New Library Directors Handbook

How to Organize a Friends Group

  • Determine the purpose of the Friends. Do you need them to raise money? Volunteer at the library? Advocate for the library? Provide public relations? Or are the Friends a way to get the community involved?
  • Select a steering committee to develop a Friends group. The committee should be composed of people from different backgrounds who have diverse skills. You need someone who has PR experience, leadership skills, knowledge of the law, and many other talents are useful, too.
  • Your Friends need to be tax-exempt; otherwise they will have to pay taxes on any money they make. A lawyer can help you with this process.
  • Define your dues structure and membership categories. Will you let families join? Do you want individual memberships? Businesses? You do not need to decide how much the dues are, you simply need to decide how you will organize your membership.
  • Decide on how you will publicize the Friends. Will you have a brochure? Will you have posters? What artwork or logo do you want? How will you distribute this information?
  • Begin your campaign drive to recruit members. As much as possible, include trustees, elected officials, and other important people in the community.
  • Decide on a tentative schedule for the first year. This helps you recruit members, because you'll have committees they can join.
  • If you need your Friends to raise funds for the library, set goals and objectives. People like to know where their money is going.
  • Set your first meeting date. Make the agenda brief.
  • Develop a long-range plan for the Friends and re-evaluate it periodically.
  • The above covered organizing a new Friends, but what if you already have one? Perhaps the Friends group is faltering or has pretty much disappeared. ALTAFF has created a list of steps you can take to revitalize your Friends.