AGM 2012 Mailbox Report

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Mailbox Team: Susan, Jacky & Jacqui

After 3 years, Googlemail continues to suit our needs well. We can all access the mailbox online simultaneously, and its search is excellent. We have only used 2% of its capacity.

We currently average 14 daily messages (range 1-28), compared to 5 daily last year. The increase is partly due to the new contact form; people can contact Freegle more easily. Because the form prompts for the group name, we can pass messages much more quickly to local groups.

Due to the sustained increase in messages, we are delighted to report that we now have Jacqui Houlding, Warrington Freegle, as back up cover for when one of us is away. Susan and Jacky would like to thank Jacqui for taking this on and for spelling her name differently to Jacky.

The gradual increase in the groups offering Freegle Direct and Facebook means we cannot send simple explanations of how to (for example) change message settings or hide their real name. We therefore pass many more queries to local groups.

As messages arrive, we tag them with at least one label - group-name, new group enquiry, unsubscribe request, login problems, complaints, offers of help and so forth. Gmail sorts messages into ‘conversations’, some with just the mail received and a reply, others with over a dozen messages. We have had over 2000 of these conversations between mid September 2011 and September 2012.

Since Freegle began we have had enquiries from people in 20 other countries, from the Bahamas to Serbia.

A few message statistics from the past 12 months:

  • 502 people asked to unsubscribe, and 104 to change their settings.
  • 158 people asked to subscribe to a group.
  • 24 people offered help (often in batches after local requests for help).
  • 18 people gave feedback and 2 people offered website help.
  • 18 members complained about delays in message approval; 15 about delays in joining or the hoops required to join up.
  • 7 members generated concern about protracted group delays. In this situation we try to contact the local Freegle team to offer help.
  • 33 of 58 people gave permission to pass complaints to their local group. All are encouraged to do so and are routinely given the owner email address. Where permission is refused, we work hard to give a balanced response that the local team would hopefully consider fair, and which leaves the member feeling heard but also with a better understanding of Freegle, group autonomy and affiliation criteria. This is our most challenging role.
  • 10 groups generated complaints about moderators' decisions or attitude; 2 were referred to the Reps as potentially serious.
  • 14 people complained about other members' behaviour.
  • 9 people asked or complained about items being sold.
  • 90 people wrote to offer or request items.
  • 172 people had various problems posting messages.
  • 66 people queried or commented on local or national rules; 3 about 'the' pet policy.
  • 55 people expressed concern about privacy or spam.
  • 1 council offered to promote Freegle.

Thanks once again to all the moderators who respond to issues that we have passed on, and for the friendly emails we get back from groups. It is a privilege to see Freegle performing in such a positive way and to know members up and down the country have such great volunteers who are working for them and their communities.

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