Charlotte, NC (September 4, 2018) — Next Stage announced today that applications have opened for CULTIVATE, an incubator for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations designed to provide expert strategic and relational supports to emerging social cause organizations based in Mecklenburg County.  Now in its second year, the incubator focuses on increasing capacity for emerging nonprofits to sustain their operations and helps them build social capital toward achieving their missions and visions.

CULTIVATE’s second cohort will launch in January 2019 with six (6) participating nonprofits selected by a panel of community leaders, who will consider applications based on an in-depth RFP process. Organizations selected to participate must demonstrate a unique approach to addressing a challenge facing Charlotte and commit to a 12-month program designed and implemented by Next Stage.

The online application can be accessed here. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2018.

The curriculum for CULTIVATE includes one-on-one work and personalized coaching with the Next Stage team, online assignments managed through an online learning management system, small group workshops for the six participating organizations and community engagement activities designed to increase social capital. Core monthly topics covered by the incubator include:

  • Aligning Mission, Vision & Values
  • Building Program Fidelity
  • Strengthening the Board of Directors
  • Sourcing Volunteers and Staff
  • Seeking Partnerships That Make Sense
  • Building a Pipeline of Individual Donors
  • Mastering Grantsmanship
  • Leveraging for Sponsorship
  • Onboarding Earned Revenue
  • Designing Online Communications
  • Appealing to the Media/PR
  • Refining the Strategic Business Plan

The pilot year of CULTIVATE served three organizations: Charlotte is Creative, Learning Help Centers of Charlotte and Promising Pages.  Leaders from each organization have reported that the incubator has exceeded their expectations and are actively building and implementing new strategies across programming, marketing and resource development to deepen their impact and better execute on their missions. Next Stage has developed an impact measurement strategy to track participant outcomes and will publish an annual report summarizing results from CULTIVATE’s pilot year in January 2019.

“We are excited to grow CULTIVATE in 2019, doubling the number of organizations served in the incubator’s second year,” Josh Jacobson, Managing Director of Next Stage Consulting said.  “Supporting the growth of the first cohort over the past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career thus far, and we are eager to work with many more emerging nonprofits as CULTIVATE expands.”

In addition to Josh Jacobson’s leadership of the incubator, Next Stage’s Project Development Manager Caylin Haldeman will serve as its project manager.

The selection panel for CULTIVATE includes Dianne Bailey (US Trust), Kellie Cartwright (United Way of Central Carolinas), Jennifer DeWitt (Duke Energy), Charlie Elberson (Reemprise Fund), Blair Primis (OrthoCarolina) and Charles Thomas (Knight Foundation).  The panel will meet in late October 2018 to consider applications and make recommendations for participating organizations.  Following an in-depth selection process including site visits and interviews, the final cohort of six organizations will be announced in late December 2018.

Next Stage is able to provide this incubator at no cost to deserving nonprofits with generous support from funders like the Reemprise Fund. Next Stage is also pleased to have the Children and Family Services Center continue to serve as a fiscal sponsor for support from area grantmakers.

More about CULTIVATE can be found here.

About Next Stage:

 Next Stage is a strategy and implementation firm based in Charlotte, NC dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations and social cause start-ups “get to the next level.”  Led by Managing Director Josh Jacobson, Next Stage exists to serve the varied needs of nonprofits in the Carolinas through its three service lines: client partnerships, an incubator for emerging nonprofits and thought leadership research.

Since 2014, Next Stage has engaged with over 100 nonprofits through its organizational strengthening and resource development services, working tirelessly to ensure optimization in pursuit of mission. The firm’s incubator, CULTIVATE, launched in 2018, and early returns show that the program has helped participating organization take substantial steps toward deepening impact and increasing sustainability.  Finally, the firm is launching a thought leadership platform in early 2019, with plans to publish a research-informed report examining the challenges and opportunities of talent recruitment and retention in Charlotte’s nonprofit sector.

To learn more about Next Stage, visit our website at