Valley Nonprofit Resources

  • VNR Logo green background with San Fernando Valley Skyline

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 Institute of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at California State University Northridge.

May 2023 Nonprofit and Foundation Convening at Valley College
Featured Events
09/27/23 - Equity, Money, and BIPOC Nonprofits: Confronting the Discomforts of Fundraising
10/18/23 - Storytelling From Evaluation Data Part II

Featured Publications
September 2023 Featured Publications

New! 2023 Resource Directory for Nonprofit Capacity Building in Los Angeles County (.pdf)

Evaluation, Accountability & Sustainability for Nonprofit DEI/Antiracism (DEIA) (.pdf)

May 2023 Nonprofit and Foundation Convening at Valley College.

In the News

VNR will take its traditional August break, and we will return with a website update and eBlast in September, right after Labor Day.  In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at our next two events – the last of the Summer and first of the Fall.

Equity, Money, and BIPOC Nonprofits: Confronting the Discomforts of Fundraising will empower BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving nonprofits in the San Fernando Valley to dive deep into factors that impact asking for funding. These personal factors of nonprofit staff and Boards include risk tolerance, family traditions, acculturation, educational levels, country of origin, and sociopolitical context. This free workshop will put an intersectional lens onto challenges all nonprofit leaders face, but that have specific meaning in the intersection of race, equity, and wealth disparities.  Through interactive exercises participants can acquire tools and knowledge to forge stronger relationships with funders, challenge existing paradigms of fundraising (in their own heads as well as in the outside world) and foster financial sustainability for their organizations. In particular, the workshop will help participants understand and overcome discomfort in asking for money and think bigger and more long-term about their nonprofit's financial future. The workshop will be facilitated by VNR's Co-Executive Director, Dr. Alejandra Acuña, and Wi-Moto Nyoka, an Afro-Latina writer and educator who collaborates with nonprofits to build multicultural learning environments. The workshop will be held September 27, 2023, from 4-5:30 pm by Zoom. Register for this Event.

Storytelling From Evaluation Data Part II Step into the world of effective storytelling with a free educational workshop tailored for nonprofit leaders. Throughout the session, we'll break down the key techniques that bring together data analysis, maps, and storytelling. Participants will have an opportunity to practice skills to transform data into relatable narratives of your nonprofit's impact, making them more compelling and accessible. The heart of the workshop will be a real-life case study, to showcase how evaluation data can be transformed into maps and informative graphics that tell a powerful story to engage donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries alike. The workshop will be led by VNR Co-Executive Director Dr. Alejandra Acuña and CSUN Center for Geospatial Science and Technology Director Danielle Bram. It will be held by Zoom Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from 4-5:30 pm. Register for this Event.

Land Acknowledgment Valley Nonprofit Resources recognizes and acknowledges the Sesevitam, the first people of this ancestral and unceded territory of Sesevenga that is now occupied by our institution; and it honors their elders, past and present, and the Sesevitam descendants who are citizens of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. VNR recognizes that the Sesevitam are still here and is committed to lifting up their stories, culture, and community.

September 2023 Featured Publications

How to Start a Nonprofit That Will Change the World This article by Anne Behk reviews May L. Harris’s How to Start a Nonprofit That Will Change the World: A Nonprofit Counsel Resource Guide. The review highlights the main points that Harris elaborates on in her book, where she details what steps should be taken to set up a successful nonprofit. Read this article.

A Guide For Attracting, Rewarding and Retaining Volunteers This article highlights multiple ways organizations can attract volunteers.  It also discusses both the benefit and impact that rewarding volunteers may have on retention. Read this article.

The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders: How Nonprofit Organizations Thrive, Grow, and Make a Profound Difference This article by Guy Mika reviews Ed Mishrell’s The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders: How Nonprofit Organizations Thrive, Grow, and Make a Profound Difference. Mika highlights the 5 truths that Mishrell covers, all aimed at helping nonprofit leaders more effectively run mission-driven organizations. Read this article.

VNR on Video

See brief overviews of VNR educational workshops and view recordings of them on YouTube.

View VNR Podcasts
(on the podcast channel listing, press Play to listen just to audio, press Watch to see the video)

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.

CSUN Associate Professor of Social Work Allen Lipscomb 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 17 years VNR has offered more than 450 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.