Build A Buy Nothing Gift Economy

© Liesl Clark
© Liesl Clark

The Buy Nothing Project is a worldwide network of local gift economies. You can create your own Buy Nothing Gift Economy Community in many ways.

  • We’re developing a free app that will be available to the world. Our app is a custom-built platform that allows each of us to create a Buy Nothing community that meets us where we are. You can learn more about it here BuyNothing app.  
  • You can learn about how to build community the Buy Nothing way in our free Buy Nothing Academy.
  • You can set up a Buy Nothing community in a Facebook group. You’ll find all of our freely-given resources to do this here.
  • You can set up a Buy Nothing community on another platform using any of the resources in the Freesources section of our public Buy Nothing Library. We hope you’ll also use these Helpful Posts to get things started.
  • You can set up a Buy Nothing community in person and offline. That’s how this whole thing started, and we have freely-given tools here that you can use to set up in-person gift economy events.
  • Have you already built your Buy Nothing gift economy? If you’d like to be listed on our worldwide list of Buy Nothing gift economies, please fill out this form

671 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?

  3. Is there any other platform besides Facebook to connect with a Buy Nothing Group? Facebook blocked my account for an unknown reason, so I am now unable to participate in my local buy nothing group. Thank you.

  4. Hi Elee Jones! Thanks so much for asking. Yes! We’re racing to build a custom BuyNothing app that will have even more sharing features than Facebook groups are able to provide and we’re so excited to roll it out. The first version will be bare bones so we can all give feedback and build this new platform together so it can be the best gift economy experience for everyone, with a focus on equity and allowing for each of us to define our own “communities.” Please sign up for our waitlist at and we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the app goes live!

  5. Do I need permission to start a buy nothing facebook page? Or can I just start one up?

  6. What happens when group admins don’t want to follow the guidelines about splitting the group. We have one that is over 1300 people it’s to big and doesn’t feel hyper local anymore and the admins are not willing to divide the group.

  7. I have been waiting to join the local buy nothing group for 2 months. No one responds to me. Please help. Thanks!

  8. Hi Leslie: We’re so sorry this has been your Buy Nothing experience so far. If the local admins of a Buy Nothing Facebook group or any BN group of any platform are not responding, that means they are likely not actively leading the group. It’s a volunteer job and takes time. You’re welcome to private message them directly to try to connect with them. You can also sign up for our upcoming BuyNothing app that will be available to all who join. We are aiming to launch by September 1 2021.

    Since you’ve commented on our Build a Buy Nothing gift economy page, it looks like you’ve seen that you can also start your own Buy Nothing community on any platform, and you’re welcome to take the free online course we offer for anyone to take, to learn how to build community through local sharing both online and offline:

    Hope this helps!

  9. Hi Katrina:

    Sprouting a local gift economy into smaller clusters of neighbors can be tough on a community, where some can feel separated from their neighbors via the ‘boundaries’ set up to create new smaller gift economies. We have found, over time, that giving many options to community members to address the concerns of the less-than-local feel of gifting communities when they get too large, including sprouting into smaller gift economies. These decisions are up to the entire community, so your voice is absolutely valid, as are the concerns of those who may not want to split up the sharing group. We have seen many solutions to this take place:

    Any participant is certainly able to set up a new smaller local gift economy for their neighborhood. We have a free online course that anyone can take which gives you the tools to build the kind of sharing economy you’d like to see in your home community. You can find that course here: The course, at the end, points you to the resources we’ve created for anyone who wants to start a new gift economy via Facebook: You can also skip the course and just go to the FB resources page I just linked to.

    You can also join our upcoming BuyNothing app and invite your nearby neighbors to join the app, too, where you can all be the change you’d like to see and build an accessible sharing experience for all. You’ll be able to share with as many or as few nearby neighbors as you’d like, based on your own choices.

    Your local group admins can also consider capping the group so it doesn’t grow larger, and a new group could be started for new participants to join. We discuss all of these options in the Buy Nothing Academy, which we encourage all participants to take, to learn how each of us has agency in building the kind of sharing and circular economy that we believe contributes toward more resilient neighborhoods.

    Thanks for writing in and I hope this response has been helpful.

  10. Hi Barb:
    You don’t need permission to start a Buy Nothing group on FB, but we do require that you essentially “agree” to the terms of using our Creative Commons Licensed materials to do so. In essence, by using our materials and resources, freely given to you, you are agreeing to use them with attribution. This page, which you’ve commented on, can get you started in finding those resources, and we greatly encourage you to take the free online course at the Buy Nothing Academy to gather all the tools that are helpful in stewarding such a group. Once you’ve set up your group, do be sure to contact us via our List Your Gift Economy form so we’re sure to add it to the worldwide list of Buy Nothing gift economies so your community members can find it:
    Many thanks for joining us!

  11. We were very active in our previous Buy Nothing group. When we moved, we requested to join our new local Facebook BN group. It has been several weeks and we still haven’t gotten any response to our join request. It seems that the group is active (several new posts per day) but that the admins are not very actively engaged anymore. Any recommendations on how you best connect with our local group if the admins aren’t reviewing/responding to new member requests?

  12. Hi Chris: We’re sorry that it’s taking so long for your local admins to add you to the Buy Nothing Facebook group. Perhaps try reaching out to them via private message on Facebook, or if you know any neighbors in the group you could ask them to ask the admins to check the membership queue. Please also know that you can join and help grow your local gift economy through our new upcoming BuyNothing app by signing up for the waitlist for the app, which will launch in a few months, here:

  13. Can someone set up a Buy Nothing group for a School Community to gift things? Or should Buy Nothing be strictly neighborhood based?

  14. when a group of 1300 members are happy the with way the group is running and averaging 25 post a day but admins want to split the group what say does the community have reguarding sprouting.. ? thank you

  15. Hi Erin! You can most definitely create a school community Buy Nothing gift economy. And in the BuyNothing app, it’s easy to note your school name as your neighborhood or “sharing location” so others immediately know you’re part of that community.

  16. Hi newme58: The community has lots of sway in deciding what’s best with regards to their local gift economy. We encourage all participants to speak up and offer their ideas about what might be best for their community. And please also know that we now have the BuyNothing app available so community members can use it as an option to “sprout” to. Participants can then share widely or in a very hyperlocal sense, based on their individual needs and desires. It’s great to know that you have many sharing options available to you in your community.

  17. Hello! I recently found out about the Buy Nothing movement and I’m very curious, but have some logistical questions. I’ve just bought my first house and am slowly renovating before moving in. I currently live with my family, and my family’s house is within an existing group’s boundary (Chapel Hill North) but my new house is in a region without a group – pretty much smack in the middle between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough in NC, in the rural buffer, about a five-minute drive from either of the two nearest groups. Between renovating, working full-time, and having no FB experience, I’m not really comfortable committing to adminship of a brand new group. If I join the group I live in now, will I have to leave it when I move five minutes north?

  18. Great question, Moe! I’d say download the BuyNothing app! It’s here, although still in beta, so you’re welcome to start sharing right now. It’ll enable you to post Gives, Asks, and Gratitude and if you or your family members and neighbors can share the news to your local Buy Nothing groups then everyone who lives in that rural area, and even in the more populated areas, can participate, too! Each of you will be able to adjust your sharing radius to meet your needs.

    If you’re on iphone here’s a link to the app in the App Store:

    And if you’re on Android, the Google Play link is here:

    Come join us in the app!

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