SIZE: some (e.g. Greenpeace, Oxfam, International Committee
of the Red Cross, Medecins sans Frontieres) are large, multinational
bodies, with offices in many countries (and often multiple branches
within a single country), and large full-time and salaried staffs.
At the other extreme, I know of a number of "NGOs" that are in
practice one- or two-person operations, dependent on and run by
entirely voluntary (perhaps even part-time) effort.
"THEMATIC" SCOPE: in other words the types of events or activities
they are primarily concerned with - is it environment/human rights/
social issues/other? Are they campaigning groups? Watch-dog
organisations? Are they primarily concerned with education?
Emergency relief and REactive priorities, or emergency prevention
and PROactive priorities? Are they concerned with single and very
focused issues, or do they have a broader, multi-issue portfolio?
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: Compare large bodies such as Greenpeace, who take
on issues fron global to local (but anywhere in the world) scale,
with, for example, a European NGO whose work focuses only on a
specific country or region or issue overseas (e.g there is an Irish
NGO which focuses on development issues and human rights in East Timor);
and then there are purely local NGOs, concerned with purely local
"on our own doorstep" issues (e.g. protesting against a specific
waste dump or factory).