The Fine Print

Criteria for Membership

By joining a Buy Nothing Group, you agree to participate in this Project at your own risk.

Adults Only ~ Give Where You Live ~ Join Only One Group

You further confirm that you are an adult, living within the boundaries of that group, that you do not belong to any other groups within the Buy Nothing network. You will be asked to confirm this information via Private Message.                Details


Standards for Posts & Comments

These are the types of posts that belong in our groups:

  • Offers of any goods or service you’d like to share, loan, or give away.
  • Requests for any goods or service you’d like to borrow, or keep.
  • Gratitude posts! Gratitude is key; it’s what fuels the magic.

Aside from goods and services, there are a few other types of gifts that fit into our mission:

Finally, in addition to gifts, requests, and expressions of gratitude, we allow a very limited scope of discussions directly related to this Project.               Read Details


Rules for Participation

  • Keep it legal.    Details
  • Keep it civil.   Details
  • Respect your neighbors.   Details
  • Give freely.   Details
  • Participate as yourself.   Details
  • Give from your own abundance.  Details
  • Buy (and Sell) Nothing.    Details
  • Ask and give creatively.   Details
  • Remember Our Mission   Details
  • All members participate at their own risk.          Details


Additional Guidelines

Here are a few guidelines for crafting your posts and comments:

These are not Rules, but are helpful suggestions and requests from the Buy Nothing Project.


By joining a group within the Buy Nothing Project, you agree to abide by our Mission and Rules as they are outlined above, and detailed below.  Every group within the Buy Nothing Project network is subject to the same rules and policies, regardless of location or size.  All Rules and Standards are subject to change.

Buy Nothing Project Policies Other Useful Tips! Buy Nothing Project Mission & Principles

More Details about our Fine Print

Keep reading to learn more about each of our rules in greater detail.


Criteria for Membership

  • Join only one hyper-local Buy Nothing Project group
  • Give Where You Live
  • Our groups are open only to adults
  • All members participate at their own risk

By joining a Buy Nothing Group, you agree to participate in this Project at your own risk. You further confirm that you are an adult, living within the boundaries of that group, that you do not belong to any other groups within the Buy Nothing network. You will be asked to confirm this information via Private Message.

You may not join our groups using a business profile, or using your business location. Groups in the Buy Nothing Project network are for individuals only, and not businesses.

If we discover that you have knowingly joined multiple groups, that you have moved or live outside of the boundaries of the group, or that you do not meet our criteria for “adult”, we will remove you from our groups.

Further grounds for removal are described in this document, including but not limited to:

  • Posting spam, marketing posts or items for sale
  • Joining any group with a fraudulent account(s) or with the purpose to defraud others
  • Incivility towards or between group members
  • Disrespect toward group members, their privacy or their property
  • Dishonesty or obtaining items under false pretenses in order to sell said items without disclosing that intention
  • Repeated instances of disregard for our rules or principles
  • Blocking or failing to communicate with an admin
  • Repeated complaints about the group or our rules
  • Statements in the group that lead the admin to believe that you are unhappy in the group or would like to be removed

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Standards for Posts

These are the types of posts that belong in our groups:

  • Offers of any goods or services you’d like to share, loan, or give away.
  • Requests for any goods or services you’d like to share, borrow, or keep.
  • Gratitude posts! Gratitude is key, it’s what fuels the magic.

Aside from goods and services, there are a few other types of gifts that fit into our mission:

  • Gifts of self: A Gift of Self is something that one member can do for another. It could be an evening of babysitting, a ride for an errand, help in the garden, a request for a spiritual act like prayer or meditation, or anything else that one neighbor might do for another neighbor..
  • Gifts of talent: A Gift of Talent is anything that one member can teach another. Examples include: cooking or canning classes, computer lessons, tutoring or anything else that you would like to learn or teach.
  • Gifts of time: A Gift of time refers to offering or asking for someone to spend time with. Examples include: jogging/walking/workout buddies, coffee/tea meetups, play dates for kids or pets, organizing an activity for the members of your group. This does not include open invitations to attend events that are also advertised elsewhere and open to the public, unless the recipient will be attending as a guest (or date) of the giver.

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Finally, in addition to gifting posts, asking posts and expressions of gratitude, we also allow questions and discussions about the Buy Nothing Project, the platform we use, or gifting economy culture, including links to relevant articles and information.

These discussions must remain civil and respectful, and must remain on topic. If you are unsure if a link is suitable to share, please check with your Administrator before posting.

These are the only types of discussions allowed in Buy Nothing Project groups.
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Rules for Participation

Keep it legal

Don’t offer or request anything illegal. Follow all national, regional, and local laws, as well as Facebook’s Community Guidelines

While we do not allow buying, selling or trading in our groups, we consider ourselves bound by Facebook’s definition of Regulated Goods, as well as Facebook’s definition of “Firearm“. For more information about this rule, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

The Buy Nothing Project also prohibits gifting or asking for items that endorse or oppose any current political party, candidate, or ballot option.

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Keep it civil

Incivility, cruelty, or harassment will not be tolerated in our groups.

Each group is open to every adult living within that group’s boundaries. We have no requirements about philosophy, politics, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, class, beliefs, or values. As such, our groups are diverse and allow us all to experience what it’s like to give, receive, and share with people who may not experience the world as we do. We are each empowered to make our own choices here, and that requires communication that doesn’t include such things as personal insults, slurs, or anything that veers toward hate speech. We are an inclusive, egalitarian movement, not open to active haters. We encourage everyone to report accounts that are responsible for hate speech and hateful action directly to Facebook, so that this platform and this group are safer for all of us.

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Respect your neighbors

Respect your neighbors, their privacy, and their property. Do not take anything from your neighbor’s property without specific permission. Only send a private message to another group member when they’ve asked you to do that; if you want people to reach you via PM, be sure to let them know. Remember that gifting in the Buy Nothing Project is always at the discretion of the Giver.

Do not use our groups as a means for collecting personal information about your neighbors, or to recruit people to join your religion, political philosophy, business or other organization. Our groups are inclusive and civil at their core. All group members should be respected as equals, just as they are.

Remember that integrity, honesty and trust are required for this gift economy to flourish, and for connections to develop between us here.

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Give freely

We do not permit trading, bartering, buying or selling within our groups.  Keep in mind that all gifts here must be given without any strings attached, and without any expectation of reward other than the joy of giving. Also remember that there is no limit to gifting or receiving in our groups.

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Participate as yourself

You must use your personal Facebook account, and not an account with a business name.

You may share or request goods or services from or for your business, school, charity or other organization, as long as those offers or requests are not presented as a way of marketing, advertising, recruiting, promoting or otherwise “spreading the word” about your business or organization.

Pursuant to our other rules, you may only join one group, and it must be the group where you live – not where you work, where you volunteer, where your place of worship is located or where you “hang out” most often.  You may not join a group in a location other than your own on behalf of a family member or friend. Please consider helping them set up a Facebook account of their own in order to participate.

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Give from your own abundance

We know that you want to help, but resist the urge to post referrals or recommendations of any kind, such as referrals or recommendations to outside organizations (even charitable ones), local businesses or service providers, or suggestions as to where a neighbor can buy or find something.

If you have information that you think may help one of your neighbors, ask if you can send a private message. Remember, it is not okay to post unsolicited advice in our groups.

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Buy (and Sell) Nothing

This is not the place to post anything related to the market economy, including marketing or advertising, items for sale or rent, requests for items you’d like to buy or rent, items you wish to barter, trade or exchange, or real estate posts. Ask your local group Administrator for your group’s policy on coupons and gift cards.

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Ask and give creatively

Our focus is on freely gifted goods and services. This does not include requests or offers for monetary assistance, including requests for loans, cash or donations (for yourself or anyone else), or posts looking for or offering paid employment.

Instead of asking for the money to buy what you need, simply ask for what you need. Instead of offering a monetary donation, offer something that might help your neighbor in some other way.

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Remember Our Mission

We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.

Please read through The Fine Print carefully before posting.

Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Express gratitude whenever you feel grateful. Aside from goods and services, we also encourage our members to request gifts of self, talent and time.

The only discussions allowed in our groups are those related to the gift economy and the Buy Nothing Project. Any other types of discussions do not fit within the focus of this Project and should be posted elsewhere.

Find somewhere else for personal status updates, requests for and offers of advice, politics, activism, community announcements, lost and found posts, referrals to outside resources (even charitable ones), or discussions unrelated to the gift-economy.

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All members participate at their own risk.

The Buy Nothing Project, Founders and Administrators accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, or legal liability that may arise from a member’s participation in our groups.

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Additional Guidelines

Here are some guidelines for crafting your posts and comments. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but are suggestions and requests by the Buy Nothing Project, based on our experiences, and our mission to build and foster healthy hyperlocal gift-economies.

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Be honest

Remember: We all participate in this project at our own risk. If you are sensitive to certain allergens, or you are concerned about the condition of an item, please ask the giver about those conditions.

A giver is not required to take back an item if it does not meet a recipient’s expectations. Nor are recipients required to accept an item if, upon seeing it in person and before taking it home, they realize it won’t work for them. If you find that a gift won’t work for you, just be honest and let the giver know.

See our FAQ for more about what to do if you receive an item in disrepair.

We don’t limit what happens to the things given here, we just ask for full disclosure so that everyone can give as they choose. When requesting an item, let your neighbors know if you are requesting the item on behalf of someone other than yourself or your own household, or if you are planning to sell the item or perhaps donate it to a charitable cause.

See our FAQ for more information about Reselling items.

It is very helpful to everyone if you take a moment to describe the item. If it is a cloth item, be sure to mention whether it’s been exposed to potential allergens. If there is any damage, be sure to describe it as well. If it has special sentimental value, we’d like to hear that too!

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Communicate clearly

Communicate in our groups the way you would speak with a neighbor in person.

Please use full sentences, not impersonal abbreviations or one-word comments such as “ISO” or “INO,” “WANT” “Next” or “Bump.”

When gifting a tangible item in the Buy Nothing Project, including a photo with your post is a great way to show your neighbors your gift. We ask that you use only one photo in your post, with any additional photos added in the comments. If you are unable to post a photo, consider looking your item up on the internet and providing a screenshot. As a last resort, you may include a link to that item if it will help you in your gifting. When posting a link, please keep all of our other rules and guidelines in mind.

Cross-posting of items to other sites is discouraged. We would love for you to commit to your Buy Nothing community. If items are cross-posted elsewhere, let your neighbors know by indicating this in your post.

When responding to an offer, please be sure that you communicate clearly about your ability to pick up the item in a timely manner. Givers are not expected to hold onto items for a recipient for any longer than is convenient, but we do hope that all of our members will do what they can to work out any scheduling mishaps.

Please do not feel the need to tell the group how much the item cost, how much it is worth, or how much it could be sold for. We view all gifts as equal, and so the monetary value is irrelevant.

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Practice patience

Add a comment to an offer if you’d like to receive that item. Wait for the poster to comment back to you before sending a private message.

Let your post “simmer” for a bit before choosing a recipient, whenever you can. If you need an item gone right away, make a note of that in your post.

It may take a while for you to get used to this new way of thinking. Be patient with yourself and your neighbors.

Need something gone quickly? If you have a deadline for your item, please mention that in your posts. The more details you include, the less likely you are to have miscommunications.

If you don’t have time to meet with your neighbors, and you need something gone right away, you can still participate. Let your neighbors know if you’ve put something out on the curb as a free offering, or if you see something in your neighborhood that one of your neighbors might be able to use.

Please communicate details clearly so everyone understands there’s no guarantee the item will be for them.

You may consider providing the location of the items via Private Message, or tucked into the comments to your post, to preserve your privacy.

Not all gifts in our groups will find a home, and not all requests can be filled, but don’t give up! Wait a while, and then offer or ask again, or “bump” your post by commenting to let your neighbors know that the item is still available or you are still looking. We add new members every day, and a new person may have just what you are looking for.

Please resist the urge to repeatedly “bump” your post. If no one has commented on your post, give it some time before bumping or reposting.

Once an item has been gifted, members are free to edit their posts to let people know. However, we ask that you do not delete your posts. Our posts become our shared narrative, and it helps in many ways to have a written, public history of what has happened between people here.

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Be yourself

Our goal is to grow a web of interdependence between real-life neighbors through giving, receiving, and sharing. Get to know your neighbors. Let us get to know you. We are all a part of this amazing experiment together!

While we don’t want our groups to turn into neighborhood chat groups or discussion forums, we do want our members to be friendly and communicative toward one another. We welcome comments like these:

  • What a beautiful dresser! (just a comment; we have plenty!)
  • Those are adorable shoes! (so sad they aren’t in my size!)
  • This is so generous of you! What a great neighbor!
  • I think Mary posted what you are looking for just a few days ago!
  • I’m out of town right now but I think I have some of these in my pantry. Could you message me on Tuesday if you haven’t already found some by then?
  • I don’t have what you are asking for, but I may have some information for you. May I send you a message? (Remember – do not send messages without permission)

As long as your comments relate to the post, are friendly and respectful, and don’t violate any of our other rules, please share them. This sort of comment thread helps neighbors connect, offer support and encouragement, and get to know each other better.

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Buy Nothing Project Policies

  • Buy Nothing Project Administrators are volunteer stewards of this international project in their local area. All Buy Nothing Project Administrators agree to uphold, through example and explanation, the Mission of the Buy Nothing Project. Administrators should not be expected to mediate between members, resolve legal matters or negotiate when things don’t go as planned. As all of our members are adults, we expect everyone to handle these matters for themselves. We ask that members handle these issues to the best of their ability with civility and respect.
  • The Buy Nothing Project, Founders and Administrators accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, or legal liability that may arise from a member’s participation in our groups. All members participate at their own risk.
  • Every group within the Buy Nothing Project network is subject to the same rules and policies, regardless of location or size. The one exception to this statement is with regard to coupons and gift cards. Please ask your local Buy Nothing Project Admin about your group’s policy on coupons and gift cards. All Rules and Standards are subject to change.
  • We reserve the right to delete anything that we feel doesn’t belong in our groups, usually without notice, or to remove members who act in a way that is not in accordance with our Rules, Standards or Principles.
  • The goal of the Buy Nothing Project is to create and nourish a network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors. To achieve this goal, when the Buy Nothing Project administration determines that a group has out-grown its current incarnation, it will be transformed into smaller groups devoted to more hyper-local neighborhood regions.  We call this process “Sprouting”.  Find out more about this process here

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Other Useful Tips!

  • To find the right group for you, visit our Find-A-Group page and visit the group page on Facebook. If there’s no Buy Nothing group in your home community and you’re willing to be a local Administrator for the group, click here to learn how to start your own Buy Nothing Project group.
  • To join your local group, click “Join”, and send a message to the local Administrator listed in the group description to verify your eligibility for the group. When the Administrator returns your message, it may be filtered by Facebook. Be sure to check your “filtered messages” folder for a message! This link will take you directly to your own filtered message folder.
  • If you have question – ASK! Our Administrators are available to answer your questions, help you find the right group, or provide clarification whenever possible.
  • Are you moving? Don’t forget, the Buy Nothing Project has groups all over the world! Every group has the same rules. All groups have a “One Group” policy and a “Give Where You Live” rule. If you are moving out of our neighborhood, our admins would be happy to help you find your new group! Remember to remove yourself from your old group when you go, or ask an admin to remove you. This will assist us in adding you to your new group as soon as we get your request.
  • Want to help? Our Local Administrators are essential to the success of this project. Local Administrators are supported by and collaborate with our vast network of Administrators throughout the world, including Founders, Global Admin Team, Regional Administrators and co-admins. If you have a spare hour or two each week and would like to help out with this amazing experiment, send a message to your Local or Regional Administrator and let us know!
  • Remember, this project is run entirely by volunteers. We all have busy lives, and sometimes things slip past us! You can help out your neighbors by commenting on their posts, encouraging their gifting, and offering your knowledge and experience of our rules, standards and mission. These comments should be civil, respectful and posted in the group where all members can see and learn from them. We appreciate your help!
  • For more, be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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    © 2016 Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller All Rights Reserved

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright holders, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to Liesl and Rebecca at

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