Fundraising…is only limited by your creativity. Make use of resources available to you (people, venues, skills, etc) that are unique to your location.
1. Letter writing campaign. This can be in the form of a simple letter that is sent to your zip code ( you buy a mailing list) or once the garden is running, use the postal services’ EDDM – (Every Door Direct Mail) – It’s cheaper and gives you much more space to work with in terms of photos and information.
2. Grants: Most grants are for starting new projects so check out the American Community Garden Foundation’s website. It’s harder to get grants to sustain a project and salary is a hard sell. Some grants are for tools and supplies.
3. Also, look for “in kind” donations as a way to get around grants and fundraising. Don’t hesitate to approach a company in person or through their online charity section to ask for supplies.
4. Fundraising Events: these range from a simple bake sale to entertainment coupled with a silent auction. Own your event. (Be sure to check out Empty Bowls – http://www.emptybowls.net/ as a great first fundraiser. The co-creator is among our WNC Alliance GTG.)
5. A Buy-In: Have folks purchase parts of the garden. A tree, a bench, a paver, a bag of fertilizer, a tool, seeds… The key is to list your needs for that year and their price and acknowledge folks’ gifts.
6. Garden Related: Plant Sales: Many gardens host plant sales throughout the year. Cooking classes. Gardening classes.
7. Town Ownership: Some towns (Black Mountain, NC) owns the garden that gives AND pays the salary of a part time garden manager. Building a Community Garden in Your Park: http://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Grants_and_Partners/Youth_Development_and_Play/Building-Community-Garden.pdf
Reach out to local churches, colleges, universities, garden clubs and soon, you won’t need to advertise. Volunteers are rarely a problem once you get going. For summer volunteers, check out summer mission groups and local retreats.
Submit ‘press releases’ to any local media and always follow up with a phone call. If your town has a small, local paper, offer to write a short article every so often. Take photos. Great photos are key to PR. Print some brochures or flyers to pass out. Talk to people about what you do.
Be sure to have someone who is in charge of thanking folks who donate. We (TLA) use photos from the garden year and insert them into blank photo cards for our thank you.