Friends groups

The National Archives has produced guidance aimed at those working in archive services to provide:

  • an overview of how friends groups commonly operate
  • an exploration of some areas that relate specifically to the ability of friends groups to fundraise effectively [some issues relating more generally to the governance and operation of friends groups are touched upon where this is critical to improving fundraising capacity]
  • some approaches or solutions based on good practice in the archive sector and elsewhere

There are over 40 functioning friends groups linked to archive services in the UK. Analysis of information supplied to the Charities Commission shows that in 2012, the average income of friends groups was nearly £16,000.

The majority of these groups share common characteristics in their governance structures, aims and purposes, membership fees and benefits and therefore have similar challenges and opportunities in their role as fundraisers.

The guidance below outlines how archive services can work with their friends groups to maximise effectiveness in the following areas:

  • role of the Chair of Trustees
  • trustees or Committee membership
  • membership fees
  • member benefits
  • relationship with archive service staff
  • engagement with volunteers
  • translating users into Friends
  • charitable status
  • peer to peer giving
  • online presence
  • advocacy

Using friends groups to support fundraising: guidance for archive services (PDF, 0.24Mb)

Case studies

This guidance will be supplemented over the coming months with case studies reflecting approaches to using friends groups as fundraising vehicles.

If you have examples of good practice in this area that you would like to share with the sector, please email us.