(c) 2022 The Buy Nothing Project, Inc.
Buy Nothing Project
Various Sprout Posts
This document was created by Buy Nothing Project volunteers on behalf of the Buy Nothing Project. You are welcome to screenshot the photos and upload them to your group if you find them useful, or use your own. You are also welcome to copy and paste the text below into your group and edit the words to meet the needs of your community. We’d like to stress that sprouting is just one of several growth options. Please be sure you discuss those options with your community and let them decide what’s best for them after reviewing the impact of dividing neighborhoods into new sharing groups. 
Why Sprout?
Why Sprout?
As we grow, we have the option of becoming more hyperlocal if that is what this group would like to do. When we reach approximately 1000 members we have the option to sprout into smaller, more hyperlocal groups, or we can choose other options which you can find in the following document found on the Buy Nothing Project website, www.buynothingproject.org/growth-options

In the Buy Nothing Project, each group has the option to “sprout” into more hyper-localized groups once the group gets too large and active. We call this process sprouting or hyper-localizing.

Why sprout? Lots of reasons:

1) A sprout means shorter driving distances - instead of going all the way across town you can just go down the block, or one neighborhood over!

2) In large groups posts can get lost in the busy feed. Smaller groups assure everyone's asks and gifts are seen by neighbors.

3) You can get to know the people in your group better and find out what they need. We build a closer community when we maintain a reasonable size.

There are lots of other benefits to a sprout, but it can also be hard to imagine this group being different in the future. What questions do you have about sprouting?

Connect More Deeply
Connect More Deeply
For many, the concept of sprouting an active, seemingly-healthy Buy Nothing group seems backwards and frustrating, especially when they have never experienced a sprout before. Why would you split this up because of size? Won't that mean less stuff? Won't that mean less activity? This feeling, this dread, is normal and human. It happens because we live in a culture that bombards us with "you need more, more, more!" This is a culture of scarcity. Stay frantic citizens - you might run out, so buy…buy…buy!

The truth is, we do not live in a culture of scarcity. We live in an era of abundance. We have so much stuff! This group is daily proof of that. Everything you have received from this group was already right here in someone’s home, and they thought it was just cluttering up their space. You don’t need to go out and buy it; one of your neighbors is probably going to be thrilled to give it away rather than see it go to the recycling center or the landfill. Your neighbors have whatever you may need, and the rest? It’s just stuff! The true heart of this group is YOU. You are the biggest resource in this community.

What you bring here in terms of kind comments, generous hearts, creative gifting, going out of your way to help others, finding unique and amazing gifts for that "long shot" request, bringing a meal to a friend who is sick, slipping over to bring a neighbor some sugar when they ran out mid-baking. THAT is who we are. THAT is what makes us awesome.

So when we sprout, remember this, change is hard but it’s not always bad. We will miss seeing posts and comments from certain neighbors, but many who have been feeling left out or intimidated by this large group will start to chime in again. The gifting may be slower for the first couple of weeks as everyone settles in, but once we get into the new groove, the pace will start to feel just right and we will all be able to relax and worry less about missing the next frenzy of posts. We will meet more like-minded people as we discover just how many people live in our immediate neighborhood and invite more of our real-life neighbors to join us here in the Buy Nothing Project. More people who love to be a part of us for all the above-listed reasons. More people who live closer to us. And we have SO MUCH to give; whether it's stuff, time, or talents. We'll never run out of things to gift…because WE are the true gift.

The most striking thing that happens when a group sprouts is that people start connecting much more deeply. You realize that the neighbor who just gifted you that winter jacket has a child a year ahead of yours at the same school, and you start saying hi in the school yard each morning. And the neighbor who dropped off a coffee when you were running out of steam? They live just down the way and love exploring the same trails you do. And—BONUS—all your pick ups are within just a few minutes’ drive. Or bike. Or walk.

Building Friendships
Building Friendships
Our member numbers have grown very quickly over the past few months. It’s a great thing! The word is getting out and more and more people are choosing to reuse, repurpose, and recycle their unwanted stuff by gifting it to their neighbors. Our planet benefits when we keep things out of the landfill. What’s more, as neighbors, we are directly benefiting from the abundance of stuff in our community which fills our homes with new-to-us gifts. And we benefit as people, too! We are social creatures and the connections we build right here in our own community that go from being online connections to in-person connections are just fantastic.

We’ve all had it happen – you see something posted that’s just your style and you express your interest. Then you meet them in person when you go to pick something up and you chat for a few minutes. And then a few minutes more. Before you know it, you’re on your way to being honest-to-goodness real life friends!

It’s *hard* to make friends as an adult. Like, *really* hard. Or so I used to think, back before I joined the Buy Nothing Project. Once you start to immerse yourself in your local gift economy, suddenly friends start showing up everywhere. You share a few gifts, you learn about your mutual interests (or taste in garden gnomes), and before you know it, you’re inviting them in for a cup of tea or meeting up for a coffee. And then there’s a group of you meeting at the park so your kids can play together. And then it’s a weekly thing. And then you’re chatting daily.

It’s friendship, y’all. And it happens oh-so-easily, if you let it. And it may take some effort, but you can turn these random encounters into friends for life, no matter how many times we move or our Buy Nothing groups sprout. Thanks for being my neighbor!

We're Growing!
We're Growing!
We're growing!

Our group has reached ______ members this week!

As we grow, we have the option to become more hyperlocal! When we reach approximately 800-1,000 members we can choose to sprout into smaller, more hyper-local groups.

Why sprout? Lots of reasons, here are some!

1) A sprout means shorter driving distances- instead of going all the way across town you can just go down the block, or one neighborhood over!

2) In large groups posts can get lost in the feed- especially since facebook doesn't keep things chronological. Smaller groups assure everyone's asks and gifts are seen by the members.

3) You can get to know the people in your group better and find out what they need. We build a closer community when we maintain a reasonable size.

There are lots of other benefits to a sprout, but it can also be hard to imagine this group being different in the future. What questions do you have about sprouting?

Meditate on the Magic
Meditate on the Magic
Meditate on the magic of being among close neighbors after a sprout - hope to make a new friend!

Photo: © Liesl Clark

Welcome & Happy Gifting!
Welcome & Happy Gifting!
Hello (YOUR GROUP NAME HERE)!

Welcome to your new hyper-local Buy Nothing group!

We are so excited to have you join us on this new Buy Nothing adventure. We hope that you enjoy the more intimate group, and get to know more neighbors living right around you!

As a brand new group, it may be slow in the beginning, and that may be a welcome change from the fast paced and hectic original group that you are used to. Take the time to "smell the roses", meditate on the magic, and talk to one another. May the random acts of kindness continue!

I am learning a lot from this process, and look forward to our more intimate group. I am loving the new names that I am learning, and discovering how close we all are. If I had known some of you were walking distance before, I would have introduced myself sooner!

Happy gifting!
Reasons to Sprout
Reasons to Sprout
It is so hard to believe how much we have grown!

Many of you have questions about the process we call sprouting, and we’d like to give you a few more reasons why we believe it’s a great option for this large group: 

* Neighborliness - the vision for the Buy Nothing Project is for neighbors to get to know one another through the group, and to form bonds and connections, weaving a web among all of the neighbors. As the group gets bigger, it becomes harder to know one another and to interact with all people. In encouraging personal and face to face communication, rather than anonymous giving, it becomes increasingly harder to get to know everyone in the group the larger we become.

* Warmth - in a smaller group where we can all get to know one another, the atmosphere is warmer, and more intimate. We know the people posting. We will know that someone is caring for their elderly parents, that someone is getting married, or someone was diagnosed with cancer. We can shed tears of joy that a neighbor is expecting after years of trying, and gather baby clothes. We can more easily reach out when we know each other and interact to help one another, rather than say, "Her name started with an S .... trying to remember ..."

* Less Competition - in a smaller group, there will be less competition for gifts, and we will get to know each other better. Instead of a line of 10+ people all clamoring for the same gift, you may see 2-3 people chatting and interacting on a post. Rather than just picking a random person out of a line, with a smaller sampling you can pause and think about what they might do with the gift, why they would need it, and your interactions with this person in the past. When it is your time to ask for that dresser that you really, really, really want, your chances of receiving will increase exponentially!

*Calmness - The page may be less active, but that may be a good thing. Calmer, slower browsing is something that we could all use in our often hectic, chaotic, go-go-go lives these days. Taking a moment to really pause on a post and appreciate the kindness that is here could be a welcome change.

* More personal - With a smaller membership, it is more manageable for the admin team, and makes it easier for them to focus on YOU as a *person* rather than data. In the past year, we have gone from one volunteer admin to four. Still, our local admin team is inundated with requests, member verifications, concerns, and other admin-ing responsibilities that keep us plenty busy! While it certainly helps in some ways to have more admins, it can also slow down our communication with members over concerns because we have more people on our team to reach "consensus." We are all volunteers, hoping to bring the best, safest and most enjoyable experience to all members. With a smaller group, we are better able to listen to concerns, educate members and work with them in achieving our mission.

* Care for our environment - the Buy Nothing Project was founded by environmental activists who are interested in ways that we can protect our earth by reducing our consumption levels, saving items from landfills, and driving less. The vision that we have in the project is one in which we can walk or bike to give and receive gifts more often. We hope to reduce our distances in driving, and lessen our carbon footprint in the only planet that we have.

* Accountability - in a smaller group, behaviors are more noticeable and people might feel more comfortable bringing up any issues, like “no shows” that they see within the group. 

* Safety - smaller, less anonymous spaces, mean we know what is happening within the group and who will be picking up from our homes and we can make that a safe experience for all. 

* Ease of pick ups - it can be much less of a hassle to pick up when the gift is right around the corner, rather than a 15 minute drive. More than that, participating with people who are so close to you can give you the opportunity to meet the people right in your area. In one town that sprouted, in the first week, a neighbor connected with a member of the group who, as it turned out, lived five houses down! They became fast friends, and had never interacted before despite being in the bigger group for years together.

* Outreach - Sprouting can help make new members and quiet members feel more comfortable in a smaller, more intimate environment.

We hear your concerns at the Admin Team, and we know that people are afraid to change. Change is scary. We understand these concerns, and we hope that you keep an open mind. Ultimately, the group is what you make it to be. If you want to see this work - it will! As we get closer to sprouting, let’s celebrate the success of this beautiful group, and allow ourselves to embrace the change with positivity. 

HopeS for Our Journey

Hopes for Our Journey
Thank you all for being part of this journey in the Buy Nothing Project.

I wanted to share with you some hopes that I have for our group.

We have a journey forward, and we have grown so much. As many of you are aware, when groups grow to over 1000 members, they "sprout" into smaller, more neighborly groups.

When this happens, here are my hopes for our neighborhood groups:

I hope that your pick-up commutes are shorter, and that there will be less competition for the gifts that you really, really, really want.

I hope that there will be fewer tardy pick ups, no shows and overcrowded bins, and that seeing each other’s habits more visibly in a small group will create more accountability.

I hope that we save on gas, and lessen our carbon footprint.

I hope that the shy ones amongst us and those who have withdrawn as the group has gotten bigger will be more comfortable posting in a smaller setting.

I hope that we get even closer to the goal of "buying nothing", by sharing in even the smallest of resources around us, and not driving 15 minutes for a cup of sugar in the middle of baking a pie.

I hope that you get to know the people living close to you.

I hope that you discover a neighbor around the corner whose kids can walk home with your kids, and someone who you can trust with your spare keys.

I hope that you can pause to meditate on the magic of our smaller group, and remember everyone's name and what they are looking for, who is pregnant, and who is getting married, who is caring for an elderly parent, who is preparing for their first trip to Disney World and who is battling illness.

We are strong. We can become even stronger in our bonds in a smaller space, where we all uplift and support each other. Our sprout groups will be as successful as we want it to be. It all depends on us.

What hopes do you have that could be accomplished in neighborhood groups?

Photo © Liesl Clark

Sprout Schedule Posts
Sprout Schedule Post #1: Announcement of New Groups
Sprout Schedule Post #1
Announcement of New Groups
The admin team is delighted to announce that we have XX brand new hyper-local groups to offer as we work together to close this group!

What does this mean? It means our community has gotten so large, and is so active, that the community has decided to create XX new groups! We encourage you to "friend" the people you have met through here before the group closes. Please remember that our community has grown together and won't ever be completely separated. By sprouting into more localized groups there will be more opportunity to participate and to meet people that live closer to you. What can we expect from our new groups?

1. Meeting people in your neighborhood - people who live just a few doors down, or a block away. Get to know them, their likes, needs and wishes.
2. Taking leisurely strolls, bike rides or a quick drive to pick up or drop off items that have been gifted.
3. Fulfilling the Buy Nothing Project's mission of enabling community members to build deep connections through sharing locally.

Members in this group now have 1 week to wrap-up our gifts and head over to the new groups. What do we do now??

First - Find and Request your new group. NOTE: Please find the CORRECT group that covers your local neighborhood.
Second – Answer the membership questions so the admin team can easily verify you have requested the right group for your area.
Third - Finish up your gifting here. Once you have joined your new local group, you'll be able to continue your gifts, asks, and expressions of gratitude there.
Fourth - Be patient while we process literally HUNDREDS of members into each group! The admins will not be adding anyone into the new groups until [Moving Day].
Finally - Start gifting, and asking, and give your admins a big pat on the back! They will be working hard throughout this process and can use all the gratitude you can spare!

So please head on over and join your brand new Buy Nothing Group! Once you join your new group, we will archive this larger group. We will begin adding members to the new groups on [Moving Day].

Buy Nothing Sprout Group 1
[URL]
Admins:

Buy Nothing Sprout Group 2
[URL]
Admins:

Thanks so much for all of your support! Here's to a smooth transition to our AWESOME new groups!

Sprout Schedule Post #2: Announcement of Archive Date
Sprout Schedule Post #2: Announcement of Archive Date
CONGRATULATIONS Neighbors! Buy Nothing ___ is sprouting into XXX new hyper-local Buy Nothing communities! To continue posting and gifting with your neighbors, find your new group and request to join! Admins will be adding members to new groups as efficiently as possible starting tomorrow. We will archive this group no later than [Archive Date]. We look forward to seeing you in the new groups!

*Gifting is now closed. No new posts can be created so we encourage you to make the transition to your new group and continue your gifting there right away!

If you have a gift or ask in progress please work to have that gift completed within the next 48 hours! Please note that starting [Moving Day], members will start getting added to the new groups and will start participating in those groups rather than in this one, so choosing a recipient for your gift might be harder if you wait longer.

Now here's what you need to do:
1.) Determine which group to join, if you're having a hard time either comment here or contact an admin, we are happy to help!
2.) Click on the appropriate link and request to join! Be on the lookout for a message from an admin with important information about getting re-oriented to the new hyper-local group once you’re added.
3.) Embrace the smaller community and continue to build connections with your neighbors!

Buy Nothing Sprout Group 1
[URL]
Admins:

Buy Nothing Sprout Group 2
[URL]
Admins:

Thanks so much for all of your support! Here's to a smooth transition to our AWESOME new groups!

Please be patient and positive during this transition, it will take time to add everyone to their new groups. It has been wonderful growing with you and we look forward to continuing to do so in the smaller communities!

Sprout Schedule Post #3: Reminder with Links to New Groups
Sprout Schedule Post #3: Reminder with Links to New Groups
Hi there! As you may have heard, Buy Nothing ___ has sprouted! This means that we have closed down this old group and have replaced it with several smaller, more hyper-local groups.

Here are the links to the new groups. Please click the one that is right for your neighborhood, and request to join, and please be sure to answer all 3 questions.

Buy Nothing XX
[URL]
Admins:

Buy Nothing YY
[URL]
Admins:

If you’re not sure where you belong, we'd like to help you find your new group! Please send a PM to <list of tagged admins> with the names of two cross streets closest to your home. Thank you, and we hope to see you soon!

Sprout Schedule Post #4: Sprout Schedule Post #4: Gratitude & Welcome to New Group
Sprout Schedule Post #4: Gratitude & Welcome to New Group
Dear Neighbors, Our recent sprout is now complete and now it is time for us to say Thank You! Thank you all for participating in this amazing experiment. Thank you all for making this recent transition as smooth as possible. Thank you all for joining us in the next step of our evolution! What do we do now? Now we pick up right where we left off! Keep on posting Gifts, Requests and expressions of Gratitude! And there's one last thing you can do to help - you can invite your neighbors and local friends! If you have friends in the neighborhood who missed our announcements during the sprout, they may now find themselves without an active Buy Nothing group. You can invite them to this group using the "Share" button at the top of the page. You can post a link to this page on your personal timeline, or you can send it in a private message. Just a small reminder - this group has all of the same rules as the old group. If you have any questions about the rules, or about anything at all, your admins are here to help. Again, thank you all for your continued participation in Buy Nothing!