National Wildlife Refuge System

Friends Policy

The Friends policy is now final and included as Part 633, chapters 1-4 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual and will replace Director’s Order 183, Working with Friends Organizations and Cooperating/Interpretive Association Sales Outlets and Book Stores. 

The Friends policy (633 FW 1-4) includes four manual chapters to assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees to achieve our mission more efficiently through partnerships with nonprofit Friends organizations (Friends).

These chapters establish policy and provide guidance and administrative procedures for Service employees in the establishment of and working with Friends organizations.  While the chapters are written to implement specific provisions of the National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 and the National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006, they also provide guidance and administrative procedures for other divisions of the Service seeking to establish and work with Friends organizations. 


Chapter 1:  Working with Friends Organizations

  • Provides authorities and guidance on roles, responsibilities, and ethical considerations for Service employees working with Friends organizations
  • Defines Friends and the difference between Friends and volunteer activities
  • Outlines Service expectations of Friends

Chapter 2:  Finance and Administration Through Friends Agreements

  • Explains the business relationship between the Service and Friends organizations
  • Describes normal business and administrative practices of Friends organizations and appropriate practices and activities on Service-managed property
  • Describes the appropriate use, by Friends, of the Service’s intellectual property

Chapter 3:  Friends Partnership Agreements

Chapter 4:  Friends Nature Stores and Other Revenue-Generating Activities

  • Defines the roles and responsibilities of the Service and Friends organizations when a Friends organization manages revenue-generating activities on Service-managed property
  • Provides guidance on the types of items that Friends organizations may sell in a Nature Store on Service-managed property

You can go directly to the Service Manual Chapters webpage to access all the chapters and agreement at the same time.


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Last updated: February 2, 2017