Difference between revisions of "Best Practice"

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==Preface==
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This page summarises our agreed Best Practice for running a Freegle communityEach point has a link to further information on [[Best Practice Notes]].
Freegle promotes reuseIn doing this we:
 
  
1. Keep goods that still have life in them out of the waste stream.
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==Summary==
 +
Freegle promotes reuse. We need to make sure that using Freegle is as quick, easy and enjoyable as possible for us and our members. Further explanation about each of these points can be found at [[Best Practice Notes]]
  
2. Promote community spirit by sharing between local people.
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[[Our Aims]] outlines expectations of Freegle and Volunteers. The intent of this is to support Freegle and members, and to safeguard our reputation. All the advice below is within the context of the [[Basic Requirements of a Freegle Group#Local Rules]].
  
3. Provide people with an opportunity to help the environment.
 
  
4. Look after each other as Volunteers by offering support if needed.
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====Emergency arrangements====
 +
To safeguard your community and give you peace of mind, have backup arrangements in place.  
 +
* Make sure all of your Volunteer Team know they can contact Mentors to get some help - email [mentors@ilovefreegle.org](mailto:mentors@ilovefreegle.org)
 +
* Exchange contact information with your chosen other volunteers locally and/or nationally in case of crisis.
  
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Emergency_arrangements|More info]]
  
We want to do all this as well as we can, so we need to make sure that using
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====First impressions====
Freegle Groups is as quick, easy and enjoyable as possible for us and our members.  
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Home pages (Freegle website, Facebook etc.) should be welcoming and quick and easy to read. All website homepages should have a logo or local picture, tagline, welcoming message and, optionally, local rules. To do this, go to Settings in Modtools.
  
Many of us started our Groups several years ago.  Reuse was a brand new idea in 2003 and the rules and ways of working that evolved were aimed at trying to keep groups safe from possible problems, and we didn't know much about how people behaved online.  Since that time internet use has increased substantially and we have learned a lot more about online behaviour. There have been many developments which mean that members now expect to be able to do things very quickly.  There are also now many other ways of reusing items via the internet. We now know that if a Freegler encounters barriers they are likely to be put off from using our Groups, so we need to strike a balance between ‘protecting’ our Group, and making it welcoming for new members.
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[[Best_Practice_Notes#First_impressions|More Info]]
Experience shows that groups who have restrictive rules are unlikely to thrive, so all mods should think carefully about these best practice suggestions.
 
  
The intent of this is to support Freegle and group members, and to safeguard our reputation. All the advice below is within the context of the [[Basic Requirements of a Freegle Group#Local Rules]].
 
  
==Number one question==
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====New Freeglers need an easy start====
 
 
==== Do you have emergency arrangements for your Group? ====
 
 
 
'''Best Practice:'''
 
 
 
To safeguard your group, there needs to be back up arrangements in place, so
 
*Have at least two volunteers with owner status/full privileges..
 
*Make sure all of your Volunteer Team know they can contact Mentors to get some help - email mentors@ilovefreegle.org
 
*Let Mentors or GAT know who all the Volunteer Team are so that support can be given if there is a major problem.
 
 
 
'''Why?:'''
 
*Having at least 2 volunteers with owner status/full privileges means if there is a problem with volunteer availability, all your hard work doesn’t goes to waste as service can be maintained for your members.
 
*Volunteers with owner status/full privileges don’t have to all be active moderators, they could be:
 
**moderators
 
**backup moderator - steps in and runs the Group immediately there seems to be a problem
 
**a volunteer who does other work in running the group, eg publicity, tech etC
 
**silent moderator - helps rescue a Group if it has been declared abandoned after set procedures.
 
*All of Volunteer Team should have the interests of the group members as a priority, so should be competent enough to basically moderate messages and memberships, answer emails to the owner address and, most importantly, know who to contact in Freegle nationally if they need help.
 
*Make sure all volunteers know they can contact Mentors to get some help - email mentors@ilovefreegle.org - so they know there is somewhere to turn in difficult situation.  All volunteers can join Freegle Central, so why not?!  It is the easiest way to communicate with other people around the UK and to ask for help.
 
*Yahoo can close any account or group at any time. Each volunteer with owner status having completely separate ID's (not linked to each other) registered on the Group and keeping in touch with each other will safeguard you personally from being denied access by Yahoo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In order to help reduce barriers here are some more questions that owners/mods might like to think about.
 
 
 
==Other Questions==
 
 
 
====What is a new Freegler’s first impression of your Group?====
 
 
 
'''Best practice:'''
 
 
 
Your group’s home pages (Yahoo, FD, Facebook etc)  should be welcoming, quick and easy to read and understand, include the Freegle logo and link, and be up to date and personal to your community.
 
 
 
'''Why:'''
 
 
 
*Your Group is autonomous so your homepage content is your choice, but clear identification as a Freegle Group will help you with publicity.
 
*Including the Freegle logo and national link on your home page(s) are requirements of affiliation to Freegle and show that it is an official, quality group.
 
*Make your joining options prominent on Yahoo to promote any alternative access (Freegle Direct, apps etc).
 
*Keeping your home pages up to date also keeps your current members interested, so review regularly.
 
*The Graphics team can provide you with logos, photos or other pictures you may want to upload to customise your page(s), email: [mailto:graphics@ilovefreegle.org graphics@ilovefreegle.org]
 
*The Mentors or Support team can help you update your homepage(s), email [mailto:mentors@ilovefreegle.org mentors@ilovefreegle.org], or [mailto:support@ilovefreegle.org support@ilovefreegle.org]
 
 
 
====How easy it for a new freegler to get started?====
 
'''Best practice:'''
 
 
 
*Use open membership to keep your joining process as quick and simple as possible.
 
 
*Ensure all posts, especially first posts, are dealt with swiftly and sympathetically.
 
*Ensure all posts, especially first posts, are dealt with swiftly and sympathetically.
*Don’t overwhelm new members with lots of admin emails.
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*Don’t overwhelm members with lots of admin emails.
 
 
'''Why:'''
 
 
 
*The less time and work there is for a new Freegler to use your Group, the more likely they will be a contributing member.
 
*Open membership with new members being moderated is an easier and more welcoming experience. (Using Modtools can automate a Yahoo "Closed" group)
 
*Approving new members is an obstacle to participating - research by Freegle and elsewhere has proven that the more steps someone has to take to join and use a website the more likely they are to abandon doing it.(1)
 
*New member moderation will pick up spammers, especially if you use the ModTools.
 
*Send only one very welcoming joining message with the Disclaimer and a link to your guidelines - and keep that as short as possible.  Delete the standard Yahoo message.  No-one wants reams of admin messages when they join your group, but you do want them to get on and freegle!
 
*Avoid rejecting first posts if you can, amend them to suit if possible and only send them back if accompanied by a kind and friendly email to say why.  No-one likes to be told off or have their first efforts fail.
 
*If you must approve members do not send long questionnaires or request personal information.
 
*If a new member joins via Freegle Direct, most obstacles are removed whatever the Yahoo group settings.
 
 
 
 
 
(1) In 2012 a prototype on Freegle Direct asked members a question to join. 87% of people who saw the form gave up.  Sites on the Web which try to attract members don't make them jump through hoops nowadays. Why would people do that when they don't really know whether the site is worth joining or not? There are plenty of other sites they can use
 
 
 
====How many members do you have on moderation?====
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
 
Put members who correctly format their messages on Group settings.
 
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
 
*ModTools makes this very easy - http:/modtools.org
 
 
 
*You can always put them back on moderation if they slip up.
 
 
*You will lessen your workload.
 
 
 
*Messages will be posted more promptly on your message board, which is good for the person posting as well as those that respond.
 
 
 
 
 
====How long does it take for a Freegler to see the message they have posted appear on the Group?====
 
 
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
 
Ideally, moderation of messages needs to be every few hours.  Moderating once a day is the minimum for a Group to survive.
 
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
 
*Have a rota for moderation so that all the team know who is doing what and when.
 
 
 
*Ask Mentors for holiday/emergency help.
 
 
 
 
 
====What rules do you have?====
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
 
Keep rules to a minimum to enable the smooth running of the Group known to all your members.  A lot of Groups impose rules that members have no idea existed!  Try to apply them fairly with flexibility where appropriate.
 
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
 
*The fewer rules you impose, the less work it is for you to moderate your Group.
 
 
 
*No-one is keen on reading or remembering lots of rules, so too many just means that your members don’t know what they are. 
 
 
 
 
 
====Do you restrict the number of Wanted posts?====
 
 
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
 
People that want other’s unwanted stuff are essential for your Freegle Group to work, so encourage people to think ‘reuse’.
 
  
'''Consider:'''
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[[Best_Practice_Notes#New Freeglers need an easy start|More info]]
  
*Difficult economic times have increased the number of members who are in a situation where they can offer very little e.g. students setting up house, people on benefit who cannot afford to buy new stuff etc.
 
  
*Wanted posts are as valid as Offer posts in keeping things out of the waste stream. Encouraging people to Freegle even when they have little to offer may lead to them thinking of Freegle in the future when they do have things to offer.
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====Quick posting====
 +
Ideally, moderation of messages needs to be at least every few hours. Put members who post correctly on Group Settings (unmoderated). <br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Quick_posting|More info]]
  
*People go through different phases in life - at some times they may post a lot of Wanted posts, and at others a lot of offers.
 
  
*People - including us - overestimate the number of Wanted posts. Most Groups have more Offers than Wanteds.
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====Simple and minimal rules====
 +
Keep rules short and to the point. Apply them fairly, always politely, and with flexibility where appropriate. Your community rules are for your community only, it’s not acceptable to try to enforce your rules on other communities, such as asking your member to leave another community. <br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Simple_and_minimal_rules|More info]]
  
  
====How many messages do you reject?====
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====Don’t knock enthusiasm====
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
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It isn't an indication of ill intent if a member is a ‘multi-joiner’ or makes lots of requests.  Freegle is about encouraging reuse, so people who are able to travel or need things are not going against our objects. They don’t need to be removed or restricted unless there is a very good reason to do so. Occasionally, there will be people who exploit Freegle - but this is rare, and you should assume that people are innocent and kind until proven guilty.<br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Don't knock enthusiam|More info]]
  
Members have made the effort of posting a message, unless it contravenes the basic rules (free and legal), try not to reject it. Helpful, friendly, personal mod messages can be more effective than standard replies.
 
The experience of Freegle mods is that members who post messages that are rejected often do not post again.  No one likes to be rejected, particularly as part of the pleasure from freegling is the satisfaction of choosing to give an item of yours away.  Some members will feel hurt at being told they have not used the right words to offer their personal possessions. They may never consider freegling again.
 
  
'''Consider:'''
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====‘Wanted’ posts are a good thing====
 +
Equally accept requests or offers as first and subsequent posts from members. Our primary purpose is to keep things in use, so members who reuse those items are essential for Freegle. Requests should be encouraged, with no restrictions on numbers of wanted posts or numbers of items requested.
 +
<br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#'Wanted'_posts_are_a_good_thing|More info]]
  
*Do messages need to be rejected or can they be dealt with in other ways?
 
  
*Personal messages from mods explaining exactly which rules they have broken and why your group has these rules are more effective than sending out lists of rules.
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====Avoid rejecting messages====
 +
Members have made the effort to post a message, so unless it contravenes core rules (free and legal), try not to reject it. Editing a message and, if needed, sending a friendly personal message to the member to explain the rules, whilst promoting Freegle Direct (if available) as an easy way to compose messages, will be more effective in the long run.<br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Avoid_rejecting_messages|More info]]
  
*Promoting Freegle Direct by placing a link on your home page for people to join and use Freegle Direct.  This provides a way of posting that won’t need correcting.
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====Impression of you and Freegle====
 +
We are providing a service which is helping your members get in touch with one another to keep stuff out of the waste stream, so let’s be good hosts.
 +
<br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Impression_of_you_and_Freegle|More info]]
  
*Promoting the Message Maker with a link on your home page to it and link in message footers.  This also results in a way of posting that doesn’t need correcting.
 
  
*Using ModTools to edit subject lines of messages, then sending a note afterwards to help the member get it right next time.
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====Member problems====
 +
Handling problems and complaints from members is tricky. Finding the balance between running the community how you would like it to be run and how members would like you to run it is not always easy but is important to do well.<br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#Member_problems|More info]]
  
  
====What impression do your messages to members give of you and Freegle?====
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====Use tools/services to make it easier to run or use your Community====
'''Best Practice advice:'''
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Take up some or all of the helpful tools and services that Freegle makes available for your members and you.
 +
<br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#Use_tools/services_to_make_it_easier_to_run_or_use_your_Community|More info]]
  
You are providing a service which is helping your members get in touch with one another to keep stuff out of the waste stream, so be a good host.
 
  
'''Consider:'''
+
====Ask for help====
 +
You are not alone. All Freegle volunteers are in this together, we have a shared mission, so take advantage of others’ experience, friendship and advice.
 +
<br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#Ask_for_help|More info]]
  
*Friendly, helpful messages are far more likely to get the response you want.
 
  
*No-one enjoys (or can be bothered) reading long messages, so keep things brief (but polite!).
+
====Publicise your community====
 +
The more people who know about your community, the better it will be for freegling. Make use of national publicity tools to spread the word and get more members.<br>
 +
[[Best_Practice_Notes#Publicise_your_community|More info]]
  
*English may not be the first language for some of your members, clear straightforward messages will make it easier for them to understand how to use you Group.
 
  
*Members have often put time into posting a message and having it rejected may either get their backs up or make them feel freegling is an obstacle not worth bothering about.
+
====Supporting Freegle====
 +
Freegle is run collectively by all of us, so make sure that you are involved and informed about Freegle nationally.
 +
<br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#Supporting_Freegle|More info]]
  
*Sometimes members feel they are being told off or punished for a genuine error.  Messages that are helpful, polite and appreciative that people are using your group are more likely to encourage members to understand rules and guidelines.  For example, when you put a member on moderation it may help to explain it is so you can help the member and advise on how to avoid the error in future.  When you send a reminder or a return a post make it clear that it will probably help the member if they follow the appropriate guidelines. 
 
  
*It may help to ask someone neutral to read your standard messages to see how they come across.
+
====Get to know other Freegle Mods====
 +
Chatting to other Freegle volunteers can help put a 'face' to people and to establish better rapport for good and bad times. <br>[[Best_Practice_Notes#Get_to_know_other_Freegle_Mods|More info]]
  
*Yahoo terminology can be offputting to members.  It can be changed though in ways that are more friendly.
 
  
*The word ‘reject’ isn’t good!  Try the word ‘return’ instead in the subject line of rejection messages.
 
 
*Signing off as “Freegle Volunteer” is a better description of our role than “Group Owner”
 
 
 
====How do you deal with problems?====
 
 
'''Best Practice Advice:'''
 
 
Handling problems and complaints from members can be one of the trickiest jobs for a moderator.
 
Finding the balance between running the group how you would like it to be run and how members would like you to run the group is not always easy.
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
There is a wealth of advice in the Wiki that has been compiled by experienced Freegle moderators on dealing with issues and complaints
 
 
[[How_To_Deal_With]]
 
 
and
 
 
[[Member Complaints]]
 
 
 
====How many potential Freeglers do you lose?====
 
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
Check, with an open mind, your rules, guidelines and working practices on a regular basis to ensure that interested people are not put off being an active Freegler. 
 
 
Libraries,  many public bodies and work places do not allow the use of Yahoo Groups.
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
*Installing Freegle Direct and  opting for the Freegle Direct page to be the first page that a new Freegler sees.  This opens up Freegle to people in your community who may really benefit from your Group.  There are clear links from Freegle Direct to your Yahoo Home Page if Freeglers prefer to use that route.
 
 
*Are any rules you have about reposting, crossposting, and limits on numbers of posts simple and very easy to remember?
 
 
*Replying to emails to the owner address within 24 hours.
 
 
*A friendly leaving message for Freeglers who do leave your Group with a link to the Find a Group page on the Freegle website.
 
 
 
====What tools do you use to make it easier to run your Group?====
 
'''Best Practice advice:''' 
 
 
Yahoo is not the easiest platform for you or your members,  so don’t be afraid to take up some of the helpful tools that Freegle makes available.
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
*[[Freegle_Direct_-_Introduction|Freegle Direct]]
 
 
*[[ModTools]]
 
 
*[[Freegle_Message_Maker]]
 
 
 
====Do you know where to turn for help?====
 
'''Best Practice advice:'''
 
 
You are not alone.  All Freegle volunteers are in this together, we have a shared mission, so take advantage of others’ experience and advice. 
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
*Freegle Mentor Group
 
 
One to one help from experienced mods for new Groups   
 
<br>Assistance for struggling Groups and mods
 
 
Email: [mailto:mentors@ilovefreegle.org mentors@ilovefreegle.org]
 
 
*Freegle Central
 
 
Sharing experience, information and helping each other on a range of issues
 
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreegleUK-Central
 
 
*Freegle Development
 
 
Join in with discussions and putting into place ideas on how we can help Groups grow and thrive.
 
 
http://Freegle.in/Development
 
 
*Support helpline
 
 
Help with general problems or questions, particularly techy type stuff!
 
 
Email [mailto:support@ilovefreegle.org support@ilovefreegle.org]
 
 
*ModTools Group
 
 
Help with problems or questions
 
 
https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ModTools/
 
 
*Freegle Direct help
 
 
Help with any issues about Freegle Direct
 
 
Email [mailto:freegledirecthelp@yahoogroups.com freegledirecthelp@yahoogroups.com]
 
 
*This Freegle Wiki
 
 
Full of useful information on all aspects of running your Group, publicity tips and how you can help Freegle nationally
 
http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/
 
 
*Local Mod Groups
 
 
If you have a local mods groups, join it.  If there isn't one, why not encourage your neighbouring volunteers to set one up - you can work and share together.
 
 
====Would you like to socialise with other Freegle Mods?====
 
 
'''Best Practice advice:'''
 
 
Chatting to other Freegle volunteers can help put a 'face' to people and to establish better rapport for good and bad times.
 
 
'''Consider:'''
 
 
*Freegle Rock,  online social chat group  http://Groups.yahoo.com/Group/FreegleRockCafe/
 
 
*Freestock is the annual summer meet up for Freegle Mods  http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Freestock
 
 
*Organising a meet-up of your local Groups.
 
 
          
 
          
  
 +
'''Note:'''  The guidelines on [[Best Practice Notes]] were last formally discussed and amended on Development Group in 2021. 
  
 
+
'''Links:'''
Note: These guidelines were discussed and amended on Development Group in 2015/2016.
+
*[[Running Your Group]]  
 
+
*[[Our Aims]]
Back to [[Running Your Group]]  
 
 
 
 
[[Category:The Basics]]
 
[[Category:The Basics]]

Latest revision as of 10:35, 1 March 2022

This page summarises our agreed Best Practice for running a Freegle community. Each point has a link to further information on Best Practice Notes.

Summary

Freegle promotes reuse. We need to make sure that using Freegle is as quick, easy and enjoyable as possible for us and our members. Further explanation about each of these points can be found at Best Practice Notes

Our Aims outlines expectations of Freegle and Volunteers. The intent of this is to support Freegle and members, and to safeguard our reputation. All the advice below is within the context of the Basic Requirements of a Freegle Group#Local Rules.


Emergency arrangements

To safeguard your community and give you peace of mind, have backup arrangements in place.

  • Make sure all of your Volunteer Team know they can contact Mentors to get some help - email [mentors@ilovefreegle.org](mailto:mentors@ilovefreegle.org)
  • Exchange contact information with your chosen other volunteers locally and/or nationally in case of crisis.

More info

First impressions

Home pages (Freegle website, Facebook etc.) should be welcoming and quick and easy to read. All website homepages should have a logo or local picture, tagline, welcoming message and, optionally, local rules. To do this, go to Settings in Modtools.

More Info


New Freeglers need an easy start

  • Ensure all posts, especially first posts, are dealt with swiftly and sympathetically.
  • Don’t overwhelm members with lots of admin emails.

More info


Quick posting

Ideally, moderation of messages needs to be at least every few hours. Put members who post correctly on Group Settings (unmoderated).
More info


Simple and minimal rules

Keep rules short and to the point. Apply them fairly, always politely, and with flexibility where appropriate. Your community rules are for your community only, it’s not acceptable to try to enforce your rules on other communities, such as asking your member to leave another community.
More info


Don’t knock enthusiasm

It isn't an indication of ill intent if a member is a ‘multi-joiner’ or makes lots of requests. Freegle is about encouraging reuse, so people who are able to travel or need things are not going against our objects. They don’t need to be removed or restricted unless there is a very good reason to do so. Occasionally, there will be people who exploit Freegle - but this is rare, and you should assume that people are innocent and kind until proven guilty.
More info


‘Wanted’ posts are a good thing

Equally accept requests or offers as first and subsequent posts from members. Our primary purpose is to keep things in use, so members who reuse those items are essential for Freegle. Requests should be encouraged, with no restrictions on numbers of wanted posts or numbers of items requested.
More info


Avoid rejecting messages

Members have made the effort to post a message, so unless it contravenes core rules (free and legal), try not to reject it. Editing a message and, if needed, sending a friendly personal message to the member to explain the rules, whilst promoting Freegle Direct (if available) as an easy way to compose messages, will be more effective in the long run.
More info

Impression of you and Freegle

We are providing a service which is helping your members get in touch with one another to keep stuff out of the waste stream, so let’s be good hosts.
More info


Member problems

Handling problems and complaints from members is tricky. Finding the balance between running the community how you would like it to be run and how members would like you to run it is not always easy but is important to do well.
More info


Use tools/services to make it easier to run or use your Community

Take up some or all of the helpful tools and services that Freegle makes available for your members and you.
More info


Ask for help

You are not alone. All Freegle volunteers are in this together, we have a shared mission, so take advantage of others’ experience, friendship and advice.
More info


Publicise your community

The more people who know about your community, the better it will be for freegling. Make use of national publicity tools to spread the word and get more members.
More info


Supporting Freegle

Freegle is run collectively by all of us, so make sure that you are involved and informed about Freegle nationally.
More info


Get to know other Freegle Mods

Chatting to other Freegle volunteers can help put a 'face' to people and to establish better rapport for good and bad times.
More info



Note: The guidelines on Best Practice Notes were last formally discussed and amended on Development Group in 2021.

Links: