Recruiting Moderators

When the group gets too big to handle for you and your small group of moderators, or you feel it's necessary to step down, it's time to tap community resources and find some additional assistance or replacements. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Recruit a new moderator through a "Moderators Needed" notice. Click here for sample notices.
  2. Ask your GOA if there are any moderator applications on file.
  3. Recruit from active members who follow the rules and have no issues with other members. Here is a sample email you can use:
Dear Member, We have noticed you understand the true meaning of what Freecycle.org(R) is all about and wondered if you would consider becoming a mod for XXXX Freecycle. The basic activities of moderating normally don't take more than a few minutes a day and most moderators find the experience to be fun and rewarding. Orientation will take a few hours, but we have a self-guided course that you can go through at your own pace. Please let us know as soon as possible if this is something you would be interested in doing. We look forward to hearing from you.

Whatever method you use to recruit, the important thing is finding a good moderator to assist or as your replacement. This section will walk you through the process step by step.

Important Note: If you must leave your group on short notice and haven't been able to find a replacement, please immediately contact your GOA for your area. Your GOA will either take over your group or refer it to Interim Moderator Team (IMOD), which is a central volunteer team that keeps headless groups running until new local moderators can be recruited. Your GOA can also arrange for temporary cover if you plan to return soon.

Evaluating candidates

Once you have heard from interested applicants, here are some things to consider:

  • Does the member live in the area served by your Town group? Here's why it is important. If there's any doubt, check with your GOA.
  • Does the member demonstrate good written communication skills in their answers as well as their posts?
  • More importantly, does the member have a clean record on your Town group?

Notifying your GOA

Please make sure your GOA knows who you have selected for your mod team.

Orientation for Your New Moderator

For training your new moderator, there are two choices:

  1. We strongly suggest doing the orientation yourself using our new self-guided training materials. Your GOA can set you and your trainee up with access to the World Playground so your trainee can practice with your guidance, or you can train your co-mod yourself on your Town group.
  2. You can ask GOA to help. To set this up, contact your GOA.

Changing Member To Moderator

Now it's time to change a former member into a moderator. For those of you who aren't familiar with the procedure, here are instructions.

Welcome letter to new mod

The next step is letting your moderator know about the new privileges. There are several ways to do this. A personal note sent by you will work, as well as the following message as an example. Simply copy and paste... and feel free to edit as necessary!

Hi XXX and Welcome!

I just made you a moderator and you now have the ability to approve pending messages and members. This will be a one-week orientation period and at the end we can evaluate how it went and you can decide if you want to come on board permanently! You can find the Orientation guide here: /pages/newmodorientation

The online Mod Manual is an invaluable tool that provides answers to many questions you may have pertaining to daily operations and management of your Freecycle group. From start to finish, it walks you through basic procedures and gradually introduces you to the finer details of being a moderator. It can be found here: /pages/ModManual/ModResources

Thanks and good luck. We look forward to working with you!

Final Steps and Parting Words of Advice

The preceding instructions provide a solid starting point to get your mod on board and trained. Here are some final words of advice:

  1. Establish a rapport with your new mod. Make yourself approachable and available. Be friendly and nice. We all have lives outside Freecycle but the reality is that training will be much easier if you put forth the gesture of being open and establishing communication. A friendly email or IM inquiring on progress or well-being goes a long way to establish that initial line of communication.
  2. Make yourself available as much as you possibly can, whether it be through email, SMS or otherwise. Your new mods need you to be there because they are counting on you to help them with even the most menial of tasks. If they feel deserted, they will lose confidence and set up for failure.
  3. Just because you think a question is easy for you, doesn't mean it's easy for your new mods. Remember how uninformed and new you felt when you first started? Put yourself in their shoes and remember that someone gave you a chance. This is your shot at giving them a chance and starting them off on the right foot. You have to start somewhere... that being at the very beginning.
  4. Do not belittle or make your mod-in-training regret asking you a simple question. It's a matter of trust that you two have forged. You trust that your new mod will learn the appropriate tasks and your mod trusts that no concern is too insignificant and no question too silly to ask. The first time that you make your mod feel dumb for asking the basic of questions is where you will lose that mod's trust.

Sometimes a new mod will not work out no matter what you do. Personalities clash, attention to detail waivers, or maybe they simply aren't cut out for the position no matter how hard you train them or how much instruction you provide. If you have to let a mod go, do it gently and kindly.

Thank them for their time and let them know it just didn't work out. There is no need to pinpoint every bit of blame where they lacked proficiency or point out their mistakes. That's just a cheap parting shot and does not serve any part of member relations and communications. Better luck next time with another mod trainee. It just happens. Finally, don't forget to inform your GOA in the event that your new mod that didn't work out. Now go forth and recruit! Best of luck on your endeavor.

Tags: #fcmodman

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