, and patient advocacy groups.

  • Religious organizations: Promote religious values and provide social services inspired by their faith.


NPOs fulfill diverse functions depending on their mission and type. Some of their key roles include:

  • Providing essential services: Filling gaps in government provision by offering vital services like healthcare, education, and social support.

  • Advocating for change: Pushing for policy changes that address social, environmental, and economic challenges.

  • Building community: Bringing people together around shared interests and fostering social cohesion.

  • Empowering individuals: Providing resources and opportunities for individuals to improve their lives and participate in their communities.

  • Raising awareness: Educating the public about important issues and mobilizing support for different causes.

Impact on Society:

NPOs play a crucial role in strengthening our communities and addressing critical challenges. Their impact can be seen in various ways:

  • Improved quality of life: NPOs directly help individuals and communities by providing essential services, advocating for their rights, and empowering them to overcome challenges.

  • Stronger civil society: NPOs contribute to a vibrant and engaged civil society by promoting democratic values, participation, and accountability.

  • Innovation and change: NPOs often pioneer new approaches to address social problems and drive positive change in policies and practices.

  • Environmental sustainability: NPOs play a key role in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development practices.

NPOs are not without their challenges, but their positive contributions to society are undeniable. 

Setting up a NPO

Setting up an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) in Hong Kong can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to understand the necessary steps and considerations. Here's a breakdown:

Choosing a Legal Structure:

There are two main options for NPOs in Hong Kong:

  • Company Limited by Guarantee: This is the most common structure, similar to a company but without shareholders. Directors guarantee a certain amount towards potential debts in case of winding down.

  • Society: A simpler structure ideal for smaller NPOs, but with potential limitations on fundraising and activities.

Registration Process:

  • Choose a name: Check availability through the Companies Registry and ensure it adheres to relevant guidelines.

  • Appoint directors and officers: You need at least one director and a company secretary (individually based in Hong Kong or with a local office).

  • Draft Articles of Association: This document outlines your NPO's objectives, governance structure, and other key aspects.

  • File necessary documents: This includes the Articles of Association, incorporation form, and payment of registration fees, with the Companies Registry or the Societies Registry depending on your chosen structure.

  • Obtain Business Registration Certificate: This is required for opening bank accounts and other business activities.

Additional Considerations:

  • Charitable Status: Applying for charitable status with the Inland Revenue Department can offer tax benefits and exemptions.

  • Accounting and Auditing: Maintain proper financial records and consider auditing requirements.

  • Fundraising and Compliance: Understand regulations and ethical practices for fundraising.

Resources and Support:

Establishing a successful NPO requires dedication, passion, and a strong understanding of the legal and financial landscape. With proper planning and support, you can make a positive impact on the Hong Kong community.

Bestar Professional Accounting Services and Role in Setting Up NPO in Hong Kong

Bestar offers services including:

  • Choosing the right legal structure for your NPO: This is crucial for factors like tax benefits, governance, and liability. Bestar can help you navigate the options and choose the one that best aligns with your mission and goals.

  • Completing the registration process: Setting up an NPO in Hong Kong involves various documentation and formalities. Bestar can guide you through these steps and ensure smooth registration with the relevant authorities.

  • Providing valuable guidance and support: Beyond just technicalities, Bestar can offer expert advice on best practices for managing an NPO effectively. This may include financial management, fundraising strategies, governance structures, and compliance with regulations.

Contact Bestar today!

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