Friends and Foundations Information

Friends of the Library Basics
What is a Friends group?
Group of people who support the work of the library
  • with financial contributions and fundraising
  • with volunteer service
  • act as bridge between the library and the community
  • advocate for the library

Starting Out
  • Form a steering committee with a few existing volunteers or some of your most committed and enthusiastic patrons
  • Determine the purpose & mission
  • Obtain tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) status

  • Official or Informal?
  • Fees?
  • Length of membership commitment

  • Board – separate from Library Trustees and Foundation
  • Committees

  • Small projects
  • One-time programs
  • Supplemental
  • Consult librarian’s wish list
  • Consult with other boards before spending money

  • Regularly scheduled
  • Liaison to meet with other boards

Librarian’s Role
  • Communication – needs, wishes, issues
  • Keep all boards somewhat separate, particularly the membership of boards

More information Friends and Foundations Fact Sheets Applying for 501(c)(3) status Forms and Instructions for IRS Form 1023
Foundations and Friends Legal Responsibilities

Library Foundation Basics

Foundation Hierarchy

A Foundation is an institution supported by an endowment.
A Library Foundation is separate from the library board, Friends group, or funding authority.

Benefits of a Foundation
●Ensures money stays with library for library purposes
●Allows donations to grow by earning interest

Purposes of a Foundation
●Endow large library projects
●Enhance library’s mission
●Ensure library’s future

Foundation relationships with other groups: Library Foundation and Library Boards
Foundation & Library boards may align with same goals & projects, or may work on separate issues.

Library Board provides the day-to-day operational guidance
●Policies & planning
●Public funds
●Follows state statutes

Library Foundation and Library Friends
Library Foundation seeks:
Library Friends:
●Large donations
●Seeks membership
●Long-term investments
●Conducts small fundraising
●Long-term projects
●Supports current activities, one-time events

Library Foundation Structures

Library Foundation and Library board are the same
Library Foundation board and Library board are separate
Library Foundation and Library board are the same + there are 2-4 individuals who serve on Foundation only
●Much more work for library director
●Foundation Board has liaison member from Library Board
●Those individuals’ terms may be different from board members’ terms
●Potential for mixing roles
●Foundation Board has own director
●Those individuals’ sole focus is Foundation work
●Dual missions
●Each board has distinct mission and purpose

United for Libraries (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations)
South Dakota Community Foundation
Thorsen, Jeanne. “Establishing a Library Foundation,”