Buy Nothing Project
Group Naming Conventions
PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to use the complicated conventions below to name your Buy Nothing group. We encourage people setting up private Buy Nothing groups to pick names that express their group's focus without inspiring negatively exclusive thinking and behavior. Buy Nothing groups are meant to be welcoming and inclusive of everyone who sees themselves as part of the group. You do not need to use geographic place names in your group name; this was a convention that helped the Buy Nothing Project grow to include people across North America. Now that there are so many Buy Nothing groups, geographic names are becoming confusing and have unintended negative impacts. We welcome noncommercial, individually-created and locally-led Buy Nothing groups with names that reflect local identities and communities. Contact us if you have any questions or would like help selecting a name for your Buy Nothing community.
This document was created by Buy Nothing Project volunteers on behalf of the Buy Nothing Project.

The following are suggested naming conventions that will aid in ease of finding groups on the Buy Nothing Project worldwide online list of gift economies. When naming a new group, or renaming an existing group, please try to follow the following patterns we use to list groups on our public website. This makes it easy for people in your area to identify and find and join your community. Here's a link to our Find Your Community List if you'd like to copy and paste it into a browser:

Each group begins with “Buy Nothing”
•NEXT: If applicable: Neighborhoods or towns, each separated by “/” (without any spaces) •NEXT: Specific cardinal sections surrounded by parentheses (i.e. “(North)” or “(NW)”)
•SPECIAL: Section or borough of City *See information below
•NEXT: City name (only if neighborhoods are *within* a city)
•NEXT: State or Province (state or province is to be capitalized and abbreviated)
•EXTRA INFO “& Surrounding Area” only if applicable *See information below

Each group begins with “Buy Nothing”

1. After “Buy Nothing” comes the name of the *smallest* geographical area covered. This is usually a town or neighborhood name.
  • Example: Buy Nothing Oromocto, NB

2. If there are multiple towns or neighborhoods included in the group, each town or neighborhood name should be separated by a forward slash “/”. Please do not use dashes (“-”), commas (“,”) or any other punctuation to separate town or neighborhood names.
  • Example: Buy Nothing Quispamsis/Rothesay, NB

3. If the group encompasses only *part* of a town or neighborhood, and you are using cardinal directions, landmarks, or streets to clarify the area, this comes after the town or neighborhood name, but before the next item and should be included in parentheses.
As we become hyper-local we are still actively working to end redlining.
  • Example: Buy Nothing Hollywood (Central & North), Los Angeles, CA
  • Example: Buy Nothing Neighborhood (Landmark), City, State
  • Example: Buy Nothing Neighborhood (Flower Ave/State St/Dream Rd), City, State
Find-A-Group page listing:

Sometimes it is necessary to mix these options:
  • Example: Buy Nothing Inglewood (North)/Ladera/Windsor Hills, CA
Find-A-Group page listing:
4. If the group covers neighborhoods within a larger city, the next item in the name should be a comma, and then the name of the large city, and then the largest geographical area not including the Country. In the US, this is the State. In Canada, this is the Province. In England, this could be the County. Whatever is used here will be used on the Find-A-Group page to categorize the groups. Do not use this notation to signify the metropolitan area or the large city that is *nearby* - Buy Nothing names explain where a community IS, not what it’s near. 
  • Example: Buy Nothing Beverlywood/Castle Heights/Rancho Park, Los Angeles, CA
5. If the boundaries of the group include an area around a city that is otherwise undefined, you can use “& Surrounding Area”. Please use the “ampersand” and capitalize each word.
  • Example: Buy Nothing New Maryland, NB & Surrounding Area

A: If the group crosses a city line, but includes only part of one city, the group can include two city names separated by an “ampersand”. 
  • Example: Buy Nothing Rainier Beach, Seattle & Skyway, WA
On the Find-A-Group page, this group can be listed under “Seattle” or under “Skyway”. Please let us know which city you would like it listed under.   

B: If a large city has several internal divisions or boroughs, you may include this information in the group name, after the neighborhood name and before the city name.
  • Example: Buy Nothing Woodlawn/Concordia/E Columbia/Bridgeton, NE Portland, OR
On the Find-A-Group page, this group is listed under “Portland” and then divided by section (“NE”)   

C: If the group crosses a state line, the group name can include both cities and states, separated by an “ampersand”.
  • Example: Buy Nothing Ontario, OR & Payette, ID
On the Find-A-Group page, this group will be listed under Ontario, OR and under Payette, ID. This is the only instance where a group can be listed on the Find-A-Group page in two places.  

More Tips:

For groups in a large city:
  • Whenever possible, please use neighborhood names, rather than cardinal descriptions. The focus of the Buy Nothing Project is on hyper-local neighborhoods. The names of our groups need to reflect that focus.
  • Neighborhood names are separated by a “slash”: / (with no spaces before and after)
  • Please include the City in the group name, as well as the State or Province.
  • Please do not include the Country
  • Ideal:
  • Buy Nothing North Shoal Creek/Crestview/Allandale, Austin, TX
  • Buy Nothing Century Park, Edmonton, AB

  • If there are too many neighborhoods in a group to include them all in the name, you can select a sampling of larger or more locally known neighborhoods from within the group boundaries, preferably trying to focus on neighborhoods along the outer edges of the boundaries to give an impression of the scope of the communities encompassed between them. It can be helpful, in these cases, to list more neighborhoods by name in the group description.
  • Buy Nothing Augusta Ranch/Santa Rita/Villages/Eastmark, Mesa, AZ
  • Buy Nothing Black Mountain/Paradise Hills/Mission Hills, Henderson (SE), NV

  • If there are too many neighborhoods in a group to include them in the name, and a sampling of the neighborhood names wouldn’t clarify the area, you may use cardinal directions to designate the portion of the city, with the expectation of eventually sprouting these groups into smaller more hyper-local neighborhoods.
  • Buy Nothing Brampton (Central), ON
  • Buy Nothing Brampton (West), ON
  • For groups that encompass an entire city or town:
  • Buy Nothing Arlington, WA
  • Buy Nothing Kokomo, IN

For Rural Areas:
  • Try to be as specific as possible in your group name. People will use these names not only to find the right group, but to rule out the wrong group.
  • Groups encompassing multiple towns include the names of those towns separated by a “slash” - /
  • Ideal:
  • Buy Nothing Chehalis/Centralia/Toledo, WA
  • Buy Nothing Forest Grove/Banks/Cornelius, OR

  • Please limit the use of “City Name (Greater), CA” or “& Surrounding Area”.
  • Please use an ampersand for “and”, and place the State/Province designation before the ampersand
  • Buy Nothing ____ (Greater), CA
  • Buy Nothing New Maryland, NB & Surrounding Area

  • Please use County designations carefully and sparingly.
  • Buy Nothing Pope County, AR
Once you have your name selected, you can add your Buy Nothing community to our online list via the List Your Gift Economy form on this page:

If you have any questions about naming conventions or how to make them work well for your Buy Nothing community, you can contact a Buy Nothing Librarian through our Help Center.