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Propel Nonprofits business loans review

Working capital loans and more for Midwestern 501(c)(3)s.

  • Best for established nonprofits based in the northern Midwest region.
  • Pick something else if your nonprofit is at least three years old.

Details

Min. Amount$20,000
Max. Amount$600,000
Loan Term5 to 180 months
APRStarting from 6.5%
RequirementsBe an established and registered as a nonprofit and be based in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota or South Dakota.

Is Propel Nonprofits legit?

Yes. Propel Nonprofits is a community financial development institution (CDFI) that specializes in nonprofit financing. It clearly outlines the type of information it collects and how that information is used in its privacy policy, and its website is encrypted to keep your data safe.

How much will this loan cost me?

Propel Nonprofits offers term loans from $20,000 to $600,000. These are designed to act as working capital to help nonprofits keep programs afloat or expand. APRs start at 6.5%, and include a $500 closing fee and loan terms last up to 15 years.

You can use our calculator to estimate the potential monthly cost for your nonprofit.

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How Propel Nonprofits financing works

The amount your nonprofit is eligible for, along with the APR and term you receive, will depend on factors like your business model, collateral, cash flow and future projects. Propel Nonprofits will work with you to determine the best financing solution for your business’s unique setup and goals.

What do I need to qualify?

To qualify for a business loan from Propel Nonprofits, your business must:

  • Registered 501(c)(3)
  • Established operating history
  • Located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota or South Dakota

What information do I need to apply?

Propel Nonprofits asks for the following documents from applicants:

  • Three years of audits or 990s
  • Balance sheets and income statements
  • Operating budget
  • 12-month cashflow projections
  • Corporate borrowing resolution
  • Proof of tax-exempt status
  • Corporate bylaws
  • Articles of incorporation

What industries does Propel Nonprofits work with?

Propel Nonprofits works with nonprofit businesses in a variety of industries, including health care, housing, education, arts, community development and social services. But funding isn’t limited to just these fields — reach out to Propel Nonprofits to see if your business works in an eligible industry.

What other types of financing does Propel Nonprofits offer?

In addition to working capital term loans, Propel Nonprofits offers the following types of financing to eligible 501(c)(3)s:

Lines of credit

$20,000 to $600,000

1% annual fee

Short-term facility projects

$50,000 to $1 million

None listed

Long-term facility mortgage

$50,000 to $1 million

None listed

Recovery grants for nonprofits affected by COVID-19

Propel Nonprofits offered grants up to $13,000 to nonprofits that are led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) or service members of these communities. To qualify, your nonprofit must have been at least one year old and have an organizational budget between $100,000 to $2 million.

Grants were awarded based on general operating costs. Proposals for funding were due by October 8, 2002.

Pros and cons

Propel Nonprofits is a solid option for nonprofits in the Midwest — but you’re out of luck if your nonprofit is based outside its limited reach.

  • Works exclusively with nonprofits
  • Long loan terms up to 15 years
  • Tailored financing with custom terms
  • Not available to startups
  • Extremely limited state availability
  • Closing fee of $500

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Select your desired loan amount, annual revenue, time in business and personal credit score, then click Show Loans. Be sure to confirm with your lender that your nonprofit is eligible for funding.

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Propel Nonprofit reviews and complaints

Propel barely has any online reviews — positive or negative. That’s surprising for such a small and specialized financial institution. It doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot page, nor does it have mentions from former borrowers on popular forums like Reddit. And while it has Facebook and Yelp pages, it only scores a 3.7 out of 5 stars based on three reviews.

How do I apply?

You can download the application on the Propel Nonprofits website and fill it out on your own. But you might want to reach out to a loan officer to discuss your options first.

  1. Visit Propel Nonprofits website and click Apply for a Loan.
  2. Click Nonprofit loan application under Ready to apply? to download a PDF copy.
  3. Fill out the application either using a PDF reader or by hand.
  4. Print the application and all relevant documents listed under Attachments.
  5. Sign and date your loan application.
  6. Email your application to one of Propel Nonprofits’ loan officers.

What happens after I apply?

After you email your application, a loan officer from Propel Nonprofits will reach out to you to discuss your financing options and confirm your details.

How do repayments work with Propel Nonprofits?

It depends on the terms of your loan. Review your loan documents to make sure it’s clear when your repayments are due. If possible, sign up for autopay. That way, you won’t have to take time out of your work schedule to manually make a payment each time it’s due.

If you have any questions about your loan balance, reach out to your loan officer or another member of Propel Nonprofits’ team.

Want to look into your other options? Check out our guide to nonprofit business loans or learn more about your business loan options.

Frequently asked questions

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We rate business loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

Read the full methodology of how we rate business loan providers to get a better picture of what goes into each star rating.

Review by


Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

Expert review

Propel Nonprofits is one of the few lenders that offers business loans to nonprofits, let alone specializes in them. It tailors its loans to the unique structure of each nonprofit it works with. And rates start relatively low, especially for a nonbank lender.

It could be a great resource for nonprofits in the five Midwestern states it serves. But it only serves that small niche — and it’s not an option for startups or those just getting off the ground.

If your nonprofit is based outside its serviced region, compare more loan options to find financing.

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