how it works

borrow tools

How it Works

Who we serve

The heart of the ToolBank is our tool lending program. Membership is free for qualifying partner organizations and they have year-round access to our inventory of tools and equipment for a nominal fee. ToolBank tools are only available to organizations whose work benefits our shared community.

Qualifying organizations include:

  • Nonprofit/Charitable/Tax-exempt organizations
  • Schools and PTAs/PTOs
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Faith-based groups
  • Civic organizations
  • Government agencies


A 501(c)3 tax-exempt determination letter is not a requirement for ToolBank membership.

The Process
  1. Become a ToolBank Member Agency: First-time borrowers must complete our brief online membership application before they can borrow tools. There is no membership fee. This process captures documentation of their not-for-profit status and creates a user account in our online tool ordering system.
  2. Complete a Membership agreement: First time borrowers must also complete a Membership Agreement and return it to
  3. Submit a Tool Order: Agency logs in to their ToolBank account and submits a tool order online. We ask that you place your order at least 48 hours in advance of your desired pickup time. Note that your appointment is not confirmed until a staff person contacts you directly.
  4. Pick Up Tools: Agency picks up their tool order at the ToolBank at their scheduled pickup time. ToolBank staff and volunteers have already prepared the order in advance and help the agency load tools and equipment into their vehicle. ToolBank staff provides the agency with usage and care guidelines and an itemized receipt.
  5. Return Tools: After the completion of the project, the agency calls and schedules a return appointment. The agency returns borrowed tools at the scheduled return time. ToolBank staff and volunteers assist agency in unloading tools and check tools back into inventory.

Note: To enjoy the privilege of the ToolBank, member agencies must be in good standing at all times. Good standing means: all costs are paid up-to-date; all appointment times are met within reason, and all tools are returned via appointment by their due date. Any violation of these policies puts a member agency at risk of suspension. Every communication between the ToolBank and a member agency is tracked. In the case of suspension, member agencies will have a record of communications and reasons available upon request.

Now What?

After you have completed your application, a Windy City ToolBank staff member will contact you within the next two two business days to go over your application and advise you of any additional information needed.

Once all the required documentation is received we will review the application for approval. Once approved, your agency is immediately eligible to borrow tools. Members can submit a tool order at this time by accessing the “Order Tools” link as well.  It is fast and easy and the Windy City ToolBank staff is available if you need any assistance.  Once you place your tool order, we will contact you to confirm the order and pick-up appointment.

Orders must be placed two business days prior to your requested pickup time.