Academy for Cause and Community Engagement Leadership (ACCEL)

ACCEL is a development and fundraising learning curriculum including online courses, one-to-one coaching, and special events. The curriculum is adapted annually to meet emerging needs of the nonprofit sector.

Enhance your fundraising and marketing capacity with the Academy for Cause and Community Engagement Leadership (ACCEL) program.

The Forbes Funds, The Benter Foundation, and INFLUENCE|SG are offering advanced courses to equip Western Pennsylvania nonprofit leaders with tools to increase support and raise awareness for their organization. Based on the work of INFLUENCE|SG’s Managing Director, Derrick Feldmann, the ACCEL curriculum combines classroom-style learning, independent coaching, technical assistance and roundtable learning labs. Graduates earn a professional digital badge from The Forbes Funds, gain access to future ACCEL special events, and join a network of local ACCEL alumni.

The 2021 ACCEL program includes three cohorts: Development & Finance Scenario Planning; ACCEL Fundamentals; and Advanced ACCEL. In addition to virtual coursework, students from each cohort will have access to technical assistance, 1-to-1 coaching, and ACCEL Roundtables.

Based on the feedback from ACCEL 2020 participants, The Forbes Funds, in conjunction with Derrick Feldmann of INFLUENCE|SG, revised the ACCEL curriculum to address the needs of the sector in this unprecedented moment of disruption. In response to this feedback, the 2021 ACCEL program has been redesigned with these new features.

  • Three inclusive course tracks: Nonprofit Fundamentals: Development & Finance Scenario Planning, ACCEL Fundamentals and Advanced ACCEL
  • Online, virtual learning via Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar with an emphasis on small group and peer learning
  • One-to-one coaching with local development experts and ACCEL alumni 
  • Access to technical assistance sessions to address specific organizational campaigns and events
  • Roundtable Learning Labs designed to address emerging development topics
  • Guidance for developing fundraising and marketing plans in this new era

Nonprofit Fundamentals: Development & Finance Scenario Planning

Nonprofit Fundamentals: Development & Finance Scenario Planning

Cost: For more information, please reach out to Dr. Hannah for more information.

Apply Here: Application opens March 5th

Schedule: This course runs weekly on Tuesdays from 12-1pm and begins April 20th. 

 

This 12 week course prepares students for the ACCEL Fundamentals. The course includes:

  • 3 weeks of development & fundraising + 1 week of coaching 
  • 3 weeks of financial sustainability + 1 week of technical assistance coaching
  • 3 weeks of board development & governance + 1 week of technical assistance coaching
  • 3 weeks of strategic communication + 1 week of technical assistance coaching
  • Pre-ACCEL Curriculum with 60-minutes weekly sessions 
  • Technical Assisstance Coaching 
  • Graduates earn a Digital Badge

ACCEL Fundamentals

ACCEL Fundamentals offers participants the opportunity to build a solid foundation for their organization’s marketing and fundraising efforts in this new era. The course will begin on Tuesday, August 24th, and meet weekly for 8 weeks.

In the interest of safety and flexibility, all sessions will be offered online. There are no prerequisites for this course. Past Velocity and ACCEL graduates are also welcome to apply.

Apply Here!

Schedule: ACCEL Fundamentals runs weekly on Tuesdays from 8:30-10:00am. The  course begins on August 24th and ends on October 12th.

 

Cost: For more information, please reach out to Dr. Hannah for more information.

Participation in the ACCEL Fundamentals course includes the following.

  • A weekly 60-minute lecture with a Q&A discussion at the end
  • Access to independent coaching with ACCEL alumni
  • Guest speaker engagements with local development professionals
  • ACCEL Fundamentals curriculum
  • Access to individual coaching sessions
  • Access to technical assistance mini-grants
  • Gradutes earn a Silver ACCEL Digital Badge 

ACCEL Advanced

ACCEL Advanced equips participants with in-depth knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and movement building. These tools are essential for organizational growth and resiliency, particularly in times of uncertainty and disruption. The course will begin on Tuesday, August 24th, and will meet weekly for 8 weeks. 

In the interest of safety and flexibility, all sessions will be offered online. Students must have completed ACCEL Fundmentals. Past Velocity and ACCEL graduates are also welcome to apply.

Apply Here!

Schedule: ACCEL Fundamentals runs weekly on Tuesdays from 12:00-1:30 pm. The  course begins on August 24th and ends on October 12th.

Cost: For more information, please reach out to Dr. Hannah for more information.

Participation in the ACCEL Fundamentals course includes the following.

  • A weekly 60-minute lecture with a Q&A discussion at the end
  • Access to individual coaching 
  • Assisatnce in creating direct mail and review of direct mail with Derrick Feldmann
  • Guest speaker engagements with local development professionals
  • ACCEL Advanced curriculum
  • Weekly individual coaching sessions
  • Weekly individual technical assistance
  • Graduates earn a Gold ACCEL Digital Badge

Frequently Asked Questions

ACCEL courses have been restructured with new features to run virtually. Please get in touch should you have any additional questions.

When will ACCEL courses take place?

Nonprofit Essentials starts Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (and it runs for 16 weeks, ending in August) at 12PM. The ACCEL Advanced and Fundamentals course starts on Tuesday, August 24 & runs each Tuesday through Tuesday, October 12 (last class date). This will be all eight classes. Derrick will conduct both Fundamentals & Advanced classes on Tuesdays.

When do I need to apply by?

Nonprofit Essentials applications will open on March 1st. ACCEL Fundamentals & Advanced ACCEL applications will open in May 15th. Complete this application to apply to ACCEL Fundamentals or follow this link to apply for Advanced ACCEL. 

Where will courses take place?

Due to COVID 19, all courses take place via Zoom.

What are the prerequisites

There are non for Nonprofit Essentials or ACCEL Fundamentals. Those who complete Nonprofit Essentials will receive priority access to ACCEL Fundamentals the following year. The pre-req for Advanced ACCEL is ACCEL Fundamentals.

Will I get credits or a certification for completing this course?

Yes, all participants earn a Digital Badge from The Forbes Funds.

I can't afford this course. Can I apply for a scholarship?

Yes! Prospective participants may request a scholarship to cover the cost of the course by contacting Dr. Hannah here.

What is the anticipated Return on Investment (ROI)?

Each participating organization will receive a minimum of $4,425 in direct capacity building and technical assistance. Based on previous program years and program reviews, we estimate this ROI to be higher.

  • ACCEL Course Work:
    • Nonprofit Essentials: $250
    • ACCEL Fundamentals: $250
    • Advanced Fundamentals: $1000
  • Coaching Sessions: $675
  • Weekly Individual Technical Assistance: $3500
  • Total: $4,425 – $5, 175
Who is this course for?

Cause leaders with a basic understanding of fundraising and/or marketing.

What can I expect to learn?

Participants learn the fundamentals of effective marketing and fundraising. Sessions cover Messaging, Digital Engagement, Design, Multichannel Campaigns.

Is there an ACCEL Alumni network?

Yes, we hold special events and hold roundtables throughout the year. Get in touch with Dr. Hannah and request more information on the alumni network.

Upcoming Learning and Education Events

Please get in touch should you have any additional questions.

September 2021
November 2021
No event found!
ACCEL
Dr. Hannah Karolak

Hi, I am Dr. Hannah Karolak and I lead learning & education programs at The Forbes Funds. Our learning programs support current and future nonprofit leaders through coaching, mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development. Through partnerships with local universities, we are creating access to higher education for nonprofit professionals. Let me and our team of coaches support you in your journey to securing career mobility and greater leadership capacity.

Vision: The Forbes Funds learning and education programs support leaders as they navigate the changing demands of nonprofit work. Each of our learning programs include an aspect of coaching or mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development certification through digital badges, university credits, or continuous education credits. We use rapid prototyping to develop cohorts quarterly that respond to real-times needs of the sector. Through partnerships with our funders, we continue to offer these opportunities at low or no cost.

Contact the ACCEL team to learn more

Maria Paula Quintero Headshot with Pittsburgh buildings in the background

Hi, I am Maria Paula Quintero, a graduate student at Duquesne University where I am pursuing a master’s in business administration and a master’s in communications. At The Forbes Funds, I support management, marketing, and communications efforts for the ACCEL program. I was born in Cartagena, Colombia, but I have called Pittsburgh home for the past four years. I am bilingual in English and Spanish. I hope to keep serving and giving back to the community that has welcomed me.

PRODUCED BY:
Influence SG logo
SUPPORTED BY:
MANAGED BY:
The Forbes Funds logo