Financial Leadership Cohort

Financial leadership can be challenging and sometimes scary. You may not always feel like you have the knowledge or tools to confidently lead your organization’s financial management. Yet organizations that thrive are those whose leaders approach finance with confidence, even if they don’t have all the answers. The goal of the Financial Leadership Cohort is to develop the financial leadership capacity needed for nonprofits to be sustainable and financially healthy.


Spring 2021 Financial Leadership Cohorts applications are under review. We will accept applications for our fall cohort later this summer.

Cohort Details

Why apply for the Financial Leadership Cohort?

Through cohort sessions, you will become more knowledgeable, confident, and savvy about nonprofit finance. We’ll target results for your organization’s needs and help develop a culture of financial understanding at your nonprofit – and within the sector. You’ll gain:

  • Confidence in your ability as a financial leader
  • Increased knowledge of nonprofit financial management concepts
  • Progress on self-identified outcomes
  • Improvement in your organization’s financial position

Each cohort group will be limited to 15 participants.

What you’ll receive:

  • 6 monthly three-hour learning sessions on topics including understanding business models, communicating financial information, and building relationships with staff and board around finance
    • At this time, because of COVID-19, the plan is for all the sessions to be offered virtually via Zoom
  • Support and guidance to develop financial management tools (dashboard report, cash flow, trend analysis)
  • A peer network for support and sharing
  • One-on-one coaching with Propel Nonprofits’ finance experts

Eligibility & Deadlines

The ideal candidate

  • Executive Director (or equivalent staff member position) in the role of managing your nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization’s finances without a formal finance background
  • From a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota (or primarily serving Minnesota communities) with a budget size between $300,000 and $3,000,000
  • In a role where you have an opportunity to work with your organization’s board of directors and/or finance committee
  • Eager to grow professionally and use new tools to bring a positive change to your nonprofit and the sector

Cohort Options

Two cohort groups will be selected to begin in the spring of 2021. One cohort will be specifically for individuals who are Executive Directors (or equivalent staff member positions) of organizations based in Greater Minnesota. The other cohort group will be open to Executive Directors (or equivalent staff member positions) of organizations based anywhere in Minnesota.

  • Greater Minnesota Cohort – Training sessions for this group will be held on the following dates (Tuesdays) 4/6/2021, 5/11/2021, 6/8/2021, 7/6/2021, 8/10/2021, 9/14/2021
    • Participants in this cohort will work for nonprofits that are both located and serve communities in Greater Minnesota.
  • Minnesota Statewide Cohort – Training sessions for this group will be held on the following dates (Wednesdays) 4/7/2021, 5/5/2021, 6/9/2021, 7/7/2021, 8/11/2021, 9/1/2021
    • Participants in this cohort will work for nonprofits that are located and serve communities in Minnesota statewide, including the Twin Cities Metro area.

Dates & deadlines

  • Applications were due March 12, 2021 by 5pm 
  • Applicants selected for the cohort will be notified by March 25th 
  • Cohort sessions begin April 6, 2021, for the Greater Minnesota group and April 7, 2021 for the other cohort group.  


Applicants selected to participate in the cohort will pay a fee of $500. Scholarships are available for participants with financial barriers. Information about how to request a scholarship will be sent to applicants who are selected for the cohort.


Contact Sara Wessling, Training Manager at or 612.249.6675.

Past Participants

“The cohort exceeded my expectations. A lot of time you feel lonely in the work you do as an ED of a nonprofit because everyone is moving quickly to get stuff done while wearing many hats. This leadership cohort gave me both financial skills and helped me build my confidence on a strategic level. It also gave me new relationships.” – Mary Uran, Girls on the Run

“I knew it would be valuable, but the ways it was valuable was more than I expected. I came away with a much clearer sense of how to look at financial leadership in our organization, which areas we were doing well in, and which we needed to give attention. Going in, I was overwhelmed. The combination of training plus examples from others in the room really gave me a sense of where we were at, which helped me to prioritize where we wanted to focus resources.” – Stephanie Thompson, Ten Thousand Things Theater

“I think for many women in leadership roles, there can be a sense of imposter syndrome when it comes to finances. This has been both a good affirmation of ‘you really do know what you’re talking about’ while at the same time giving me some good tools in terms of communicating.” – Lyla Brown, Grand Marais Arts Colony

“I would encourage people who come from backgrounds where money was a source of stress or conflict to really think about joining this cohort. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money and, now that I’m in charge of an organization, I tend to be overly conservative because I am worried about overspending or making an inadvertent misstep. This program was a great opportunity to build my skills and confidence so that I can be a better steward of the organization’s resources.” – Summra Shariff, Twin Cities Diversity in Practice