The Freecycle Network

Rating: 2 stars   22 reviews

Issues: Environment

Location: Tucson AZ 85702 USA

Mission:
Programs: Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I began with the Freecycle Network soon after it was first created as a grass-roots organization. The concept is great - give things you no longer want to others who can use them. The problems came later when the decision was made to take back the grass-roots groups and form a non-profit company. At that time, the founder, Deron Beal, began threatening volunteers, throwing many out of the organization. He even began legal proceedings against one volunteer. He ultimately lost, but the damage was done.

He also attempted to steal information from the Yahoo! Groups that were used in the initial grassroots program to set up his own groups and reap the advertising revenue. When confronted by volunteers, he claimed to have permission. When Yahoo! was contacted, they stated unequivocally that it was against their Terms of Service and demanded he stop. Even when confronted with this information, he continued to claim he was acting ethically, yet he did shut down that program.

What was once a wonderful group of people became a centrally controlled company. There continue to only be three members of the board of directors, Deron Beal, his wife, and a family friend. They continue to remove volunteers who ask questions remaining secretive and appearing paranoid to many volunteers who remain.

Unfortunately, a wonderful program was destroyed by these actions and what remains is only a shell of what should have been.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I met wonderful people, but left due to the unethical behavior. I continued the same work in other freecycle groups that did not have the ethical problems that The Freecycle Netwok has.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Return to the grassroots program that it started with. Open the board of directors to more people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Listen to the volunteer and allow them to speak freely.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I met wonderful people. I learned how to run a Yahoo! Group.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Sad. What could have been amazing became sadly twisted.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

the Freecycle Network is chaired by a maniacal dictator that thinks nothing about spending money to do what can be done without cost. He created the Freecycle network to take control of the grassroots program that was founded on Yahoo and is still running, without costs, and created a network that now requires a 50K a year salary and money paid out to programmers and others to duplicate what he had on Yahoo for free. He now has the expense of programmers, servers and support staff as well as his salary not to mention the thousands of dollars spent on a legal action in a weak attempt to take away the name Freecycle and close down the groups on Yahoo doing exactly what he does. The 'network' is run with a dictatorial hand and anyone asking questions and pushing for answers is generally censored or removed from the network. This so-called charity drains money from other deserving charities by taking money to duplicate what others are doing just as successfully, if not more successfully on Yahoo for free. Deron Beal turned what was Freecycle into a cash cow for himself, it has nothing to do with charity or saving the planet. When Deron can't turn a buck the Freecycle network will shut down.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I was on the recieving end of Mr. Beal's lawsuit. I was forced to change the name of my group until he finally lost the action and we were allowed to once again call ourselves Freecycle. I've been on the receiving end of his threats, attacks and harassment.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of Deron Beal and take the group back to Yahoo where it works just as well and does not take money from deserving charities

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Get rid of Deron Beal and the expenses he has CREATED so he can line his pockets.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I've met lots of new friends and been able to make a difference in my community.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Running my group helps me to make a difference in my community and do so without draining the pockets of deserving charities.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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1 previous review
Rating: 1 stars  

32 people found this review helpful

I was with FC when it began as a grassroots movement, when it was truly what might be considered charitable. That was before Deron Beal the would-be king decided to change all the rules and turn it into a charity for him and his family. Most of the money donated to FC is laundered and placed in the personal bank accounts of Deron, his family and friends. Very little of it ever gets to the community. Right now he is trying to scam Pepsi out of $250,000 by having members of the FC community in the UK and others out side the U.S. vote for his bank account. He has encouraged them to create false email accounts and use their dogs, cats, birds and anything else they can think of to rig the contest in his favor. FC is not about community, it is about a man and his quest for riches.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make Deron Beal rich.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Recently TFN lost their court appeal trying to trademark the term "freecycle". Greed & control are what Deron Beal cares about most. Why does the Board of Directors consist only of Deron, his wife & their close personal friend? The many unpaid volunteers that actually do the daily work of moderating have NEVER been given a voice in the direction of TFN. If we ask questions, we are silenced.

When Deron spent grant money to create TFN's own Freecycle site, it was to generate money for TFN (including his salary) instead of allowing groups to continue for FREE on the Yahoo group platform. It's also about control- Deron's control. The TFN site (my.freecycle.org) is still being beta tested & there is no reason is should not yet be fully functional.

All new groups are FORCED to be implemented on that system, even if a local moderator prefers the well-known Yahoo site. And if an existing group on the Yahoo platform allows TFN to have "temporary" control through an "interim moderator" or an "emergency response team rep", that group will ALSO be forced onto the my.freecycle platform. Of course there's really no such thing as "temporary" once TFN gains control. Group moderators are "required" to live in the immediate area their group covers- but a "imod" or "ert rep" can run a group in a totally different STATE for years! And this is done with TFN's knowledge! Rules & guidelines are applied inconsistently, at TFN's convenience- NOT necessarily in the best interest of the members served!

Freecycle is a wonderful concept, but TFN has become corrupted by power.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Wonderful, giving moderators & members who truly care about reducing what would go into our landfills by gifting usable items to others.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The Board should be opened up to include representation of the volunteer moderators.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I was with this organization at a very high level since the incpetion of TFN. I assisted locally, nationally and internationally. I saw what happened when the originator of TFN stole back the various groups by non-profitting the name without a vote. I saw the mass exodusses of groups over and over, year after year all becuase the ED refused to give the people who were building this organizaiton a vote. The ED lost the respect of folks as he lied about issues, the final straw for many being when he stated he had a written agreement with Yahoo to violate their TOS agreement, and in the end, Yahoo unheld their TOS and shut down the TFN function. The concept of TFN is great; however, the organization lacks any true success due to the failings of an ED who can not tell the truth, operates from a place of paranoia and lacks the basic knowledge of how to grow this organization with any integrity.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

assisting with the organization at all levels.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The ED, as well meaning as he is, needs to be replaced, along with the current BOD. The BOD consists of the ED, his wife and best friend. There is no accountability within the organiaztion. There is no integrity within the organization.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting people from all over the world

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

various personalities, most nice, some very paranoid

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change recycling, but not with the current ED

Ways to make it better...

the organiation had remained grassroots, community owned groups like it was supposed to be

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

a corrupt BOD and an ED that refuses to relinquish control

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been with fc since 2004. I own former groups as myself and other owners took 5 groups away from fc control. deron is a dictator who lives by the rule, My way or else. If you ever get to talk to him, your teenager sounds more mature. Hard to think of him as an adult when the answer he gives is WHATEVER!! Real mature there deron. And how does he need so much money for a freecycle?? It is run on Yahoo groups for FREE. So what does he need millions of dollars for? I know, so he doesn't have to work. His aw golly gee line is old and tiring. Answer the tough questions deron. On the ModSquad and OIDG. We , the former owners of the original fc groups dare you. Or answer on here. But you won't. And on the last note, on our astroturf groups ( replacement ) the beggars are prevalent there. The ones wanitng money for their light bills, homes for their grandkids, someone to provide Christmas for their family, this is what we lost taking our, I repeat, OUR groups from fc. You want to knwo what changed when we took them off the fc platform?? NOTHING. Members could have cared less.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do away with deron and his wife and friend as the BOD of the organization. Keep it free, no money for deron and let the owners run their own groups.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

most are rude, arrogant,heavy handed people. Some owners and their husbands talk down to members, call them out on group. Things I would never do. And I would never allow a husband/wife team to own a group.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make deron and his wife rich. Which isn't fair to the volunteers who work their behinds off for their local groups. If deron gets money, so should all the owners and mods.

Ways to make it better...

deron and his cronies were not running the organization. And he would allow local owners the freedom they had at first. And be opne and honest. No gagging members of the OIDG or Modsquad.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

deron and his minions.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Freecycle (TM) is a great way to pass along items you no longer need. I am a current Group Outreach Assistance volunteer and am very proud to be a part of Freecycle. Most of the groups that have made the move to the new website are pleased with the ease of use and ease in moderation. The groups that have chosen to stay on Yahoo have the option of using the message maker with their Yahoo groups or just using the basic functions available there. Groups are not being forced to move. Each group may choose to remain on Yahoo or move to the new Freecycle site. As a GOA, I work with members and moderators to resolve any issues that might arise. Most of the member complaints we get are from members who have some difficulty in following the rules for each group they join. This just means that the rules need to be explained--and in some cases rewritten so they are more easily understood. Freecycle has very few rules that all groups must follow. Other rules are determined by the locally moderated Freecycle groups. When an interim moderator is requested for a local group, that IMod works quickly to find local moderators to take over and manage the group. The interim mods stay until the new moderators are trained and ready to fully handle the group. This is a great organization to be a part of. There are national moderator groups available to provide support for moderators. GOAs are available to answer any questions and to provide support.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the amount of items that are kept out of the landfills.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to work with a number of great moderators and members.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very helpful and cooperative.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Save yourself a lot of headaches and forget joining the freecycle network. If you wish to save things from the landfills, join any group you can find in your area listed on any (or all) of the following: www.sharingisgiving.org/ www.reuseitnetwork.org/ http://www.rubbermulch.com/ If you want to read additional eye-opening material, This was written in 2006 and it's still applicable: As I said in the beginning of this message, save yourself a lot of headaches and just STAY AWAY from the freecycle network.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen this organization repeat the same behaviors time and again. What's the definition of insanity.......... Repeating the same behaviors time and again and expecting different results

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of their so-called BOD and the executive director and take it back to a free, grass-roots organization. No attempt at copyrights and certainly no salaries for anyone

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Absolutely nothing (and before you jump the conclusion that I did something wrong, think again. All I did was start asking questions)

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Turncoats, talking out of both sides of their mouth. They'll tell you what a good friend they are, but they don't know you when you're gone.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

This organization doesn't need ten cents much less ten million bucks. It was run on yahoogroups free of charge, they didn't need the thousands of dollars they've spent SO FAR on a website, just to give away free things.

Ways to make it better...

I'd never have gotten involved with them in the first place

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Too numerous to try to list. Insufficient number of characters allowed.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2004-7-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The Freecycle Network (TFN) was a good idea back in 2003 before it was corrupted by its founder. What was supposed to be an individually owned and operated grassroots community groups, was discarded for an ED owned and operated corporate entity. An entity taken back by the ED through non-profiting something that was not his to non-profit. Before the non-profit occurred, there were hundreds of individually owned groups, which with no vote by the people who worked so hard to start it, lost ownership of them through a claw back by TFN's owner under the auspices of Founders Rights. The ED, has wife and best friend own the BOD and refuse to open it up to the members the non-profit is supposed to have, nor are they willing to expand the board. This non-profit has received hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 5 years for a website that is still in Beta and is NOT what was promised to the people. He promised commercial free, but it has a Google ad bar. He promised that it would host our community owned groups and instead it reverts ownership of them over to TFN. This non-profit has many serious issues which many of us are working to get changed; however, until dramatic changes are realized, I can not offer my support for this non-profit any more.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

failure to produce what was promised over and over. Unfortunately there is a pattern in this organization of promises that are not kept, lies that are exposed, and good people that are discarded.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

take it back to grassroots, where each group could be run according to the desires of each community - allow the communtiy to have what it truly needs.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the local group only. The corporate is riddled with problems, paranoia, power hungry folks, inexperienced managers and a BOD that is non-transparent.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

A random few were true gems and they have all left the organization or were forced out of the organization under Deron Beal's directive. The ones who are left are power hungry and paranoid.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

loose all the volunteers that started it and be run solely by Deron Beal and a few select folks whom he wants to make happy. It wouldn't solve the problems this organization has - it would make it worse.

Ways to make it better...

the organization had stayed truly grassroots and individually owned and operated. It is a shame that what could have been a worldwide phenomenum will slow die out due to poor management.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Management from the BOD to the Hub to the GOAs. There's too many inexperienced management folks who come from the place of paranoia and everyone is out to get them.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Deron Beal took an idea that already existed and put it on a new platform. That was a great idea, but that was where the great ended.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 3 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Freecycle has great potential, but it seems to becoming a dictatorship, with a few loyal core followers blindly standing by Deron Beal, while those who do the day to day work on the actual grass roots level are told to behave or they will make our groups disappear. Questions are silenced, passed on, or simply ignored about where the money goes.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

less landfill in my community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Put it back to it's grass roots origins. It doesn't take all that money to run Freecycle.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

is meeting locals who also care and knowing I am doing something good for the environment.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

both great and horrible. They run the gamut from honestly doing the job of keeping things out of landfills, to blindly following Deron Beal and squelching all opposition like bugs.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Really smash those who question it's leadership into mush hardly leaving anything behind to tell we were here.

Ways to make it better...

the leadership was more open and responsive.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

It organizer Deron Beal and his blind followers. He has lost sight of his original dream and goal.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Freecycle as it was begun is a wonderful thing, if it were allowed to return to that, it could be again, and even greater.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I think this is 1 of the best social network programs out there it is good for the environment, and low income people, it brings community’s, together and it lets people help others.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

keeping things out of the wast stream and helping others.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

the beauty of this program is it does'nt need money to work

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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