Community-based organizations, or CBOs, are local non-profit groups that works to generate improvements within a community on the local level. They are basically the community development process in the form of a formal organization. They are usually locally formed, locally staffed, and their actions are specific to the location they operate in. Most CBOs are mainly volunteer organizations, with few paid positions as most of their funding is delegated towards completing the group’s objectives. Their local status also means that they may be limited in what resources they have access to, depending on the geographical location of the CBO and the community it serves.
Since they are so localized, a CBO is only going to tackle issues within the community they operate in. This does not mean that CBOs only focus on minor things; large scale issues like crime and poverty are common areas of interest for CBOs. These groups are free to look at issues that exist outside of their community that are affecting the community itself, but they will just look at how those issues impact things within that particular space. In some instances, a CBO may collaborate on an issue outside of its community with another CBO. This usually happens when there is some overlap in regards to their areas of interest, such as shared geographic boundaries between the two communities. They may also look at how a larger issue is being handled in other communities and by other CBOs in order to find guidance or alternative solutions. Otherwise, it will remain within a specific community and not venture outside of it.
It should be noted that will most CBOs are considered to be a type of non-profit and may operate similarly, they are not the same thing. Non-profits are usually large operations that have a particular area of focus and methodology that they are addressing through multiple projects and actions. A CBO is far more limited, usually handling a single project pertaining to an area of focus purely within the community they are present in. Aside from the collaboration exception mentioned previously, a CBO will not exist outside of the community they act in. They can be a part of or connected to a larger organization like a regular non-profit, but they will not act as a branch of that organization outside of their geographic focus.2 This does not mean that communities going through the community development process are limited to working with either a CBO or a larger non-profit; they can work with both if they so choose.