The Freecycle Network

Rating: 2.56 stars   27 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  

4 people 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  

6 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  

4 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  

8 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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Rating: 2 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

As an MBA and a CPA with over ten years of business management experience in non-profit operation, I found that volunteering as a list owner/moderator for Freecycle was a welcome relief to the business side of things that I normally dealt with. That was in the beginning - not so much now. I have been through three major waves of volunteer departure, and every time another one begins I consider whether to take my group out also. So far, the benefits of staying in have outweighed the benefits of leaving, but the margin is narrowing and I don't think I'll stick through the next one, which is surely coming around soon. Why do I stay? I believe very strongly in the stated mission of Freecycle and the results Freecycle gets at the grassroots level. I could take my group to a number of other recycling organizations that hold those same ideals, but the one thing that holds me is the name recognition. When folks in my area hear something about Freecycle, they can go to the Freecycle website and find my group and know exactly where to sign up. They jump on my yahoo group and they are plugged in to Freecycle - that easy. HOWEVER, that name recognition is beginning not to carry as much weight as my conscience, which is bothered by my association with an organization that has begun to rule heavy-handedly and seemingly counter to the mission, and which seems to have a never-ending appetite for money. Some of my issues: 1) Punitive upper management. As an owner/moderator and a member of moderator talk lists, I feel that I cannot express my concerns or opinions that are not the party line on those lists (begun to facilitate communication between TFN, moderators, and organizational volunteers) - however tactfully - without drawing a target on my back. I've seen it happen too many times with fellow moderators and fine folks I have come to think of as friends. 2) Money-grabbing/Bloated management. Freecycle, as an organization that says its proud of its grassroots initiative, should need little more than a great website where folks can learn about the concept of Freecycle and how to find their local group. Even publicity is relative unnecessary - most folks hear of Freecycle through word of mouth and news stories. 3) Questionable fundraising tactices. One example: The counts they use to solicit funds are overstated. They have to know that and they have to realize they don't have a way to account for the duplicated numbers. Right on their homepage they state the number of members they serve; however, many members belong to multiple groups, myself included - I belong to eight different FC groups, so I count as 8 members in FC's fundraising eyes. In a lot of grantors' eyes, numbers served is very important. I wonder if THEY know about the duplication. 4) Shift from positive to negative organizational management. I've seen the environment of the organization go from one of collaborative goodwill to autocratic rule by the Executive Director and his BOD. I've noticed that as folks question things that go on, another layer of bureacracy is laid down between the ED and the grassroots volunteers like me, almost as though in response to paranoia. All in all, the frontier attitude that existed in the beginning, the attitude of "We'll give you the tools and you go make it happen in your community" has faded away to one of control and domination, of fear that local moderators may take too much control and not give credit back to the powers that be.

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

my local area as it has promoted recycling and green behavior.

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

Set up a real BoD - no people directly involved in the operation of the organization so they could advise objectively,selected from various areas of expertise so they could have a wider range of knowledge. They would be arms-length directors-not related.

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

working with my neighbors to make the world a better place. Meeting other moderators with a mission similar to my own.

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

unprincipled. As a moderator, I've been lied to, ignored, condescended to, fed the party line. I'm referring to direct volunteers and all staff, not to fellow moderators and list owners.

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

Have a big fat reserve and an ED wealthy on the backs of his grassroots volunteers and the charity of grantors. This organization really shouldn't need a lot of money to be successful. Most of the resources that make it tick are free.

Ways to make it better...

the organization had stuck with its original environment.

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

Its greed. Its loss of vision. The fact that it thinks a good organization puts its resources to overhead, not out to "where things happen".

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

The local lists are what make this organization successful, and we do it without ever needing a dime. What we need to continue to do well is the support of the organization, not the micromanaging punitive patrolling we get instead.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

The original concept of freecycling was a wnderful one. Bring neighborhoods together to keep still useful items out of landfills. Anyone interested in starting a group was invited to do so under the Freecycle name and banner. Unfortunately the founder and a handful of power-tripper volunteers are attempting to use volunteer labor so they can as Deron states "sit home all day in his pajamas". Everything must be free and appropriate, but he felt entitled to a percentage of advertising revenue from Yahoo!Groups (which worked just fine for the thousands of freecycling groups) and so he got volunteers to create a new website, where he does sell advertising, and he has his hat out for donations and sponsors.

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

4 years I've seen volunteer management leave in numbers due to shady dealings. The founder or his upper minions have spied on individual groups and I've seen hard working group owners and moderators treated like naughty school children (and spied upon!)

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

have a REAL Board of Directors and I'd listen to the volunteers out in the trenches. They are the ones who know what is needed, and different cultural areas, urban, rural, etc., all have individual needs.

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

moderating my local group, keeping useful items from landfills and with the financial struggles many are going through, being able to get things for free has been a huge help.

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

The other group owners and volunteers are wonderful. The people running Freecycle at the state, regional and national levels are the rudest, power-tripping people I have ever dealt with in any capacity. I would eliminate those people and those jobs asap

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

have a wealthy Mr Founder & Mrs Founder. Freecycle operates by individual groups, and all the good it does in the community are at the grassroots, neighborhood level. There is NO need for any money because it is a volunteer organization.

Ways to make it better...

the groups had been allowed to run as they were originally intended. Each owner had guidelines and a half dozen rules that had to be enforced, but when Deron Beal created his own website and groups have been forced to join, it has gone downhill.

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

the backstabbing and backbiting among the various levels of TFN. The individual groups run smoothly and are great. The levels above are extremely unprofessional and unethical.

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

The basic idea was great - keeping useful items from landfills, and it does that well. It would do it better if it had a CEO who wasn't trying to make a living off thousands of volunteers. It's too bad there isn't a better way to use us.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Freecycling is a great idea and new word. People have been doing it curbside for many years but did not have a word for it. Using free online mechanisms like Craigslist, Yahoo groups, Google groups, and email lists popularized the new word and makes freecycling even easier. Unfortunately The Freecycle Network (TFN) ended up being rather hypocritical in trying to take back a word they gave away for free (notably the new word freecycle) by suing and harassing those who just wanted to use it as a new word. Furthermore TFN decided to be even more hypocritical by asking others for MONEY to run a service that others are happy to provide for free (freecycling is supposed to be about giving things away for free). This also runs counter to the whole REDUCE, Reuse, Recycle mantra. Finally, TFN suffers from too much group think and cliquishness such that it wants to prevent others from freecycling if they don't freecycle the way TFN wants them to freecycle. The executive director is the primary person making money from TFN and sits on the board along with his wife and a close friend. The executive director essentially has control of the board -- this does not seem like a very good idea for a nonprofit corporation. If TFN was simply an educational and advocacy group that promoted freecycling, that would be a worthy cause. But in trying to monopolize the world of freecycling they are overreaching and wasting precious resources.

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

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

its original vision.

Ways to make it better...

the organization had really stuck to its original vision and not become hypocritical in myriad ways.

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

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Freecycle started off as a wonderful idea. As I got higher up in the Freeccyle Network I realized the amount of total control that was being exerted by a few very closed minded people. Disagree with them and they try to take your group away by removing you as the owner and moderator. The monies that Freecycle are being provided as a non-profit are going directly to finance the lives and pet projexcts of their restrictive Board of Directors (The Founder, Deron Beal: his wife, and a friend). The Board of Directors has complete control over the organization and has declared that the members cannot vote. There is a yearly meeting but it is only for the 3 members of the Board of Directors. They are the only ones notified and they are the onely ones permitted to vote. This organization is entirely for their individual and personal profit and comfort.

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

The results were good until Founder's Syndrome set in and any discussion was stomped on.

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

Dismiss the present Board and as for volunteers to run for office. TFN members would be allowed to vote for the next board and the annual meeting would be publicized. Deron would no longer collect an annual salary.

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

the people that I've met and the amount of items that WE have kept from the landfill

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

Controlling and discriminatory. When asked the reasons for their actions they replied with lies and misinformation or just didn't reply at all. This is a club or clique not a non-profir

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

set Deron Beal and his wife up comfortably for life.

Ways to make it better...

the TFN volunteers were respected and their opinions and suggestions accepted for dicussion. As it is- as a group owner/volunteer if you do not agree with the BOD you are asked to give up your group and leave.

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

The fact that Founder's Syndrome has set in and that the Board of Directors has decided to feather their own nest.

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

The owneers and moderators of the local groups do an excellent job. The organization is where the problem lies.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

How can a non-profit allow Deron to pad his pockets, especially if he receives this grant, when he will not allow anyone else to pad their pockets. For an organization to be FREE, he sure is raking in the money from the landfill kick backs. Just doesn't seem fair that he receive this $250,000 grant. Why not put it to better use and feed the children here that do not have food, or provide housing for the single mothers who have lost their homes. If Deron at FC gets this money, he will pad his pockets and that is just not fair. FC is not what it once was. It has become a money maker for the founder.

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

the news. And they are way over rated. It is nothing more than Deron padding his personal pockets. nothing more.

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

put the prespective back where it should be. A FREE organization to keep things out of the landfills. Not a sob story site that thinks you owe them whatever they want.

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

nothing when the founder is padding his pockets

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

horrible. Just horrible. They post their Admins of what you cant do and then the next post is one that you cannot do and the owners/mods allows it to go thru. Contradicts their own guidelines.

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

Deron would retire.

Ways to make it better...

the message boards were not a give me, give me i have the biggest sob story so give me now. And most of the members seem to think you have to furnish their homes for free

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

they want all the publicity they can get, they need to follow their own guidelines and they need to stop padding Derons pockets.

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

Give the grant to a deserving group that can better PEOPLE in this economic crunch. Help mothers provide homes and food for their children. NOT to give Deron this kind of money for himself. Have you seen their breakdown of the money? Depressing.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

In my opinion and experience, The Freecycle Network (TFN) suffers from Founder's Syndrome and will continue to do so as long as Deron Beal remains at the helm. There is a long sordid story that goes along with not only having been the listowner of Freecycle St. Louis, listowner for the Missouri state modsquad, previously the New Group Approver for Missouri as well as a member of the IMOD team and a former Group Outreach and Assistance team member - obviously I've seen aspects of TFN from many angles and advantage points. In my experience, anytime a volunteer asks questions that Deron or "the inner hub" feels he doesn't want addressed, that volunteer is moderated (gagged) on the OIDG and the country's modsquad forums which were initially setup for the VERY purpose of facilitating communication between Deron, the inner hub, and the vast team of volunteer moderators. Eventually I saw the writing on the wall after years of watching large waves of TFN volunteer moderators leave the organization, each time repeatedly citing the same problems as previous waves of departing moderators had expressed. So after a very long deliberation, I moved Freecycle St. Louis from TFN to another Reuse type network where the membership has continued on the mission of keeping good items from the landfill without TFN's interventions.

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

many different aspects over a number of years, and I'm seriously concerned with the direction the organization is heading.

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

remove Deron Beal from the helm and welcome back thousands of former volunteer moderators to return, with their groups in tact, to reunite the currently splintered online freecycling community.

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

I met many great new friends who share many similar principles.

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

For the vast part, WONDERFUL. But power corrupts...

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

continue to waste that money on Deron's pet projects instead of making a significant difference in our world.

Ways to make it better...

Deron Beal would have listened to the waves of departing volunteers and made the appropriate changes to the organization to better reflect the overall mission.

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

Founder's Syndrome.

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

Deron had a GREAT vision, I'll always give him credit for founding TFN.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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