Do you have a need for tools for your school garden but don’t have a budget for them? Consider putting together a wish list to ask for tool donations from your community. Many people have extra garden tools and would be happy to find a good home for them. A wish list doesn’t have to be fancy or take a lot of time.
Here are some suggestions to consider before you start:
Make an inventory of the garden tools you currently have in stock. You don’t know what you need until you know what you have!
List the tasks that you would like students to do in the garden and the tools needed. Do you have everything you need to use for your lessons in the garden? Do you need multiples of some tools and only one or two of others?
What tools are you missing? When you know what you need, then you can begin asking for donations. After all, you don’t want to get 30 shovels if what you really need and can store are 10 shovels!
Do you know where you are going to store the tools that are donated? Talk to your facilities staff at the school to see what space is available.
Pick a place and time for donors to drop off tools and plan to have someone present to answer questions and provide a tour of the school garden.
Make a flier to advertise your Wish List (both a digital version to distribute via email and a print version to post around town). Include someone to contact for more information, the drop off dates and how interested people can access the list of what you need. Can you post the wish list on the school website or Facebook page? Consider organizing some work days to include in the flier and have sign up sheets available online and at the drop off times…you might get some new community volunteers as a result!
Make sure you have a way to keep in touch with people who donate items and send thank notes for their donations! Will you need a mailing address or email list or phone numbers?
Consider making a formal wish list with a business just like a couple would set up a gift registry for their wedding. Interested parents or community members can check the list and get you what you actually need!
Another option is to request interested people buy gift certificates from a business that stocks the items you want. If the place you like doing business with doesn’t have one of these options already available, contact them to see what they can do to help you. They may include a discount for purchases for a school garden too!
Figure out a way for interested people to make a donation instead of donating tools and supplies. Can you accept donations at the drop off times? Does your school have a PayPal account? Can they mail a check to the school office made to what name? Will a local store have a donation jar on their counter?
If you don’t already have a bulletin board area in the school for the school garden, consider requesting one so you can post your progress for anyone to see who visits the school. If you have a Facebook page you can keep the project in everyone’s mind by posting updates and thank you notes too. Use whatever methods are available to you at your school to promote your progress and let people know that you have enough shovels now but still need more watering cans!
Be sure to check all of your plans with your school administration before you embark on this project in case there are policies in places that you need to follow or they have some suggestions of what has worked in the past.
Here is a sample form which can function as an inventory and wish list to get you started: Sample Wish List.