What is HoCo Excel?

HoCo Excel, Howard County’s Nonprofit Excelerator, is a partnership between ACS, the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, and the Community Foundation of Howard County to help nonprofits increase their impact. HoCo Excel will provide the tools, resources, and education for nonprofits of all levels to bring their impact to new heights!

The Two Components of HoCo Excel

Sector-wide Training

ACS will hold regular training workshops, which will be open to all Howard County nonprofits. These workshops will be interactive and experiential and provide tools that participants can use to put what they’ve learned into practice. Based on a framework for social sector excellence called the Performance Imperative, the training program will focus on the key elements of successful nonprofits, such as governance, financial sustainability, management essentials, program development and measurement, and organizational culture.

Nonprofit Excelerator Cohort

The 2nd component of this initiative will be a cohort of 5 nonprofits that will be selected for more intense, individualized support. This will include grant funding, one-on-one coaching, and other customized resources.

The Community Foundation (CF) will handle the application process, which should open in late spring of 2024, with selections made after.

Upcoming Sessions

Financial Sustainability (2-part series)

Fundraising is often the thing most nonprofit leaders - and their Board of Directors - dread the most. But it is a critical function of every nonprofit, not just to keep the lights on in the short term but to build long term financial sustainability. This two-part series will focus on understanding what motivates different types of funding sources, identifying the funding mix that makes sense for your organization, and developing a successful fundraising plan for long term stability and resilience. This series is designed to build your confidence in your fundraising capabilities and give you the tools and resources to succeed! We encourage you to attend with your Board President, Treasurer, and/or Fundraising Chair.

Part 2-Developing an Effective Fundraising Plan: Tuesday, April 16, 9:30AM-12:30PM

This hands-on workshop will cover:

  • Developing a comprehensive, step-by-step plan for more intentional, targeted, and effective fundraising
  • Examining the strategies needed to implement an effective fundraising plan, including how to diversify your fundraising streams for long term sustainability
  • Evaluating your fundraising plan- what worked and what didn't?


As part of the initial launch of HoCo EXCEL, Howard County’s Nonprofit Excelerator, this series is free, but registration is required. Please register here.


Effective Proposal Writing & Budgeting (2-part series)

Grants are one of the primary sources of funding for nonprofits yet many grantmakers say a significant amount of the grant proposals they receive do not provide them with the information they need in a clear and concise manner. Budgets are also one of the first things funders look at when reviewing proposals, yet some don’t reflect the proposed scope of work.

In this interactive, two-part series, you will learn the best practices and common mistakes in writing compelling proposals and discover what funders are really looking for in grant proposals and budgets. You will have an opportunity to draft essential parts of a proposal and receive feedback from class participants during the proposal workshop.

Part 1–Writing Powerful Proposals: Tuesday, May 14, 9:30AM-12:30PM

This workshop will cover:

  • The elements of a compelling and persuasive proposal and how to incorporate them into your proposal
  • What funders see as red flags with key do’s and don’ts
  • How to receive and use feedback whether or not your proposal is funded

Part 2–Preparing Proposal Budgets that Make Sense: Tuesday, June 4, 9:30AM-12:30PM

This workshop will cover:

  • Building a comprehensive project budget that accurately reflects your proposal
  • Determining the right amount to ask for in your funding request
  • Tracking your budget once the grant has been received


As part of the initial launch of HoCo EXCEL, Howard County’s Nonprofit Excelerator, this series is free, but registration is required. Please register here.

Program Partners