New Group Owner Training Step 1

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How freecycling Began

Once upon a time (2003)........ a great idea was developed by Deron Beal: 'why not use the internet as a way of putting people in touch with others to give away items they don't want anymore instead of sending them to landfill. Yahoo! had a great free facility (Yahoo! Groups) which provided a platform for people to advertise stuff to give away. Freecycle was born, the first Group opened by Deron in Tucson, Arizona. Then the idea spread.

What Happened Next

Skip forward a few years and The Freecycle Network (TFN) has turned into a worldwide movement with thousands of volunteer run Groups and millions of members across the world. Freecycle is particularly successful in the UK. But there was a problem. In 2009 conflicts arose between UK Freecycle moderators and the US-based founders centered around the lack of freedom for UK Freecycle Groups to develop local initiatives as well as unhappiness with the way volunteers were treated. This culminated in the UK Director Neil Morris and at least 20 local Group owners and moderators being dismissed and replaced with US-based counterparts.

Freegle is Born

A huge number of emails and a remarkably short time later, Freegle was born in September 2009 and UK Freecycle Groups started to join our new network. After the experience of Freecycle, the volunteers who joined together to make Freegle were clear that the new network needed to be democratic, transparent and that Groups should retain their autonomy. Those principles are still a bedrock of Freegle, which developed a Constitution and now Rules and works collaboratively with all its Freegle Volunteers to provide support for the network of Groups.

What is Freegle?

Freegle is an umbrella organisation for lots of independent Groups. We continue to develop ourselves and all volunteers have equal opportunity to be members of the organisation. Although some volunteers are able to offer more time and different sets of skills to help make it all work, everyone is encouraged to pitch in and help make it happen. (This is an edited version of the history of Freegle - Full version - Potted History The document Our Aims sets out what Freegle offers and what is expected of group volunteers. All volunteers are asked to agree to this.

How Do We Work Democratically?

We elect up to 9 Freegle Directors. All Freegle volunteers who join Freegle Ltd as a Freegle Member are eligible to vote. Major changes to Freegle Policies, Procedures, Remits|policies are also agreed in this way. Day to day decisions on the running of Freegle are discussed in Working Groups Every volunteer who is a member of Freegle UK Central Group is eligible to join the Working Groups and we encourage you to join in.


The volunteers who run the Freegle Direct group have the joint email address in the form of:

This is the address that Freegle uses to contact you with information, eg internal newsletters, poll notifications or to pass on messages for your Group received by the various central Freegle mailbox teams.

Groups are asked that at least one moderator is a member of Freegle UK Central Group(on a minimum of Special Notices).


These are interconnected ways for members to join, view or post messages on your Group.

Members can post directly to Freegle Direct.

Freegle Direct

(Join, View and Post)

(the final two digits are the ID number allocated for your Group)

(friendlier shortlink version of the url)


(View and Share)


An extra way of viewing and sharing posts and also for tweeting about Freegle. Message posts are republished to your Twitter account from Freegle Direct. There is also a link in each Twitter post which takes viewers back to Freegle Direct so that they can respond to the post.


This page gives extra publicity by automatically sharing daily publicity posts from the main Freegle Facebook page

to your page. You can also post publicity messages yourself from here and follow and share from other Facebook users.


Although Mod Tools is the only place used to moderate your Group, each of the above Home Pages have settings which will have been configured for you in the way that most moderators find helpful. These settings can be changed by you as Group owner. As time goes on you may want to do this to suit the particular needs of your Group.

We recommend that you start by exploring the Mod Tools settings first as this will allow you to moderate effectively.


This is a shortened version of your Group url

This is the link you will probably want to use to publicise your Group. Your Group will have been set up so that clicking this link takes you to your Freegle Direct Home page. There are links on this page to your Facebook Page.


When the Group is handed over to you it becomes your responsibility to run it. You will have been assigned a Mentor to help support you but they will not run the Group for you unless you explicitly agree this with them.

Someone will need to moderate at least once a day, every day. We recommend you recruit more mods eventually but if you find that you need help don't hesitate to ask. The Freegle Mentor Team will do their best to find someone for you or you can ask a neighbouring mod or on Freegle UK Central. [1]

If you are a sole owner we strongly recommend that you give a trusted person owner status on your Group and give them the email address. The co-owner does not have to actively be involved but just be able to send an email to Freegle if you are out of action.


You will have a link to your Group from the main Freegle website which will generate members but you really need to do some publicity too.

These are some ideas:

Use the Group Yourself

Make some Offers yourself. This shows people how the Group is used and starts things off nicely. Even just something like magazines or plant cuttings.

Press Release

Send a press release to local newspapers, TV and radio stations, your local council and local councillors.


Place links for your Group on local and national websites that allow this. The more links you have the better your chances are of being near the top of searches.


Use Social Media

Research Facebook pages to Like. You can join other Freegle Group Facebook pages and the central page for ideas.

You can do the same for Twitter follows. Follow @thisisfreegle and other Freegle Groups. Tweet or retweet about Freegle. Use the #Freegle hashtag for easy retweets.

  1. FreegleHour - 1st Thursday of each month, 9pm-10pm. UK mods making lots of freegle chatter.

Posters and Business Cards

Put up Posters or ask others to do so. Posters for your Group can be found here:

Give out business cards - you should receive 100 free when you start your Group.

Word of Mouth

Tell your friends and encourage others to do the same.



To begin with you may wish to contact your mentor or the team can be contacted at [2] for help.


We request new owners to join Freegle UK Central. This is general forum for moderators. You may ask for help on here or simply read the messages to gain a feel for how we work. Other mods are usually very happy to share their experience and knowledge.


The Freegle Wiki has a wealth of information and ideas.

Go to the home page of the Wiki to choose the direction you wish to search from or use the google search bar sor specific queries.There are 3 main areas:

Freegle Organisation - all our records and policies are here.

Publicity - lots of links and ideas

Running Your Local Group - advice from other mods on dealing with day to day issues that crop up.


Some useful contact email addresses are here: Contact_Details


Discourse A general, friendly chat Group for anything and everything.


The annual meet up of moderators, usually held in August. More details here

Good Luck with your new Group. We hope you find it worthwhile and enjoyable and that you will feel able to ask for help at any time if you need it.

Happy Freegling!

Link Mod Training