Basic Requirements of a Freegle Group

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Affiliation Requirements

The affiliation requirements for groups to be able to join and be part of the Freegle organisation were decided by polls of Freegle Volunteers. Now that we are an IPS, any changes will be by poll of Freegle Members.

The October 2009 Poll and January 2010 Poll, plus a Resolution carried at the AGM in 2019 [[1]] produced the current set of requirements for groups as follows:

  • All items offered or requested have to be free – mandatory
  • All items offered or requested have to be legal – mandatory
  • Selling of items is not allowed – mandatory
  • Be a non-profit group – mandatory
  • Swapping is not allowed - mandatory
  • Inclusion of the Freegle logo on the homepage- mandatory
  • Inclusion of a link to the Freegle website on the homepage - mandatory
  • All Freegle Volunteers will receive national announcements - mandatory
  • Do not allow messages asking to borrow items – highly recommended
  • Operate in a geographical area agreed with Freegle – highly recommended

Polls were held at the AGM 2016 [[2]], resulting in the following:

  • Freegle groups must use at least one "viable" platform - mandatory
  • New groups must be started on Freegle's preferred platform only - mandatory
  • New groups must be able to add other platforms in the same way as existing groups - mandatory
  • Groups must confirm once a year that they still wish to be affiliated with Freegle - mandatory

Polls were held at the AGM 2017 [[3]], resulting in the following:

  • Freegle will introduce a deadline for getting rid of Yahoo Groups for the main Freegle groups (i.e. remove Yahoo from our list of viable platforms) - mandatory
  • The time period for doing the above should be 12 months from the end of the AGM - mandatory
  • We should not add Yahoo to any group from the end of the AGM - mandatory

(the plan for this can be found here -

This means that all the requirements above are our basic shared values. The mandatory requirements must be followed by all groups listed on the Freegle website, and groups are strongly encouraged to also adopt those that are highly recommended. (see note on poll results below)

Our Aims states the expectations for Freegle and Volunteers.

(Whether posts/items should be suitable for all ages was revisited by the Structure working group and the Reps - see note 1 below)

Local Rules

Once admitted to Freegle, apart from adhering to what is agreed regarding the basic requirements, local Freegle groups are fully autonomous, independent and self governing. So pretty much everything else is up to you and your members to decide. We should always remember that our groups are run for the benefit of your members - you will never please everyone, but a majority is good! Think seriously before you impose local restrictions - one dilemma with restrictions is that if there are too many, members will not remember them, and it causes bad feeling if you keep rejecting posts. It might be good to question the rules you have in place occasionally and ask yourself ‘is this helping keep stuff out of landfill?’. Experienced moderators have compiled Best Practice which gives ideas on how you can review the way your Group is run.

Advice can be obtained from the Mentor Team by emailing


We use the word 'autonomy' quite a lot. In Freegle terms this means:

Note on Poll Results and Interpretations

The results of the January 2010 Poll have in practice been interpreted slightly differently to the actual outcome of the result until August 2010. So the mandatory requirements of swapping, the logo, website link and membership of Freegle Central were seen to be highly recommended until the matter was discussed on Structure and brought to the attention of Central [[4]].

Geographic Area

The interpretation of 'geographic area' has also been subsequently discussed. Freegle agrees a core geographic area of operation for each group that is affiliated, but the catchment area the group chooses to operate with is a local decision. Freegle will only agree one group for each core area as per the decision of Question 7 of the October 2009 Poll. The affiliation requirement is that it is highly recommended that the group operates in that agreed core geographic area.

Changes to Affiliation Requirements

In the January 2010 Poll it was agreed that in future affiliation requirements could only be voted as mandatory if the proposal got at least 66% of the vote.

The polls held in the 2016 AGM all gained a majority of at least 73%, so the additional requirements were all passed as mandatory.

Note 1 Age Appropriate

13th September 2013 - Structure Group recommended that an 'age appropriate' criteria shouldn't be adopted as an affiliation requirement, via message to Central

Note 2 - Legal/Not Legal

Items that might be considered legal or not legal (although not an exhaustive list) can be found via the page Specific Items.

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