Start a Group

© Liesl Clark
© Liesl Clark

The Buy Nothing Project is a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies. Groups are set up (primarily on Facebook at the moment), using our Creative Commons public copyright-protected documents. These resources can be used as-is without any changes to create a Global Standard group, or changed (following Creative Commons’ license directions) to create a Local Variation group. The co-founders see all of these groups as equally important and valuable parts of the overall Buy Nothing movement.

The Buy Nothing Project is an incubator and library, seeding local gift economies all over the world with freely-given resources that help individuals build strong, vibrant, inclusive and equitable local sharing groups. We provide our materials through a Creative Commons license and provide local volunteers leadership training on how to steward a local community group. We also connect volunteers in an Admin Hub to provide support, up-to-the-minute announcements, resources, and answer questions.

Would you like to join an Admin team for an existing local Buy Nothing group? Check with the admin of your group to find out if there are openings in your neighborhood! Please review this page for more information about the admin role in the Buy Nothing Project. Once you’ve connected with the local admin team, please be sure to ask how you can connect with someone from the Development Team to learn how to participate in our free admin training!

Want to start a Buy Nothing group in your own neighborhood? Please be sure to double check whether there is an existing group for your local community listed here and on our maps before volunteering to start a new group. Once you’ve confirmed there is no existing group in your area, please read the information on this page and fill out our Start-a-Group form at the bottom to participate in our training! If there is already a group in your area and you’ve reached out to the admin team and haven’t received a satisfactory response from them, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page and be sure to connect with a Development Team member to learn more about starting an additional group to serve the community where you live.

As the Buy Nothing Project founding team sees it, the primary responsibility of Local Group Leaders (aka Admins on Facebook) is to uphold, through example and explanation, the Mission and Principles of the Buy Nothing Project. Each and every Buy Nothing group is led only by its local leaders and answers directly to its participants and community. Buy Nothing Project has a number of volunteers who can help you set up a group for your community, and a wealth of freely-given resources to help you lead your group. You will be solely responsible for its boundaries, rules, leadership style, and impact on your community. We are here as Buy Nothing librarians to provide you with tools you can use to build a group, and to help you make your group’s impact as profound and positive as possible, to help you bring an inclusive and equitable gift economy to life to serve your community well.

As stewards of the Mission to their varied local communities, volunteers are essential to the continued success of the Buy Nothing Project. If you love the Buy Nothing Project, have some spare time each week, and would like to help this amazing experiment grow in your neighborhood, we would love for you to join us! In addition to leading local groups, there are opportunities to collaborate within the Project’s internal support system and working teams to broaden our reach, strengthen our communities, and improve the Buy Nothing Project as a whole.

The primary duties of a Local Group Leader/Admin are to:

· Regularly review posts and comments, and take action regarding posts and comments that do not fit within the Rules;

· Model giving, asking, and gratitude within your own local group;

· Respect and explain the Buy Nothing Project Rules, guiding members to better understand and implement them;

· Model and encourage the Buy Nothing Project Suggestions for successful posts;

· Regularly engage members with Admin posts, comments and encouraging remarks;

· Strive to communicate with members with clarity, compassion, humility, and by offering a face-saving solution whenever possible;

· Respond to all membership inquiries in a timely manner;

· Respond to member questions or concerns and resolve group issues in a timely manner, in keeping with all Buy Nothing Project policies;

· Consider participation in the hyper-localization (sprouting) process when you feel your group is ready, as our goal is to grow a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies. Please note that sprouting is not required, and there are other possible options for dealing with the growth of your group.

It is very important for volunteers to be familiar with the Project’s Rules and Standards. Make sure to review these before moving forward. Another great source of information is our Frequently Asked Questions page. All Admins are also asked to regularly review and be familiar with our Mission and Principles. 

Local Leadership/Admin teams perform these roles collaboratively, with each admin taking on the tasks that feel most comfortable to them, as long as all of these tasks are completed. While these duties are often shared, it is important that every Local Leader/Admin be able and willing to take on any and all of these tasks if necessary.

A Buy Nothing Project Local Leader/Admin spends a bit of time each day checking the posts in their group to ensure they are within the scope of the rules, verifying and adding new members, modeling the behaviors and types of posts that inspire others in the community to participate and learn about the mission, and posting Admin Reminders or encouragement for more activity in the group as needed.

Local Leaders/Admins estimate that they spend 15-60 minutes per day looking over the groups, reviewing posts, replying to questions, verifying membership requests, and participating in the group, depending on the size and activity level in a group, as well as the number of co-leaders/admins.

We recommend that all Leaders/Admins have some access to a computer. Volunteers with access to Facebook only via their phone may have difficulty performing certain tasks.

Every Buy Nothing Project Admin lives in the hyper-local area where their group is located.

Here’s how Buy Nothing Project volunteers can help you set up a new group for your neighborhood:

1. Let us know that you would like to steward a group for your community by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Since you know your region better than we do, think about what area makes sense as a single group. You’ll want an area large enough to gather members, but not so geographically large that it will be difficult for members to connect in person. Typically, we hope for no more than 20 minutes travel time from one end of a group to the other. Groups with over 30 minutes of travel from one end of a group to the other should be a rare exception for very sparsely populated rural areas. General population of an area comes into play as well, since the best way to reach our goal of being hyper-local groups is to keep the size of the group itself small enough to build community. We recommend an area with a population of 25,000 people or less.

2. Each group will need one or two volunteers. As you participate in our Admin Training Course, consider asking a neighbor to volunteer with you in this endeavor. All admins must have a Facebook account. If you do not have one, you’ll need to create one in order to get started. Once your group is set up, we will introduce you to our Buy Nothing Project Admin Hub where admins and volunteers communicate, collaborate and contribute to the Project as a whole. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with a Buy Nothing Project Development Team member regarding setting boundaries, creating a map, and setting up the Facebook group.

3. There is a link in the form to a Buy Nothing Admin Training group. The training is set up in a Facebook group and all the Units are available to complete at your own pace. Our Training and Development Teams will be collaborating with you to discuss rules and expectations, to help determine recommended geographical parameters for your group, and walk you through the steps for setting up the group.

4. Once the group is set up and you start getting requests from the general public to join, we will add your group to the Find-Your-Group list and map! We encourage you to invite your neighbors, and talk about the Buy Nothing Project wherever you go!

If you’ve requested to join the training group and the Training Team or Development Team needs additional information from you before you can be added to the training, we will reach out to you as quickly as possible. Please be sure to check your Facebook “message requests” folder. Message Requests: 

Our Admin Reference Manual covers a wide range of topics and procedures, and provides a wealth of information for you to read at your own pace.

If you have any questions at all, the Admin Hub is a place where you’ll find answers! You can also connect here with independent one-on-one mentors and a variety of independent support groups.

After that, you can start posting in your group! We encourage all admins to set an example by posting offers and requests, as well as informative posts and helpful tips. You will find examples to get you started in the Admin Hub.

Keep in mind that the Buy Nothing Project is run entirely by volunteers, many with families and jobs, and there has recently been a huge influx of new-group requests. Thanks in advance for your patience!

Here is the direct link to our Google Form to get started!

653 thoughts

  1. Hi, I would love to start a buy nothing group in Sheridan Indiana. This town would benefit this type of group and the community would really enjoy it. Thank you

  2. Wouldn’t it be better to have a group expand it’s boundaries some instead of starting a brand new group?

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