10 Ways for Friends and Foundations to Work Together
Many libraries wonder if they need both a Friends and a Foundation, and admittedly the answer differs for each individual library. We sometimes recommend creating both organizations and we have also recommended merging the two. There is no right answer for everyone. But if you do have both, here are some simple tips to helping these two support organizations work together in harmony.
1. When the decision is made to create a Library Foundation in addition to a Friends group that already exists, involve the Friends in discussing what the newly created Foundation would do and how it is different from the Friends.
2. Assure the Friends that their work is important and that it will continue after the Foundation is formed.
3. Consider having the Friends and the Foundation sign letters of agreement about their respective roles in supporting the Library.
4. Develop an agreement (in some cases a policy if needed) about how the Friends membership list may or may not be used by the Foundation for additional solicitations of Friends members.
5. Have a member of each Board serve ex-officio on the other’s Board.
6. Allow the ex-officio Board member to make a report on their organization’s significant happenings.
7. Consider having one joint Board meeting per year when the entire Friends Board meets with the entire Foundation Board.
8. When either organization sends out communications, it should reference the other organization and how it complements but is distinct from the other.
9. Involve each other in both organizations’ strategic planning processes.
10. Consider a joint activity in which both organizations can feel a sense of accomplishment. Examples could be a joint fundraising event or a grassroots political advocacy effort.
Want to read more about Friends and Foundations working together? Check out our in-depth blog post about helping your support organizations get along.