BCLTA Governance Workbook: Fund Development

Fund Development

Some boards take the lead in fund development for their public library. Ideally, their strategy and activities are developed in consultation with the library director. If there is a library foundation or Friends of the Library group, it is advised that the board liaise with these groups so that they are sharing information and supporting each other’s efforts to raise funds for the public library.

Board fund-development activities may include

  • making personal contributions
  • asking friends and colleagues to consider a contribution
  • recommending sources of funding such as individuals, corporations, and foundations to the library director
  • ensuring that the board’s fund development policy is current
  • developing a fundraising strategy

The following are indicators of board effectiveness in fund development:

  • The board has an up-to-date fund development policy and a sponsorship
  • The board has a fund development strategy that is mission focused and aligned with their other strategic priorities and goals.
  • The board has fund development goals and they regularly assess their activities and results.
  • Board members leverage their networks for fund development.

Friends and Foundation: What Is the Difference?

Friends of the Library is an association that, while connected through their support to the public library, is not governed by the public library board. The association is comprised of community members who value the public library and demonstrate support through their membership dues, volunteering, and fundraising. A common Friends of the Library activity is  the public library’s book sale.

Descriptions of Friends of the Library activities and responsibilities can be found on many  public library websites, such as the Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Regional Island Library, the Smithers Public Library, and the Sechelt Library.

A library foundation is a non-profit organization with the purpose of raising funds for the long-term development and financial security of the public library. Library foundations are less common in BC libraries than Friends of the Library groups. In general, library foundations pursue large grants and individual donations through public campaigns and planned giving or major gifts or in-kind donations from foundations, government agencies, and corporate sponsors.

Descriptions of library-foundation roles and activities can be found on public library websites, such as West Vancouver Memorial Library and Gibsons & District Public Library.