A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a citizen-based association that operates independently of government, usually to deliver resources or serve some social or political purpose.The World Bank classifies NGOs as either operational NGOs, which are primarily concerned with development projects, or advocacy NGOs, which are primarily concerned with promoting a cause.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is a non-governmental organization. As such, its standards are voluntary, but many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structures of their countries, and ISO standards have found their way into many laws. Information technology professionals, for example, are probably familiar with the ISO/IEC 27000 series of standards for IT security management.