top of page

Nonprofit Institute

Lead logo in white text

The institute is a program of Lead, the leadership initiative at North Valley Community Foundation. With Lead, we build community with those who want to explore what is possible, what neighbors can achieve together. Lead programs provide space to tap into strengths, engage with others, share knowledge and embrace diverse perspectives so that our region benefits from empowered leadership.

Focus on Fundraising

Building a Fundraising-Competent Organization

About the program

Fundraising is a critical success factor of all organizations and often the most stressful part of the work. The 2023 Nonprofit Institute offers a six-month series starting in March to build fundraising-competent organizations. This series features two courses a month in March, April, May, August, September and October. The series will best serve an organization when taken as a whole but sessions also can be taken individually.

Fundraising competency starts by focusing on your unique program and its impact (what is called the case for giving), leadership capacity, clarity around prospects and well-designed strategies. From this planning phase, the success is based on careful budgeting, planning and timelines.

Artboard 1

Artboard 1







Artboard 2_edited

Artboard 2_edited







Course topics

Courses include sessions on strategic planning, budgeting, program planning, telling your story, fundraising roles, designing a campaign, grant writing, sustainable fundraising, online marketing, fundraising events, financial systems and a capstone class. Click here to view the full schedule.

Target audience

This program is designed for nonprofit executive staff, fundraising staff, board members and related volunteers.  

Series outcomes 

Early bird registration deadline

February 26

Tangible outcomes of the series include: 

  • A systematic  approach for strategic planning

  • A draft case for giving

  • Prospect plan and spreadsheet

  • A one-year campaign plan

  • Clear role and training tools for board members

  • A functional budget and traditional budget framework

  • A step-by-step plan for grant identification, writing and submission

  • A set of best practices for donor relations

  • Strategy selection tool and plan

  • A plan to sharpen all fundraising-related finance tasks

  • The final project: a full fundraising plan

Series start

March 13


Bidwell Presbyterian Church

208 W. 1st Street (Chico)


NVCF is dedicated to building a thriving nonprofit community.

Early Bird registration for the full series is $750 before Feb. 26.

After Feb. 26, the series cost is $1,000 or $100 per course.

Each registration allows for two participants from a single organization. There is a fee for each additional attendee after the first two from an organization.

Location and schedule

Bidwell Presbyterian Church

Second and fourth Mondays, 6-8 p.m.

March 13

Starting with the end in mind: Strategic planning

Every organization needs a clear mission and scope to the work they do in the world. This class will take nonprofit leaders through a step-by-step process to develop clear focus through strategic planning.

April 10

Program planning

Before making a case for funding, nonprofits need to be clear on what programs they are asking for and what problem that project or program seeks to address. This class will give each participant the fundamentals to plan a program, leveraging the strengths of the organization while developing strong partnerships to maximize funding.

May 8

Who's who in fundraising?

Who's responsible for fundraising for your organization? What is your board's role? And how do you craft a joint message to make the case for funding? This class explores the answers to these questions so that every person in the organization is clear on how to best support fundraising efforts.

August 14

The world of grants

Grant writing can seem like an overwhelming task for any size organization. This class explores some of the secrets to success from what you can do before you write a grant (hint: a clear understanding of your budget and program planning) to how to best make a case for the grant. Building a grant system in your organization will streamline this important function.

September 11

Online marketing

All strategies are designed to "talk" to a specific audience. Your donors and the general public want a clear, consistent and compelling social media and web presence. This is where you build your story, and excitement about your work in the world.

October 9

Becoming a Fundraising Organization: Keys to engaging your Board of Directors

Fundraising competent organizations engage their Board members in the fundraising process. This course will include a strategy for recruitment, training, and performance for board members and the best practices for maximizing board impact on fundraising.

March 27

Telling your story in numbers: Budgeting for fundraising

To ask people for money, you must know what you need, where your money is coming from and what the gap is. This course will help you build a budget or utilize your existing budget to describe expenses and income to prospects.

April 24

Who are you talking to? Building your story for what your prospects want to know

A solid case for giving knows their target audience and then uses data, stories, accomplishments and colorful vision to attract a favorable response.

May 22

How to design your fundraising campaign

Fundraising is part passion and part discipline. Building an annual calendar for each of your key audiences utilizing tailored strategies is critical to executing successfully over time.

August 28

The Donor Life Cycle: sustainable relational fundraising

Relationships are the key to all fundraising, even with institutional prospects. Learn from seasoned executive directors and donors on how to build, maintain, and serve your donors over time.

September 25

How to build successful fundraising events

Every organization seeks to have at least one solid event per year to highlight their mission, raise money and galvanize their constituents. This course will address the keys to building the right event for your organization based on the unique aspects of your organization — its life cycle, resources and niche.

October 23

Becoming a fundraising organization

This final course will bring all of the other pieces together and weave them into a culture of fundraising: attracting financial partners to fuel the mission that the community needs.




Laura Cootsona, coordinator, Nonprofit Institute

Laura holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley in Religious Studies. Cootsona has worked with nonprofit organizations for 36 years. Cootsona built her consulting practice focused on fundraising, marketing, CEO coaching, strategic planning and board development. From 2015-2021 Cootsona served as the executive director of the Jesus Center, a social service nonprofit in Chico focusing on reducing the impact of homelessness. As of January 2022, she operates a collaborative consulting firm called Good|Well Consulting. Laura is a founding board member of the Camp Fire Collaborative and has lived in Chico since 2002.

Jovanni Tricerri, vice president, programs

Jovanni has over 20 years experience in community development, philanthropy and nonprofit management. He joined NVCF to lead the disaster recovery programs following the Camp Fire in 2018. As vice president of programs, Jovanni’s role is to give strategic leadership for NVCF’s disaster recovery grant programs addressing the needs of the Camp Fire, 2020 North Complex Fire, 2021 Dixie Fire and regional drought relief efforts. In addition to the recovery efforts, he also oversees NVCF’s community resilience initiatives, Thrive and Lead.


Subscribe and stay connected

Sign up for the email list to stay up-to-date on all things Lead. 

bottom of page