Helping nonprofit organizations across the state develop their capacity to operate more efficiently and sustainably in order to advance their missions and growth.

Department of Commerce logo

The Nonprofit Accelerator Program is designed to help small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations advance their mission, growth, and sustainability by improving operational excellence and efficiencies and reducing risk. 

Applications are now closed, but check back with us for future opportunities!

Click here to watch a recording of the information session we hosted on December 14, 2022, about the Nonprofit Accelerator, and scroll down to learn more.

The Maryland Nonprofit Accelerator Program offers:

Finance and Accounting

All your financial needs, from technology, to payroll, to accounting, to payables, to CFO services, can be addressed by an expert CPA firm for as little as $500/month! Maryland Nonprofits partner, Topline CPAs, provides a full suite of financial services exclusively for start-up and emerging nonprofits. Contact us at to learn more.

Application-based comprehensive capacity-building cohorts

We offer comprehensive capacity building through training classes, multi-class cohorts, and consultation focused on all competencies critical to the effective management, stability, growth, ethics, and sustainability of nonprofits.

Capacity-building cohort programs:

NONPROFIT BASICS PROGRAM: For new, young organizations

This program is available to eligible participants free of charge through the Nonprofit Accelerator Program, and selection via a competitive application process is required to participate. 

The Nonprofit Basics series is a six-part training based on the Maryland Nonprofits’ Standards for Excellence program, which provides a model for organizations to gain a deeper understanding of their effectiveness, improve their decision-making, and minimize risks.

As a new nonprofit leader, these six workshops will introduce you to the basic practices and policies of well-run and responsibly governed nonprofit organizations. Learn what it takes to build a strong foundation while delivering effective programs that achieve mission impact!

Those who attend all six sessions and complete the homework will have the requirements in place to apply for our Standards for Excellence Basics recognition.

Successful completion of the Nonprofit Basics series is a prerequisite for enrolling in the Maryland Nonprofits Leadership Accelerator Program. Qualified organizations may be able to opt-out of Nonprofit Basics with approval from the Maryland Nonprofits team.

LEADERSHIP ACCELERATOR PROGRAM: For established, experienced organizations

This program is available to eligible participants free of charge through the Nonprofit Accelerator Program, and selection via a competitive application process is required to participate. Participation in the Nonprofit Basics Program is a prerequisite to beginning the Leadership Accelerator Program, though some eligible organizations may be able to opt-out of this requirement.

Maryland Nonprofits’ Leadership Accelerator Program amplifies resource development and sustainability. It is the primary training and one-on-one coaching component for experienced nonprofit leaders and organizations that are focused on transitioning their organizations to the next level.

Those accepted into Leadership Accelerator will engage in a six-month, cohort-based program. The program includes training, executive coaching, and strategy development facilitated by Maryland Nonprofits’ dynamic team of experienced nonprofit leaders. During these six months, participants will attend sessions on strengthening staff capacity, effectively engaging their board of directors, increasing their organizational profile, and communicating impact.

This experience is designed to have a demonstrative impact on the executive director’s /CEO’s leadership practice, organizational culture, board engagement, program alignment and implementation, and fundraising outcomes.

Leadership Accelerator faculty and staff include experienced executive directors/CEOs, with current and former practitioners that bring decades of expertise in the areas of resource development, data and evaluation, communications and marketing, labor law, human resources, and organizational development.

Capacity-building cohort application information:

Cohort FAQs

Two cohort experiences will begin in early 2023: Nonprofit Basics and the Leadership Accelerator. Participation in these cohorts is free of charge for eligible nonprofits selected through a competitive application process.

The same application form is used for both cohorts. If accepted, the selection committee will utilize the information submitted to determine which program is a better fit for your organization.

Click here to watch a recording of the information session we hosted on December 14, 2022.

Who should attend each class session?

  • Up to two participants from your organization may attend each class. One of those must be the CEO/President/Executive Director, who should attend every session.

Are classes in-person or virtual?

  • All classes will be held virtually using Zoom
  • Participants should have a high-speed Internet connection and are expected to participate from a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Participants are expected to appear on camera in the Zoom meeting.

Is there a fee to attend the program?

  • There is no fee to participate in the Nonprofit Basics or Leadership Accelerator programs.

What is the time commitment to participate?

  • Participants of both cohorts can expect to spend time outside of the classroom completing assignments. Several assignments may require engaging the organization’s staff and/or Board of Directors.
  • Minimum time commitments are included below, and organizations that devote more time to the “homework” assignments will see greater results.
    • Nonprofit Basics: Approximately five hours a month for 2.5 months
    • Leadership Accelerator: Approximately five hours a month for six months

What are the class schedules?

  • Nonprofit Basics
    • February 14, 2023: Mission, Program Outcomes, and Fundraising Essentials
    • February 28, 2023: Financial Management and Fundraising
    • March 7, 2023: Leadership: Employees and Volunteers
    • March 21, 2023: Leadership: Board of Directors
    • April 11, 2023: Fundraising Regulations and Compliance
    • April 18, 2023: Public Policy Advocacy and Public Affair
  • Leadership Accelerator – Detailed schedule available soon!
    • Starting March 23, 2023
    • Sessions once a month for six months

How do I reach out for additional support or guidance?

  • Contact us at!
Application FAQs

Where do I apply?

What are the steps in the application process?

  • The application deadline is January 18, 2023
  • Applicants will complete an organization profile to provide additional detailed information about the organization’s background and impact
  • Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview
  • Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions no later than two weeks before the program start date

How do I know which cohort program is the best fit for me?

  • If you are unsure which program to choose, indicate interest in both cohorts on your application. The committee will review your information and invite you to participate in the cohort that best matches your needs.

Why are fiscally sponsored programs/organizations not eligible?

  • Much of the course curriculum relates to a governing board, policies, and procedures that would be handled by the fiscal sponsor. Therefore, the content will not apply to fiscally sponsored programs/organizations.

How do I reach out for additional support or guidance?

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Eligibility Criteria for Nonprofit Basics and Leadership Accelerator:

  • Independent 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization
  • Incorporated in Maryland
  • Able to commit to at least five hours each month for six months
  • Fiscally-sponsored programs are ineligible

Participation Expectations:

  • Your CEO/President/Executive Director must attend each session
  • One additional employee or Board member can attend sessions with the CEO/President/Executive Director
  • Applicants selected for Nonprofit Basics should be prepared to begin classes on February 14, 2023, and must be available to attend all six classes. See the full class schedule.

Selection Criteria:

  • Racial/ethnic diversity of organizational leadership. 
  • Readiness to dedicate time and effort to participate in sessions and engage in organizational change ‘homework assignments’
  • The selection committee will prioritize building cohorts with a diverse representation of mission areas, populations served, and geographic areas, including urban and rural areasSmall, rurally located, and people of color-led nonprofits are encouraged to apply!

Application process:

  • Complete and submit your online application by January 18, 2023
  • Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview
  • Applicants selected for the Nonprofit Basics cohort will be notified of acceptance no later than two weeks before the program start date
How to apply

We invite you to click here to complete your online application. For a preview of the application questions, click here to download a PDF.

The application form is the same for both capacity-building cohorts. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions and Eligibility Guidelines, located above, before beginning your application.

The deadline to submit your application is January 18, 2023.

Sign Up for Maryland Nonprofits Updates

A-Z resource on nonprofit best practices

Advocating for the interests of families and youth

Unifying efforts across Maryland to support all Latino and immigrant populations.

Promoting a thriving and effective nonprofit sector