Getting started with Norfolk Freegle
You will see links to the relevant detailed Help pages at each step below, and you can see full-size images by clicking on any thumbnail. If you get stuck, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and a member of the volunteer team will respond as soon as possible. There is also a Help link on most web pages within the system, offering you detailed information about that particular page.
The most important step is to register. Full details are here.
As part of the registration process, you’re asked to provide your postcode, and the distance around that location from which you want to hear about offered items. This addresses a common complaint about the old system, that if you live on the borders of two or more groups you had to join them all to offer, request, and see other people’s items. As we operate one system for Norfolk & Waveney, you are free to decide what your own “local” area is within that.
You can add more locations later (e.g. you might be happy to offer and collect some items near your workplace), from My Settings And Alerts - see this page.
Setting your local area also means that, when you are logged in, the list of “recent Freegles” on the front page is tailored to your area, and the welcome text is related to your local community.
What are my options for giving and getting items?
If you have an item you want to get rid of, you can:
- Create an Offer for that item
- Search for existing Requests to see if others have requested similar items
If you are looking for an item, you can:
- Create a Request for that item
- Search existing Offers to see if others have offered similar items
- Set up an Alert to be emailed about new Offers in the relevant category
There are more details on all of these actions below.
Offering or requesting an item yourself
Links at the top of the page allow you to offer or request an item. The information requested is more detailed than on the old groups (this page explains what is needed), and this is for two reasons:
- Telling people exactly what kind of information to enter prevents the frustration of having offers and requests rejected because information is missing.
- Putting items in categories allows people to choose what information they get from Freegle, for example only being emailed about certain types of item. It also allows much better searching and browsing of what is already on offer. The biggest complaint on the old system was “there’s too much email”, followed by “I can’t search for the things I want”.
This change means that if you have several unwanted items it is best to offer them individually, rather than trying to list them all in one "various" offer message. It makes it more likely that people who want your items will be able to find them, and you can track which ones are at what stage of being Freegled (see below).
Each part of the Offer and Request process clearly requests the specific information you need. After the main information, there are a couple of additional things to complete. Firstly, if you have set up more than one location for yourself (see above), you can choose to offer or request your item from as many of them as you wish. See this page for full details. Secondly, you can add a photograph directly into an offer if you wish, something that was impossible on the old system. This page has more information on adding photos.
Freegle will try to match your offer or request with any that are already on the system when you make it. It will also match them up to any new ones that are made later. With the old Freegle, people often commented that it was silly to see a request for an item followed a few posts later by an offer of the same item. We agree, so we have made the new site more intelligent in this respect. This page tells you more.
Once your offer or request is live on the system it will be listed as “open” if you go to the My Freegling link from the main menu. Read more about the My Freegling page here. ”Open” means it is visible to other Freeglers and they can respond to it. You might occasionally see one of your items is “Awaiting Publication” – see this page for details.
Managing your own offers and requests
You can access all of your current offers and requests through My Freegling (see image above), each individual offer or request can go through the following stages:
- the item is offered or requested publicly
- it is responded to by other Freeglers
- one of those responses is accepted, and collection is arranged with that person
- the transaction is marked as completed (the equivalent of an old "taken" message), meaning it is removed from public view
There are also options to cancel a transaction with one particular person (e.g. if they fail to show up) and to withdraw the offer or request entirely (if an offered item is no longer available for Freegling at all, or a requested item is no longer needed).
All communication is done via Freegle, and you will get an email about new Freegle messages. This keeps your personal details private and ensures that if there is a dispute, the volunteers can see who said what and try to resolve it.
A full, step-by-step guide to the offer and request process can be seen here.
Getting alerted to new offers and requests
The My Settings and Alerts link on the main menu allows you to set up your email alerts. The most common complaint on the old system was “too much email” so we allow you to limit it by choosing which categories of item, and which locations, you want to hear about. Currently you can choose to get individual messages whenever a matching item is put on the system, or to receive a daily digest of matching items. This page has more details on setting up Alerts.
Note: Some members have suggested improvements to the Alerts system, and we are collecting feedback in order to make Alerts as useful as possible. This includes more control over when the digests are sent. Please email email@example.com if you have any suggestions to make!
Browsing and searching for other people’s offers and requests
Browse Items can be found on the main menu bar, taking you to a fully featured search page. A big advantage of the new system is that it’s easy to search for a particular type of item, as everything is categorised. You can also just find things near you. This page has full details on searching Freegle. Of course, if you happened to like the old “jumble sale” feel of just browsing, you can just select all categories at once!
Note: At present, you do not see your own items in search results, but thanks to feedback from members we know many of you would like to be able to do so. We are therefore working to make this an option as soon as possible. In the meantime, please check your items in My Freegling – remember that if they are listed as “open” then they are visible to all Freeglers.
Responding to other people’s offers and requests
When you see an offered item you would like, or a request you can help with, simply click on it to read more details. Then click the “request item” or “offer item” button (see left). The other person will be notified of your interest and you will get a reply later if they want to accept your response, to arrange a collection time etc. You can find more details here.
If the offered item you responded about ends up being given to another Freegler, you will be sent a message to say you weren’t successful this time; similarly for a request you'll get a message to say thanks, but somone else was able to help.
Offers and requests that you have responded to are also listed in My Freegling, and their current status is shown. The help page for My Freegling lists all the possible different statuses.