Valley Nonprofit Resources

  • San Fernando Valley vista, Valley Nonprofit Resources

Welcome to Valley Nonprofit Resources

Celebrating 15 Years of Service to Valley Nonprofits!

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
05/11/21 - Succession Planning and Pandemic Recovery
05/14/21 - The Cultivation Curriculum: From Soil to Self to Society – Building a Sustainable System
05/18/21 - The Road Back to Live Fundraising Events
06/8/21 - Building Nonprofit Boards in a Diverse World

Featured Publications
(visit Library for a complete list)
2020 Resource Directory for Nonprofit Capacity Building in Los Angeles County (.pdf) New.




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

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 (bmbc.tv).
  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 (bmbc.tv).

In the News

RECOVERY SURVEY - We Need Your Input As we move into recovery, San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley nonprofits face many challenges, and also have learned much from the experiences of the last year. VNR is asking for your input about both on a brief anonymous survey - just 12 items that will take about five minutes to complete. Valley Nonprofit Resources is conducting this survey, partly supported by a generous grant from Community Foundation of the Valleys. Because of their support, we’re including in this invitation nonprofits both in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. Survey participants will receive a copy of the study report, with statistics and best practices useful in shaping programming, and in responding to grant opportunities. Both VNR and CFV also will use study results to shape their activities in the months ahead, and the study report will be shared with the broader philanthropic community. Take the survey here.

Succession Planning and Pandemic Recovery Preparing for planned or unplanned succession of nonprofit Executive Directors, as well as key Board members and - for larger nonprofits - senior staff, always has been important.  Smart nonprofits have written, Board-approved plans for succession, even if change may be (or seem to be!) far off into the future. Such plans are even more important at this time, when most nonprofits are wrestling with how to recover full functioning in everything from services to community outreach to fundraising. This free workshop will explore succession planning from multiple perspectives - how to stay prepared through regular organizational assessment, how financial management needs to be addressed, how to deal with the psychological stresses of transition, and the impact of succession on the nonprofit’s strategic plan. Speakers will be Lydia Floyd, CEO, Simple Data Nonprofit Consulting (and also ED of a small nonprofit); and Janet Levine, principal of Janet Levine Consulting and also VNR’s Senior Consultant. VNR Executive Director Dr. Thomas Backer will moderate the session. The workshop is part of the VNR Recovery Initiative. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 4-5:30 pm by Zoom. To register, contact VNR Project Coordinator Ashley Wright at 818/677-2774 or ashley.wright.2@csun.edu.

The Road Back to Live Fundraising Events In March 2020 nonprofit organizations started making a frantic pivot to virtual events and then spent the rest of the year scrambling up the steep learning curve that comes with online fundraising. This year brings the new challenge of deciding how to comfortably transition back to live events, and these decisions must be made without much clarity as to when this can happen and what the new landscape of safe in-person gatherings will look like. This free 90-minute workshop, led by 20-year nonprofit event producer A.J. Steinberg of Queen Bee Fundraising, will share some of the best options for transitioning back to live events, how to gauge stakeholders' comfort levels for live gatherings, what parts of virtual events are here to stay, and why hybrid events are not a great option. The event will be held Tuesday, May 18, 2021 4-5:30 pm by Zoom. To register, contact VNR Project Coordinator Ashley Wright at 818/677-2774 or ashley.wright.2@csun.edu.

Building Nonprofit Boards in a Diverse World Foundations and other funders increasingly require that nonprofits broaden their Board’s membership to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, sometimes as a condition of funding. Board diversity also helps nonprofits achieve their mission by increasing their sensitivity to the diverse world they live in and serve. How do you do that, while continuing the involvement of long-time current Board members, and meeting fundraising and other goals the Board has? What does diversity actually mean for your nonprofit - what new types of Board members are actually needed? And how do you identify and recruit them? Answering these questions is particularly challenging as nonprofits recover from the pandemic, and are facing major realignments and stressful but necessary changes. This free workshop will address these questions, facilitated by Janet Levine, VNR’s Senior Consultant and principal of Janet Levine Consulting, who has worked with many nonprofits on the subject of Board diversity. Dr. Joan Maltese, CEO of Child Development Institute will share some of CDI’s challenges and successes with board diversity. The workshop will be held Tuesday June 8, 2021 from 4-5:30 pm by Zoom, and it is part of VNR’s Recovery Initiative. 

The Cultivation Curriculum: From Soil to Self to Society – Building a Sustainable System CSUN’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Sustainability have partnered with Armada Unified for a special series on Urban Farming. Co-founders Erin Harris and Emanuel Thomas created the nonprofit organization Armada Unified to offer social justice leadership, personal development and urban farming training to individuals, educators and organizations who want to bring resilience, food security and hope to their communities. In this session, taking place on Friday, May 14, 2021 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm via Zoom, participants will learn how to develop a set of practices to reinforce personal goals and build a supportive group to strengthen and sustain community resilience. The cost for this session is $40. Learn more about this event and register here.

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits Crowdfunding refers to any effort to raise money with donations from a large number of people. Crowdfunding for nonprofits happens through websites tailored to showcase specific projects or causes and accept donations, or in-person, arranged around high-energy, community-building events. Compiled by VNR, here is a list of a few of the most prominent crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits as well as some additional resources for further reading. VNR does not endorse any of the platforms listed, and there are many more available - this is just a place to start. Access the Crowdfunding for Nonprofits list (.pdf).

Financial Services for Nonprofits In response to inquiries from Valley nonprofits, VNR offers a couple of places to begin in searching for fiscal agents or accounting software systems. VNR does not in any way endorse any of these. There are other fiscal agents or accounting software systems not mentioned here. Access the Financial Services for Nonprofits list (.pdf).

Fair Pay for Southern California Nonprofits: The 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey After many years of conducting an annual survey for Northern California nonprofits, Nonprofit Compensation Associates is conducting its first Southern California survey, Fair Pay for Southern California Nonprofits. While there is no cost to participate in the survey, there is a cost to access the results. Details about the scope, timing, cost and history of the survey can be found at the Southern California Nonprofits website.. The survey will be open for participation through Friday, April 23. Participate in the survey.

Influencer Marketing for Nonprofits Want to make good use of the power of influencer marketing to promote your nonprofit? In this article, Lilian Sue describes what influencer marketing is and shares detailed information about the types of influencers and how nonprofits can form partnerships with them. To access this article, visit the Influencer Marketing for Nonprofits webpage..

American Nonprofit Academy The mission of the American Nonprofit Academy is to bring education, leadership, connectivity and collaboration to the nonprofit community. Its vision is to educate and connect stakeholders in the nonprofit community with low-cost educational opportunities and their values orient communities towards building sustainable approaches to philanthropy. Its newsletter provides nonprofit news highlights, national and local nonprofit news, and The Nonprofit Show, a daily live program. To learn more about the American Nonprofit Academy and sign up for the newsletter, visit the  American Nonprofit Academy website.


VNR Recovery Initiative – Special Resources

As we move into recovery, 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. A dozen 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 and Reseda, with more to come) 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 offered by CSUN Professor Allen Lipscomb, consultant to VNR). A survey of recovery challenges and opportunities is being conducted in Spring 2021, supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Valleys. VRI is supported by grants from California Community Foundation, Joseph Drown Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Weingart Foundation and Wells Fargo. For more information, contact VNR Project Coordinator Ashley Wright at 818/677-2774 or ashley.wright.2@csun.edu.

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, visit the Safer at Work Los Angeles 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 LAEDC's Community Connectory (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 COVID-19 Recovery: Preparing Your Organization and Volunteer Program (website).

Resource Articles These eight brief articles provide a range of ideas that can be used by nonprofit Boards and staff to brainstorm about how to deal with the challenges and opportunities the coronavirus pandemic presents.  From fundraising to information-gathering through a survey, to focusing on the most important nonprofit objectives and constituencies, to thinking outside the box about mission and operations, these thought pieces can help Valley nonprofits mobilize their own creativity and determination.  

  1. Charitable Giving in Crisis? What Non-Profits Can Learn From COVID-19 (Part 1)
  2. Charitable Giving in Crisis? What Non-Profits Can Learn From COVID-19 (Part 2)
  3. How Nonprofits Can Survive Today’s Health Crisis, Part 1
  4. Learning How Nonprofits Can Survive COVID-19, Part 2
  5. Learning How Nonprofits Can Survive COVID-19, Part 3
  6. Nonprofit Innovation for a Post-Crisis Future
  7. 8 Steps Nonprofits Should Take Now to Survive the Pandemic Fallout
  8. Reimagine Your Nonprofit to Survive the Crisis