Community Outreach Think Tank (COTT)

Creating, maintaining and growing a small nonprofit brings with it an array of challenges. Some are unavoidable, but the impact of many of them can be reduced by tapping into the experience and ideas of one’s peers. Unfortunately, running a nonprofit leaves little time for interacting with them.

The Heart of Gloucester County has decided to remedy that by sponsoring a free initiative for local nonprofits we are calling COTT: the Community Outreach Think Tank.  COTT’s mission is to provide a regular venue for small nonprofits in South Jersey to meet, mentor, share experiences, share technology, ask for advice and exchange ideas emerging from their day-to-day labors in helping those in need.

The Community Outreach Think Tank is designed explicitly to address the needs of organizations we refer to as “storefront nonprofits”; that is 501 (c) (3) grassroots charities working on one or several related problems in neighborhoods, towns or on a county-wide basis in South Jersey.  Unlike larger nonprofits a storefront nonprofit emerges from hyper-local experiences and local needs. It may be run from a desk in someone’s home or from a small office. Storefront nonprofits may have a modest budget for salaries or may rely entirely on volunteers. Their daily operations are often quite different in scope and specifics than those of large nonprofits, and their needs they respond to are frequently more urgent.  Despite the marked differences between large and small nonprofits, much of the material available online and in books on managing nonprofits is addressed to those with hefty budgets, a full-time staff and very ambitious mission statements.

We believe that COTT can help members more effectively meet their goals by fostering an environment in which local nonprofits can meet on a regular basis, exchange information and ideas with local peers and explore ways to pool resources to magnify the impact of their work. In addition, by sponsoring speakers and informational sessions  in which members can learn about new techniques and technologies in the nonprofit field, COTT can help its members keep abreast of innovative ideas.

For more information:

Bernadette Blackstock
People for People Foundation/Heart of Gloucester County

COTT Newsletter Feb_2016