Valley Nonprofit Resources

  • San Fernando Valley vista, Valley Nonprofit Resources

Welcome to Valley Nonprofit Resources

Established in 2007, Valley Nonprofit Resources offers both information and services to strengthen the 4,300 nonprofit organizations in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Welcome to VNR's website! Click on the buttons above and at the top to access many resources that can help you increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit. VNR is a program within the Center for Southern California Studies, at California State University Northridge.

October 2015 VNR Workshop at Strength United Featured Events
10/18//22 - Creating a Calendar to Effectively Engage Individual Donors
10/25//22 - Monetize Your Nonprofit’s Expertise
10/27//22 - Health & Human Services Nonprofit Leaders Roundtable

Featured Publications
September 2022 Featured Publications

New! 2022 Resource Directory for Nonprofit Capacity Building in Los Angeles County (.pdf)

October 2015 VNR Workshop at Strength United. ;Photo (above) of the San Fernando Valley courtesy of Randy Witt Productions.

In the News

Creating a Calendar to Effectively Engage Individual Donors Connecting with individuals for successful nonprofit fundraising is not a one-time operation. It requires persistent, multiple contacts orchestrated over time, and an annual calendar is the best way to organize this effort. In this free workshop, fundraising consultant Jan McElwee and communications consultant Susan Dunn will guide participants through the process of creating their own calendar. Sample monthly content will also be provided. Key questions to be covered include: How often is too often to communicate with donors and prospects? How soon can existing donors be asked to give again? What are the best communication vehicles?  What’s the best way to say thank you?  And in a nonprofit’s continuing recovery from the pandemic, how much should be said about COVID-related needs?  The workshop will be held by Zoom on Wednesday, October 18, 2022 from 4-5:30 pm.  Register for this Event.

Monetize Your Nonprofit’s Expertise Nonprofits can open another revenue stream by “monetizing” mission-related activities and materials.  Examples are (1) converting training manuals or programs for purchase by other nonprofits, (2) packaging information into a product that can be sold in print or online format, or (3) offering technical assistance consultation to other nonprofits for a fee. In this workshop you will learn how to assess your activities and materials for possible packaging, how to record videos with your smartphone for later sale, and how to re-package existing  materials into a new sellable product in print or online form. The workshop will also cover how to deliver the product, how to promote it with your free Google Adwords listings, possible tax implications, and real-life examples from local nonprofits.  The free workshop will be led by VNR Program Administrator and digital communications consultant Brian Frankel.  It will be held Tuesday, October 25, 2022 4-5:30 pm by Zoom. Register for this Event.

Health & Human Services Nonprofit Leaders Roundtable will meet by Zoom 4-5:30 pm on Thursday, October 27, 2022.  The meeting will be a chance for this group to reconnect, and for general networking and problem-solving - as has been done in all these meetings for the last five years. In addition, there’ll be a discussion on how Valley nonprofits are dealing with two important issues: (1) interpersonal violence as it affects staff, volunteers and clients (a new publication on this subject will be shared), and (2) “living with COVID” as Los Angeles and the rest of the world settles into some greater stability on this front - with intermittent surprises!  There won’t be a speaker, so there’ll be plenty of chances for participants to share activities and insights on both these topics, and to learn from peers.  The future of the Roundtable also will be discussed.  Register for this Free Event.

Giving USA 2022 Annual Report on Philanthropy According to this report, giving reached a record $484.85 billion in 2021, which is an increase of 4.0% in current dollars. However, after adjusting for inflation, giving actually decreased by 0.7%. Giving by individuals makes up the biggest portion of total giving at 67% with a total of $326.87 billion. Individual giving rose by 4.9%, although when adjusted for inflation it stayed relatively flat and only rose 0.2%. The next largest portion of total giving is giving by foundations, which grew by 3.4% to total 19% of giving. Giving by foundations includes grants made by independent, community, and operating foundations, which in 2021 totaled $90.88 billion. Access a summary of this report at Giving USA.

September 2022 Featured Publications

UHY 2022 Not-for-Profit Trends Report In order for nonprofits to thrive in the current environment, it’s essential for organizations and their financial services providers to monitor trends and track emerging challenges in the industry. These are presented in the UHY 2022 trends report. Access this publication.

How to Run a Successful Nonprofit Without Grant Writing Grant writing is a time and resource consuming activity that saps nonprofit productive capacity. Nonprofits rely on grants as the single revenue source to fully fund their operations. The solution is to build diverse funding streams by fully integrating all services offered into a closed loop nonprofit funding model, as described in this publication. Access this publication.

Reproducing Reproducers: Creating a Legacy of Leadership Succession Creating new nonprofit leaders is not an automatic process. Lack of leadership development will hamper the health and long-term sustainability of the organization. Nonprofit executives often do not cultivate the mindset necessary to reproduce leaders from within the organization. Leadership succession requires understanding the step-by-step cycle necessary to reproduce leaders. Access this publication.

How To Create Customized Nonprofit Donor Experiences Personalizing interactions with donors is one surefire way for a nonprofit organization to create lifelong supporters of their mission. Interactions that target a large audience do have their place but tailoring them to appeal to individuals or groups of donors allows nonprofit leaders to build and maintain lasting donor relationships. This article discusses strategies for doing so.  Access this publication.

Nine Creative Leadership Positions Every Nonprofit Needs Whether a business is in the for-profit or nonprofit space, certain roles are needed to ensure that the organization continues to operate smoothly. However, business efficiency can be impacted if leaders don’t conduct regular internal audits to ensure that they have the right staff with needed skills onboard.  This article discussed strategies for achieving this goal.  Access this publication.

Video Podcast

VNR now has two video podcasts available for free viewing (on the podcast channel listing, press Play to listen just to audio, press Watch to see the video):

  1. VNR’s Executive Director Dr Thomas Backer talks about the history of Valley Nonprofit Resources, and what kinds of services VNR offers, in this 2-part, 23-minute podcast hosted by BigMediaUSA (
  2. CSUN Associate Professor of Social Work Allen Lipcomb discusses concepts of anti-racism, and his work for VNR on this topic - both technical assistance and educational workshops, in this 22-minute podcast hosted by BigMediaUSA (

What VNR Workshop Frequent Flyers Say

Over the last 15 years VNR has offered more than 400 free educational workshops.  A few frequent flyer participants have attended 20 or more of these events, and here's what several of them have to say about them:

VNR is my favorite contact to learn about resources that help local nonprofits build a strong, lasting foundation; find collaborators; and figure out the best way to tackle any issue.  Through VNR's workshops, I learned the importance of sustainable programming, networking, communicating with funders, and strategic planning.  I owe our success over the last 10 years of operation, in part, to Tom Backer and VNR!
-Dale Gorman, Executive Director, Kids Community Dental Center

For many years, I have participated in Valley Nonprofit Resources workshops and through them have connected with a wide variety of agency leaders, often sparking collaborations. The workshops provided best practices and other useful information on fundraising, advocacy, governance, marketing, nonprofit laws, board development, succession, sustainability and more.
-Cindy Pease, Executive Director, Musicians at Play Foundation

As a new executive director, VNR was instrumental in providing relevant workshops in an intimate setting that propelled our organization forward.
-Maria Alexander, Center for Living and Learning

San Fernando Community Health Center has found collaboration with Valley Nonprofit Resources very useful over the years.  VNR has great insight into the needs of nonprofits in the San Fernando Valley; the workshops we have hosted and/or attended through the years have been informative and well-organized.
-Audrey Simons, San Fernando Community Health Center

VNR Recovery Resources

As we move into recovery from the pandemic, San Fernando Valley nonprofits face many challenges, and also have learned much from the experiences of the last year. These resources can support planning for recovery and may lead to additional online or in-person resources nonprofit leaders may find helpful. Some of the resources are specific to health, human services and youth development nonprofits, but many are likely to be useful regardless of the type of nonprofit.

VNR Recovery Initiative Launched in July 2020, the CSUN Valley Nonprofit Resources Recovery Initiative (VRI) is aimed at helping San Fernando Valley nonprofits respond to the challenges of recovery as Los Angeles more fully re-opens after the pandemic lockdown. More than 20 free Zoom educational workshops have been offered, and more are planned, on topics ranging from strategic re-structuring to digital strategies for fundraising. Recovery Roundtables in specific communities (Burbank, Glendale, Canoga Park, Reseda, North Hollywood, Pacoima and City of San Fernando) offer a chance for local nonprofits to explore recovery challenges like all the trauma (staff, volunteers, clients and communities) the pandemic has created, and how they might work together. Technical assistance to selected Valley nonprofits also is being offered, along with TA and education focused on anti-racism strategies for nonprofits (supported by grants from The California Wellness Foundation and California Community Foundation, and offered by CSUN Professor Allen Lipscomb, consultant to VNR). A survey of recovery challenges and opportunities was conducted in Spring 2021, funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Valleys (copy available upon request). VRI is supported by grants from Joseph Drown Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Morgan Stanley, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, UniHealth Foundation, Weingart Foundation and Wells Fargo. For more information, contact VNR at 818/677-2774.

Regularly Updated Information Resources

These online resources provide information updated weekly or monthly on various aspects of the pandemic – nonprofits can sign up for them free of charge.

Center for Nonprofit Management COVID-19 Resource Center offers a variety of information resources for nonprofits handling the challenges of COVID-19. Visit the Center for Nonprofit Management COVID-19 Resource Center Website

City of LA Mayor’s Office Updates LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office distributes a monthly newsletter including the latest updates on COVID-19, vaccines, opportunities for aid and upcoming events. To sign up for this newsletter, go to

COVID-19 Weekly Update This e-mail is prepared weekly by the SPA 2 Regional Health Office of Los Angeles County, providing a variety of information and announcements related to COVID-19. It is available free of charge by sending an email to including name, organization, and role in the organization.

HelpGuide – Coronavirus & Mental Health Section This free resource contains a number of articles and meditations to help with the mental health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. It includes a Coronavirus Mental Health Toolkit, and resources specific to a number of problem areas, ranging from burnout prevention to sleep problems to parenting strategies. To access, please visit the Coronavirus Help Home Page.

VCCC’s Weekly COVID-19 Update Each week, Valley Care Community Consortium sends out an email that includes information on the latest COVID-19 developments, including events, in the San Fernando Valley. These resources are focused on health and human services nonprofits in the Valley. To sign up for this newsletter, email:

Virus and the Valley: Newsletter from Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg Every month, Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg publishes a newsletter with the latest information about what is happening in the San Fernando Valley. The newsletter provides updates on Health & Safety (including the vaccine rollout and other Covid-19 resources), Jobs and the Economy, and Valley Life. To sign up for this newsletter, please visit the Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg's website.

A resource specific to youth development nonprofits is updated periodically:
Empower offers a range of COVID-related information and tools specifically for youth development nonprofits, focused on fundraising, and on working with youth. To access, please visit the Empower website.


COVID-19 Recovery: Preparing Your Organization and Volunteer Program Identifies four phases of disaster management as well as the five steps for nonprofit recovery planning. To access this article, please visit the Galaxy Digital Blog.

COVID-19 Resources for California’s Nonprofits CalNonprofits has compiled a list of resources to support nonprofits and their staff. Topics include Advocacy and Support, COVID-19 Related Funding Opportunities, Federal Resources and Information, California Announcements and Resources (Including Re-Opening Guidance), Employer and Employee Resources, and Resources for Individuals. To access these resources, please visit the CalNonprofits website.

LAEDC's Community Connectory The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.'s Community Connectory provides resources for small businesses, nonprofits and vulnerable residents during this pandemic. To access the directory, please visit the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation website.

Organizational Race Equity Toolkit The Organizational Race Equity Toolkit from the Washington Race Equity Initiative is more than 100 pages of supportive content specifically aimed at organizational equity and the change processes needed to build it. It includes a host of definitions, worksheets, and frameworks to support assessment and planning. To download a copy of this resource, please visit the JustLead Washington website (.pdf).

Safer at Work Los Angeles Reopening Los Angeles County safely will require active participation from every business owner, employee and customer. Safer at Work LA acts as a resource hub for businesses, employers, workers, and residents as everyone seeks to achieve a shared goal of getting Los Angeles back to work safely. The resources on this site are free to use and designed to help businesses across the County communicate to their employees, partners and clients the critical steps they are taking in order to operate as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and to access these resources, please visit the Safer at Work LA website.