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The Freecycle Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Recycling

Mission: To build a worldwide sharing movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.

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.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I was a volunteer group owner & moderator for 8+ years. I dedicated my time to growing my group & encouraging the "gifting" of usable items to others. DB decided to run the entire network with the ultimate motive of taking groups off the FREE Yahoo Groups platform & maintaining an iron grip to earn profits from the efforts of many volunteers. Of course, this is a "nonprofit"... The hard working volunteers like myself were all kicked to the curb if we even tried to question his methods- very sad.

The shell that remains of Freecycle is nowhere as effective or personal as before DB dictated all Freecycle groups must be on a private network with administrative costs that were not needed before. But he certainly made sure to earn "per click" on ads & asking repeatedly for monetary donations from the Freecycle members. Asking for money in ANY form was strictly unacceptable on the original Freecycle Network, at DB's insistence. But he changed the rules, as his needs changed. Many other methods exist based on the original Freecycle principles- those are the methods I choose to support!

And the "Board of Directors" has remained Mr. Beal, his wife & a friend. Fairly elected Board- never! So much for a grass roots movement gone wrong...

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been moderating with Freecycle since 2011 and love the site.It keeps items out of landfill and helps people furnish their homes for free.best organisation on the internet.keep it going folks :)

1 Donna203

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with Freecycle.org since 2004 and have watched the organization grow and continue to keep usable items out of the landfill. Groups have moved away from the awful Yahoo neo group system onto Freecycle's own network. If a group does not have a local moderator, the interim moderator team takes care of the group and actively searches for someone local.
Freecycle.org is still run by a great network of volunteers who work together to keep recycling items.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been A UK volunteer with Freecycle(R) for over 4 years now, and I love it, Many people say its just an American run organization, I can catogorically say that is not true, grass roots running of this organization is now UK and American.
Many many people have been helped by Freecycle(R) to set up homes and when they are in need of something that they can not yet find the cash for, Items are kept out of landfill and many members make friendships as well, It's a win win situation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best thing about being involved as a volunteer with Freecycle is the team work! I have never felt so supported nor so listened to by staff! My voice is heard to help the groups run more effectively and efficiently. There is a Wish List for all volunteers to submit and vote on what they think is most important for the tech team to develop onsite next. The member and mod support is second to none--for a nonprofit with only a couple of paid staff, these volunteers are always able to help with any tech issues immediately. Help is always only an email away.

2 James159

Donor

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization that reduces landfill, helps people and helps the community. I've met several members to complete exchanges and everyone has been a pleasure to interact with and I look forward to meeting many more. I highly recommend this organization.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

7 zlftcav

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

Review from Guidestar

6

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 3

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.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very happy with many of the transactions, both giving away excess stuff and getting stuff, with two kids, I'm not sure how I lived without it and with moving 3 times, it's been amazing to say the least!

7

Client Served

Rating: 3

I have been able to see some of my excess "stuff" go to good homes through this group, and have gotten some great deals to help my family budget as well. I love it!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 2

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.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.