The self-government reform has equipped the local councils with a wide range of significant instruments for influencing local economic structures, supporting initiatives of the local community, attracting outside investors, developing fiscal policy, and managing communal property, etc. Nevertheless, the actual operations of self-government depend on particular people and their capacity to fulfil the function of local authorities.The article presents the results of research designed to identify factors that exert an influence on the activity of local authorities in the process of stimulating socio-economic growth in the analysed communes, and to determine the role of non-governmental organizations in the process of stimulating the activity in these regions. The results of the conducted analyses have made it possible to formulate the following conclusions.In the active communes the members of local councils were better educated, their vocational structure was more diversified, and they mostly represented a pro-market orientation. In the management of such active communes the strategic and long-term approach was dominating. These communes had successes in obtaining non-budgetary means and were creating better conditions for the development of business activity. The inhabitants of communes where the local government was active usually indicated heads of village authorities or mayors as leaders. The communes with a poorly developed network of the non-government organizations, selected for the survey, showed a very limited participation of the local community in the socio-economic life.