Non-governmental organizations, commonly abbreviated NGOs, are independent entities often international in scope and shepherding thousands of employees, focus on world problems such as poverty, health care or women's rights. Unlike corporations, NGOs are not-profit. Real NGOs that are well-known include the Red Cross, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International.
In fiction, these organizations may be fictionalized versions of real NGOs, or entirely new organizations that might take on real or fantastic threats - say, an NGO that focuses on the threat of robot invasions. Such non-state actors tend to be supported by rich benefactors, either eccentric philanthropists or a shadowy council.
If they're not really that non-governmental, they're called "quango", short for "quasi-NGO".
Compare/contrast N.G.O. Superpower. Due to its profit motive, a Mega-Corp generally isn't counted as a true NGO despite its non-governmental nature. A Fake Charity is when an individual or group masquerades as one of these in order to make money for themselves.
- Solomon, including the STNJ, from Witch Hunter Robin, with shades of Church Militant.
- Nergal Heavy Industries in Martian Successor Nadesico, straddling the line between this and Mega-Corp.
- Celestial Being in Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
- Terminal in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
- Several characters in Mahou Sensei Negima! mention that most mages on Earth work with various NGOs across the planet.
- District 9: Multinational United likes to think of themselves as this. However, they are more of a Mega-Corp
- SPECTRE from the James Bond flims. They're a terrorist organization, who ironically use beneficent NGOs as covers.
- The Men in Black become this after cutting off ties with the United States government.
- Isaac Asimov's "The Encyclopedists": The Board of Trustees believe that the Encyclopedia Foundation shouldnt be involved with local politics due to their Imperial charter to preserve all scientific knowledge in the galaxy and publish a Encyclopedia Galactica. The local Kingdoms, however, point out that the Emperor and their navy is very far away, while they are very close. Each one is interested in taking their technology for themselves.
- The Wilmarth Foundation in the Cthulhu Mythos, which attempts to deal with the Great Old Ones.
- The Howard Foundation in Robert A. Heinlein's Future History, whose purpose of extending human lifespans through selective breeding.
- EarthGuard and Wings Over the World in Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju. EarthGuard is the local Who Ya Gonna Call group, but unlike the Diogenes, the Unnamables or the Opera Ghost Agency, which (at least nominally) report to a government, they're an NGO covering the whole Pacific Rim and have an internal faction that is not operating out of people's best interests. WOtW meanwhile is a supposed humanitarian relief charity which is actually what you'd get if a Gerry Anderson-style organisation (our viewpoint character is a certain Captain Paul Metcalf, codenamed Scarlet) was being run by a vampiric version of a sixties supervillainess.
- The United Nations Tribunal for International Law, or UNTIL. In the Champions universe, they're often the first line of defense when supervillains drop by for a visit.
- The Aeon Society, later Aeon Trinity, in White Wolf's Trinity Universe.
- ComStar and the Word of Blake in BattleTech, who are in charge of interstellar communications in the Inner Sphere.
- BSAA (the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) from Resident Evil.
- Philanthropy from Metal Gear, an NGO formed by Solid Snake and Otacon to prevent the proliferation of Metal Gears.
- Vanguard, a special branch of the U.N. in City of Heroes. A joint task force of both heroes and villains, its primary goal is to protect Earth from invasions by the Rikti and other extraterrestrial sources.
- The Carrington Institute in Perfect Dark.
- The Grey Wardens in Dragon Age: Origins.
- The Brotherhood of Nod Command & Conquer. GDI was a quango in Tiberian Dawn, as an autonomous organization answerable to and primarily funded by the United Nations Security Council (by Tiberian Sun it pretty much was the government for significant parts of the human population, and it had become official by Tiberian Twilight at the latest).
- The SCP Foundation, which stands for "Special Containment Procedures," is a secret international organization dedicated to containing anomalous objects and creatures.
- WOOHP (World Organization of Human Protection) from Totally Spies!. Their background is a bit unclear; they have connections with several governments but don't rely on them.
- The Center in the Martin Mystery cartoon, also an MiB agency.
- The Kids Next Door of Codename: Kids Next Door, an international organization of kids fighting adult tyranny.
- ISIS where Archer works. Deconstructed - At the start of Season 5, it's raided and shut down by the FBI, and the protagonists are arrested on treason charges.
- The Order of The White Lotus has ascended to this status in The Legend of Korra. They transcend national boundaries and are recognized by all governments. Not only do they protect and train the Avatar, but their mission is also to safeguard and promote the public welfare, especially when dealing with global threats such as the Red Lotus.
- In Afghanistan, many NGOs provide aid and assistance to the Taliban and their allied insurgent groups. Sometimes the Taliban demands medical aid as a condition for the NGO to operate in their area, while other times the NGO actually supports Islamic jihad. When these groups are identified and targeted, their governments refuse to admit they colluded with the enemy to avoid being shamed.
- The National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), originally created by Clive Cussler for his Dirk Pitt Adventures novels featuring Dirk Pitt, then defictionalized. The fictional version was the oceanic equivalent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Real Life version is an NGO and not likely run as it is portrayed in the novels.
- The Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia as part of its mission "to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally", is an arguable defictionalization of the Encyclopedia Foundation.