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.

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Applications are currently closed for Financial Leadership Cohorts. If you are interested in applying in the future, please sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

For questions about the cohort, please contact Propel’s Training Director, Sara Wessling.

Cohort Details

Why participate in 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
  • 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 August 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) August 13, September 10, October 22, November 12, December 10, and January 14
  • Wednesday Cohort Group – Training sessions for this group will be held from 9 am – 12 pm on the following dates (Wednesdays) August 14, September 11, October 23, November 13, December 11, and January 15

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 June 3 to June 28. 
  • Application deadline is June 28 at 5 pm 
  • Cohort participants will be notified by July 15
  • Cohort sessions begin August 13 for the Tuesday group, and August 14 for the Wednesday group 


Cohort participants will pay a fee of $600. 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

Propel’s Financial Leadership Cohorts have supports over 100 nonprofit financial leaders over the past seven years. Here’s what a few of them have to save about their experiences!

“This cohort has empowered me and given me tools that I know I will return to again and again. I’m so grateful for this experience, it’s been the best professional development that I’ve engaged in.” – Riley Burns, Managing Director, Tofte Lake Center  (cohort participant January-June 2024)

Anne Leland, Executive Director of Exodus Lending

Peer Learning & Financial Empowerment

“While the hard skills of interpreting financial reports is something I gained in the cohort, the most beneficial aspect was being in a shared community with peers, and learning that I have financial management expertise to bring to the cohort group. Everyone brought something to the table that, as a whole,  made for a very strong financial leader if we leaned on each other to ask questions and provide support. Our jobs, and particularly the internal-facing financial management and leadership portion of our roles, often feels isolating and having a group of peers to validate that and lean on was game-changing!” – Anne Leland, Executive Director of Exodus Lending (cohort participant from January – June 2024)

Photo: Anne Leland works at her desk at Exodus Lending

Barb Prindle, Development Coordinator at Sweet Potato Comfort Pie

Resources, Community, & Knowledge

“The most beneficial part of joining a cohort was being in a community with other nonprofit organizations and leaders. Nonprofit work can be very isolating. Money is always a challenge, so as one cohort person said you have to be very cautious who you talk to if you’re facing difficulties because you can lose funding opportunities if it looks like you’re “having problems” — and yet ironically we ALL have problems because we work in nonprofits. Having a safe, respectful place to overcome that isolation and learn about others’ struggles and strategies was so valuable. 

Also, the Propel team. WOW. You all are just incredibly supportive. I took full advantage of what was offered and reached out to individuals at Propel for follow up if I needed to dive more deeply into something brought up at a session. I attended technical assistance sessions as well. You really created a whole web of support through this process. It was far more than I expected going into it. I feel plugged into resources, a community, and knowledge that I can call on in the future.” – Barb Prindle, Development Coordinator at Sweet Potato Comfort Pie (cohort participant from January – June 2024)

Photo: Barb Prindle, Development Director; Rose McGee, Founder; Ashlee Martinez Deleon, Project Manager pose together at  Sweet Potato Comfort Pie’s MLK Holiday of Service event in January 2023.