Friends and volunteers

Friends and volunteers are your most loyal and committed supporters.  A friends group and volunteers can dedicate the time that you lack to generating a regular income. They can devote their activity to specific fundraising tasks and also act as ambassadors for your archive.

The Friends of Lancashire Archives has supported us for 30 years, with fundraising for document purchase, cataloguing, indexing and outreach projects amounting to around £200,000. In today’s economic climate they are our lifeline.’

Jacquie Crosby, Lancashire Archives

Our guidance on using friend groups to support fundraising gives an overview of:

  • how friend groups commonly operate
  • some areas that relate specifically to the ability of friends groups to fundraise effectively, touching on the governance and operation of friend groups and improving fundraising capacity
  • approaches or solutions based on good practice in the archive sector and elsewhere

Find out how to unlock more funding through your existing resources by viewing this presentation which highlights:

  • why friends and volunteers are useful for fundraising
  • the different structures and models for friend groups
  • the impact of the Friends of Lancashire Archives, Friends of Durham Cathedral and Friends of Palace Green Library, Mills Archive
  • how to develop a shared fundraising goal with a friends group
  • ways of fundraising from friend groups (donations, membership fees) and with friend groups (appeals, events, matching funder grants)
  • how to utilise friend and volunteer networks in support of ongoing archives work and as ‘match funding’ with a case study from the British Postal Museum and Archive and as ambassadors to support fundraising
  • how to run a fundraising event with friends and volunteers
  • how to utilise networks to promote fundraising campaigns and/or access potential donors

This case study about Gloucester Record Office offers an example of a friends group leading on a £2.8 million fundraising project to develop a Heritage Hub; preserving and improving access to records that are ‘born digital’; and building new strongrooms.

Gloucestershire Archives has also built a powerful network of volunteers who play a leading role in developing the service.  Find out more about the value of volunteering to the service and how the Friends of Gloucester Archives (FOGA) generate the match-funding to enable Gloucestershire Archives to apply for grants from national funding bodies such as for the Gloucester Rugby Heritage Project, for which they secured nearly £50k over three years.