Merging Your Library's Friends Group & Foundation

In the library world today, there is a huge need for support organizations – Friends and Foundations – but often the lines between these two groups are blurred and their work counter-productive. In this webinar, presenters Peter Pearson and Sue Hall discuss the difference in the roles of Friends and foundations and identify areas where there can be conflict – and present strategies for minimizing conflict. They also address the question, “When is it time for the two organizations to merge?” and share solutions for engaging in a merger process that minimizes pain and maximizes potential. Pearson and Hall also talk about national challenges and trends for Friends and foundations.

Learning Outcomes

By participating in this webinar you will learn:

  • What is happening to Friends groups and foundations across the country;
  • To identify the warning signs that your support organizations should consider merging;
  • What a merged organization should look like;
  • How to conduct a process that honors members of both organizations;
  • How to ensure that the newly-merged organization is successful.

Who Should Attend

  • Library directors
  • Foundation staff
  • Foundation board members
  • Friends Group staff
  • Friends Group board members
  • Trustees


PETER PEARSON is the retired President of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library (the Library’s foundation) and Lead Consultant with Library Strategies. One of the leading experts on library development and advocacy in the U.S., Pearson has led The Friends for nearly twenty-five years and is recognized as one of the most successful library fundraisers in the country.  Pearson is in heavy demand as a consultant on fundraising, development, advocacy, growing library foundations, and board development. Pearson grew The Friends from an all-volunteer organization to a robust library support organization with 17 staff, including 5 fundraising staff.  The Friends has provided more than $1 million in annual support to the Saint Paul Public Library for over 15 years running.  The Friends comprehensive development program includes major donor giving, annual campaigns, a highly successful fundraiser grossing over $300,000 annually, planned giving, extensive grant writing, corporate sponsorship, and more. Pearson worked with a powerful fundraising board of 52 members, and he led two successful capital campaigns for the Saint Paul Library system. With the board, Pearson managed an asset portfolio currently valued at $18 million.

SUE HALL is the Director of Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.   Hall has over twenty years of experience working with libraries and library organizations in the areas of fundraising, strategic planning and capacity building.  Since Hall and Pearson founded Library Strategies, the consulting group has worked in 37 states and eastern Europe. Hall coordinated The Friends major fundraiser, Opus & Olives, for twelve years.  The event was dubbed “the biggest book gala in the country” by Publishers Weekly and has raised over $1 million for The Friends over the history of the event.

Both Hall and Pearson were contributing writers to Public Libraries bi-monthly fundraising column and were authors of Library Strategies’ book, Beyond Book Sales: Raising Real Money for Your Library, which was published by Neal Schuman Publishers, through American Library Association Publications.



  • $75
  • $50 - United for Libraries members

How to Register

  • Call United for Libraries at (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.
  • Register online.
  • Complete and mail the registration form with payment.
  • Complete and email or fax the registration form with credit card payment information.
  • Email or call (800) 545-2433. ext. 2161 to request an invoice.

Tech Requirements

This webinar uses Adobe Connect software, which may require a small download, but is easily accessed by most computers.


For questions about this webinar or other United for Libraries programs or webinars, contact Beth Nawalinski at