Financial Leadership Cohorts

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.


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 is limited to 18 participants.

What you’ll receive:

  • 6 monthly three-hour online learning sessions on topics including understanding business models, communicating financial information, and building relationships with staff and board around finance
    • All the sessions will be held virtually using 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 senior staff member 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 January of 2024. The cohort groups will be open to Executive Directors and senior staff members of nonprofit organizations both located in and primarily serving communities anywhere in Minnesota.  

  • Tuesday Cohort Group – Training sessions for this group will be held from 9 am – 12 pm on the following dates (Tuesdays) January 23, February 20, March 19, April 16, May 14 and June 4 
  • Wednesday Cohort Group – Training sessions for this group will be held from 9 am – 12 pm on the following dates (Wednesdays) January 24, February 21, March 20, April 17, May 15, June 5  

Cohort selection timeline and process 

Everyone interested in participating in a Financial Leadership Cohort group is required to complete the online application form. Propel staff will review the applications and select cohort participants based on criteria including: 1) alignment of participant goals with training session content, 2) availability attend cohort training sessions, 3) alignment with eligibility guidelines.  

  • Application period open November 6th – December 1st 


Cohort participants will pay a fee of $500. Partial scholarships are available for participants with financial barriers. Instructions for requesting a partial scholarship will be sent to all applicants selected for a cohort group. 


Contact Sara Wessling, Training Director 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