Moderator (Mod) Recruiting

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You could approach members that you have seen using your group effectively, politely and within the rules of your group, or (riskier) you can post an Admin to the list, asking for volunteers.

Remember that you needn't make a new volunteer a group owner. Start them off with a small task and limited privileges and increase their tasks and privileges as their role and your trust increases.

Great advice from the legendary Esther Reeves on finding a new volunteer:

If you can't spot anyone that looks a good candidate then your best bet is to do an admin to the group asking for help....

...Hopefully you get some answers then comes the more tricky part, working out which ones to try out.

What I suggest is first look at how long they have been a member and their posting history. I am always a little wary of someone who only posts wanteds, while they can be great members I am always slightly concerned about the temptation of cherry picking from moderated posts before they go out. paranoid, possibly but I prefer wary :) Doesn't mean I wouldn't pick someone like that but I'd want to get to know them more and find out why they want the job. If they are a new member you have less to go on. At this point drop anyone you have worries about, always go with your instincts. I wouldn't be truthful if I said you never got dodgy applicants, you do unfortunately but the next few steps help to weed them out.

What I suggest is send them an email with some questions, some of which are to find out their experience etc, some to try and help you get a handle on them personally. At the very least it gives you an idea of if they can answer an email coherently and in proper English. While I don't pull up members on their English it is important mods can communicate well in written form. Swap a couple of emails with prospective applicants, get to know them a bit, after all you need to be a team and get on with each other.

Hopefully you will have one or two who you can then start to train up and get to know a bit better. If you do a trial period on both sides then if either you or them feels it isn't right then you have a reason to talk about it sooner rather than later."''

Suggestions for choosing potential volunteers

Consider members who:

  • are off moderation and haven’t deliberately or repeatedly broken the rules
  • have written in to the owner address with a valid comment or feedback
  • post correctly without prompts
  • post a mixture of wanteds and offers
  • write clearly and politely and with a friendly tone
  • ideally live in the immediate group area or a potential split-off area
  • request or offer items that show a non-wasteful mind – i.e. items needing to be repaired, parts to replace a broken part of something else etc
  • post received messages following wanteds, takens following offers etc
  • don’t have anything risqué or extremely controversial in their online profiles
  • have no complaints about them
  • have been active on the group for some months

Send the current volunteer team a short-list of these potential volunteers' IDs to to see if they have any thoughts or experiences with any of them.

If you have several that look promising write to them 2 or 3 at a time (it can be good to recruit two at a time as it can save time and novice volunteers can support each other and bond well)

Sample letter to unsuspecting potential volunteer

Hi xxx,

Thank you for being an active member of xxx Freegle. I hope it has been a positive and enjoyable experience.

As a member who posts clearly, politely and within the group rules, your messages are no longer moderated. On behalf of our volunteer team I would like to thank you sincerely - this helps our job enormously.

We are looking for more volunteers to moderate/help with promotion and wonder if you would consider finding out more about what is involved?

Moderators ideally need:

  • To be local
  • To know or get to know the local group rules very well
  • 30-60 minutes throughout the day, ideally in 10-15 minute chunks
  • Reliable computer and Internet access
  • Good communication and 'customer service' type skills
  • An interest in the environment and/or giving back to your local community

Being part of our team is a voluntary position. With a large enough team of volunteers, the time involved can be whatever suits each individual. It doesn't need to take up much time (unless you want to get significantly more involved) and most Freegle volunteers have busy lives outside their moderating role. There are also resources and support systems in place.

Once again, thanks for being an active member of this great organisation, and please do let me know if you'd like to know more about joining our team, I would be delighted to tell you more.

With warmest wishes,


XXX Freegle Team

xxxcontact email addressxxx

XXXContact telephone numberXXX

Sample Admin to recruit moderator volunteers

Thanks for being members of $groupname.

Behind the scenes, there's a group of volunteers who keep the group running smoothly. We monitor the group, gently point out if messages aren't in the correct format and answer questions members might have. I hope we're doing things ok, though we can always do it better.

It would be nice to have some more help with this. If you'd like to volunteer, please email us at xxxxxx, and tell us why you'd like to moderate such a fantastic resource :) . If you've responded to one of these mails before, then feel free to respond again to let us know that you're still interested.

You'll need to be computer literate, perhaps to have moderated an online forum previously, and be able to spend at least a couple of hours per week moderating the group.

We don't have anything tangible to give to a co-moderator - it's all free, right? - but it's rewarding nevertheless. With over 400 groups across the UK, you'll be keeping Freegle ticking over and ensuring usable items stay out of landfill sites to have a new lease of life.

Sample letter once potential mod has expressed an interest


Thank you for your interest in joining the volunteer team for XXX Freegle. This is great news for us.

In terms of what is involved, it takes a bit of reading initially but less so once up to speed. Moderating is mainly about:

  • helping members use the group within the rules
  • supporting other local Freegle groups by asking members to post on their most local group in the first instance
  • helping to promote XXX Freegle locally
  • identifying the need for Admin messages and responding to member feedback
  • communicating with other members of the mod team
  • ideally belonging to 2-3 moderators’ groups to help local and national communication within Freegle. This also ensures that a reliable source of advice and support will be available to you at (pretty much) all times.

If this sounds like something you'd like to do, please get back to me. Please could you tell me a little more about yourself, such as any relevant work or voluntary experience that would be helpful for us to know and what personal skills that you might be able to bring to the role. Please could you also include your full name, home address and a landline number.

Do let me know if you have questions and we can go from there.

With warmest wishes,

XXX Freegle Team

Contact landline number

Due diligence

Please be fair in your assessment of candidates, our Freegle Equality and Diversity Policy gives good guidance.


  • Check they are who they say they are.
  • The candidates will almost certainly have a public presence on the internet, and that presence should not be in disagreement with Freegle's principles or provide opportunity for bringing Freegle into disrepute e.g. Google their name/email address, check Linkedin, Facebook, news items etc.
  • Such precautions may seem excessive, but why take an unnecessary risk.

Volunteer Training Stage

For moderator training information, see Mod Training.

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