1. Area of validity
The Internet platform, betterplace.org, is operated by gut.org, a non-profit organisation (gut.org gAG, Schlesische Straße 26, D-10997 Berlin). The gut.org gAG is a social enterprise: all means are used exclusively for the charitable purposes laid down in its articles of association.
These terms and conditions apply to all users registered on betterplace’s platform and visitors to the platform. They regulate the rights and obligations of the users and visitors to the platform, betterplace.org, as well as for use of the platform’s functionality. In as far as the term “betterplace.org” is used in the following – the legal relationship is with gut.org gAG as the platform operator. The term “conditions relating to donations” is understood independently of the tax status of the projects that are supported and their sponsoring organisations.
In addition to these terms and conditions, Data Protection Regulations must also be observed. In the event of a project, organisation or company registering themselves, additional terms and conditions shall apply.
2.1. User registration is free of charge. Certain functions available on betterplace’s platform are available only to users. It is particularly required that registration of an organisation, project, company or fundraising event is linked to a prior user registration.
2.2. The minimum user registration age is 14 years. People under the age of 18 should also inform their parents before registering. We also request people to be sensible when handling their personal data. When a user creates a user profile, (and later when the user adds information to the profile), if unsure, he/she should only provide information that is required for the registration process.
2.3. The information provided by the user in the registration process must exclusively include true statements, particularly relating to identity and age.
3. Obligations and secondary obligations of the user
3.1. The user is fully responsible for his/her conduct on betterplace’s platform and also responsible for the content and the accuracy of the content that he/she publishes on the platform. Before actually participating or publishing content, the user is required to ascertain that his/her conduct or content does not breach any statutory regulations, moral standards or the rights of third parties (e.g. trademark law, law relating to the use of names, copyrights and data protection and laws pertaining to the legal protection of children and young persons). In particular, before publishing text or pictures, the user is obliged to obtain prior consent from the involved/affected/concerned parties, for example from the photographer or the people featuring in the photograph. The user should be in the position to provide gut.org gAG with evidence of this consent when requested at any time. The user exempts betterplace.org from any claims from third parties arising from a violation to this obligation.
3.2. When using betterplace’s platform, the user is required to take into consideration that betterplace’s community (the community composed of all the users and the operators of betterplace.org) treats its members fairly, appropriately, and with respect. Particular reserve and respect must be shown towards people of other opinion about world-views, religious or political beliefs, for example.
3.3. Direct publication of the following content on betterplace’s platform is not permitted, further, it is not permitted to link or facilitate access to such content:
- Material that is offensive or harmful to minors, particularly pornographic and immoral content or content extolling violence
- Content that incites or glorifies hate, violence or any form of discrimination
- Inaccurate factual claims or insults
- Vulgar or obscene expressions, disrespectful, provocative and aggressive conduct towards other users Misleading content
- Appeals for boycotts or non-peaceful or illegal dealings.
3.4. Should the user find content on betterplace’s platform that he/she thinks breaches existing regulations in the terms and conditions of use, the user is required to inform betterplace.org: e.g. by email (to: email@example.com) or by post (to: gut.org gAG; Schlesische Straße 26, D-10997 Berlin, Germany).
3.5. If betterplace.org obtains knowledge about improper content, or suspicions thereof, betterplace.org is entitled to remove this content from the platform at any time.
3.6. betterplace’s platform should not be put under undue stress. In particular, activities are forbidden that put the integrity, stability or availability of the IT systems of betterplace’s platform at risk.
3.7. Passwords or other access data to betterplace’s platform are selected by the user in accordance with the general principles applicable to password security and should be kept strictly confidential. It is required that betterplace.org be informed immediately should the user have reason to believe that the security of betterplace’s platform or the user’s access to the platform are at risk.
4. Rights of use
In as far as the user publishes texts, graphics or other content on betterplace’s platform, he/she grants betterplace.org the right to use the content on betterplace’s platform, in advertising materials for betterplace.org or gut.org gAG, also via the API interface to web sites belonging to partners of betterplace.org, both on and offline. betterplace.org is especially granted the right to modify, edit, shorten, store and publish the content via the platform or the API interface, taking into consideration the original sense. Notifications stating otherwise, which are clearly and visibly attached to the content, remain unaffected by the publication of the content.
5. Availability of betterplace’s platform
betterplace.org endeavours to keep the platform available without any interruption. An availability of 97 percent of the year is targeted, however commitment to a specific availability is not given. betterplace.org is particularly entitled to take the platform offline at regular and irregular intervals to carry out maintenance work. betterplace.org is entitled to change the range of functions, appearance or other features of the platform as it sees fit. Access is only given to the platform in the respective current version. betterplace.org is not obliged to archive or store versions or content for its users.
6. Termination, suspension of access, deletion of contents
6.1 The contract of use as a registered user can be terminated by betterplace.org or by the user at any time by sending a notice of cancellation in written form. The contract is duly terminated upon expiry of the month following the notice of cancellation.
6.2. The right to an extraordinary cancellation of the contract with good cause remains unaffected. Good cause for a cancellation by betterplace.org is given, should the user have considerably or multiply violated his/her obligations, mentioned in section 3, or have entered incorrect registration data.
6.3. betterplace.org is entitled to suspend the user from using individual or all functions of betterplace’s platform, independent of its right to terminating the services with immediate effect. The suspension particularly applies to the publication or modification of content on betterplace’s platform. betterplace.org is furthermore entitled to check, suspend or delete all content published on betterplace’s platform irrespective of events. betterplace.org will particularly exercise this right should third parties claim that laws, rights of third parties or the rules of betterplace’s platform are being violated by specific contents or users.
6.4. Before cancellation with good cause or before a user or content are suspended; the user should be given the opportunity to make a statement.
6.5. Upon conclusion of the contract, the user profile is made anonymous. Further details can be found in our Data Protection Regulations.
betterplace.org is exempt from the liability for all claims for compensation and cases of liability, irrespective of their legal grounds (for example warranty, default, impossibility, breach of duty, unlawful act). This is with the exception of claims …
- due to injury to life, body and health
- due to fraudulent intent or guarantee
- due to wilful intent or gross negligence on the part of betterplace.org or its legal representative
- according to the Product Liability Act
The legal provisions apply in the event of these exceptions.
8. Donation procedure
A donation within the context of these terms and conditions of use is understood as a donation to a designated aim. Normally the designated aim is a “project” on betterplace.org, and the “description of the project” defines how the donation will be used. Each project contains one or several “project needs” in which the project manager defines what is likely to be required in order to realise the respective project. Furthermore, a donation can also be made to a higher-ranking authority such as an “organisation” or “fundraising event”. They forward the donation on to one or several projects where it is finally used in accordance with the purpose defined in the description of the project.
The terms, “donation” and “donation procedure” are used in these terms and conditions of use irrespective of the tax status of the organisation that is responsible for the project to which the donations are made.
8.1. The role of betterplace.org
8.1.1. betterplace.org exclusively provides the technical infrastructure that connects donors and social projects. Each donor is responsible for finding all the information he/she needs to make a decision about a making a donation to a specific designated aim.
8.1.2. All the information that has been made available to betterplace.org can be found on the platform itself. No additional information about the projects and organisations or the people involved in the projects is available on betterplace.org. betterplace.org does not check the users registered on the platform or projects published on the platform; neither the identity nor the summary of the project in the project description or the project reports. betterplace.org does however require organisations that are recognised as a non-profit organisation under German tax law to prove this status by submitting a currently valid notice of exemption.
8.1.3. betterplace.org recommends only supporting a designated aim if you know the organisation or the relevant project manager or if the project has been recommended to you by a trustworthy person – and you deem it to be an sensible enterprise by way of the project details.
8.2. Types of donations
Via betterplace’s platform, different types of donations can be made. Money, donations in kind, in time or other types of donations depending on the respective project are all possible. Money can be donated in the form of one-time payments or regular, repeated payments. Repeated money donations can be aborted at any time through the user profile with immediate effect.
8.3. Donations in kind, in time and other donations
With regard to these donations, betterplace.org simply establishes contact between potential donors and the project manager, supporting the communication that subsequently takes place. The exchange of donations in kind, in time, as well as other forms of donations, takes place exclusively in coordination with and realised by the donors and the recipient outside of betterplace’s platform.
8.4. Money donations
8.4.1. Money donations via betterplace.org are usually effected within projects. The “project description” defines how donations are used. Each project stipulates one or several needs, specified by the project manager, that describe what is required for the respective project to be realised. In addition, money donations can also be donated to higher-ranking authorities, such as organisations or fundraising events. They subsequently forward the donations to one or several projects, where they are finally used in accordance with the use designated in the project description.
8.4.2. gut.org gAG/betterplace.org is, as a charitable organisation, eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Money donated to projects, whose carriers are recognised as non-profit organisations under German tax law, are initially collected by betterplace.org as the recipient of the donation. By selecting a donation target, the donor expresses his wish to support the respective project, organisation or projects included in the fundraising event. betterplace.org complies with this wish and forwards the money to the selected project, providing the prerequisites have been observed (see section 8.4.4) and providing no important reasons, for example breaches of the project registration conditions, conflict with this intention.
8.4.3. betterplace.org provides its users with the opportunity to support projects both in Germany and abroad, whose carriers (natural or legal persons) are not non-profit organisations as defined by German tax law. All these projects also pursue non-profit and/or charitable purposes, as named in the German Tax Code and the articles of association of gut.org gAG. A money donation is made in the form of a charitable trust donation to a fiduciary account, belonging to BNP Parisbas as bank account holder. In the course of the donation process, the sponsor agrees to a fiduciary agreement with the bank. betterplace.org initiates forwarding the amount of the donation to the project upon submission of the required prerequisites (see section 8.4.4) providing no important reasons, such as breaches of the project-publication conditions, conflict with payment of the amount.
8.4.4. The following prerequisites have to be complied with in order for the donation to be paid:
- Collective donations exceed EUR 20.00 for projects recognised as charitable organisations in accordance with German tax law or EUR 50.00 with regard to all other projects. betterplace.org establishes the donation amount. betterplace.org may involve third parties in this process.
- The project manager documents the planned use in the form of a meaningful entry in the project’s blog on the project’s profile page to correspond with the payout time.
Payout is effected at the latest six weeks after the pay-out time requested by the project manager. betterplace.org reserves the right to make the payment unrequested in the event that the requirement is fully financed. The transfer is made to the project-carrying organisation or to the project manager for individual projects.
8.4.5. The donor is given the opportunity of making a so-called anonymous donation. In this case, registration as a user is not required. The sponsor details his/her address and account data during the donation process. They are sufficient as verification during the payment process. His/her support is published on the platform without a picture and instead of a name is referred to as an “anonymous donor”.
8.4.6. In the event of donating to a designated aim on betterplace.org, an additional amount can also be donated to betterplace.org. This is alluded to during the donation process, and a small amount in the form of a percentage of the donation is suggested. The suggested percentage can be modified or even deleted by the donor. There is no obligation to make a donation to betterplace.org.
8.4.7. betterplace.org offers users the option to set up fundraising events on the platform and to share information about them via different communication channels (e.g. e-mail, social networks). In a fundraising event, the event owner calls on people to support one or several projects on betterplace’s platform by making a donation of money. The call is made in relation to a special occasion (e.g. the user’s birthday, or a marathon run). If the event owner wants to make sure that his/her fundraising event supporters receive a donation receipt for their money donation, he/she can stipulate this when setting up the fundraising event, by selecting a project that is recognised as charitable organisation under German tax law. The event owner selects the project he/she wants to support and ensures that the collected money is distributed to the project. He/she is required to forward the donations to the supported projects in this fundraising event as quickly as possible.
8.4.8. Users can purchase vouchers via betterplace’s platform, which they can give to friends, acquaintances and business partners, who can use them to support a designated aim of their choice. When a voucher is purchased, the buyer can select whether he wants to receive the voucher by post or email. During this process, the buyer can also specify a third party as the recipient of the voucher. If the voucher is to be sent by post, the address of the recipient must be specified. The purchase of the voucher is already seen as a donation. Only the recipient of the donation is not yet specified at the time of purchase. The owner of the voucher cashes the voucher by entering the code on the voucher for the selected project, thus causing the donation to be allocated respectively. If vouchers are purchased for projects eligible for tax exemption, the purchaser is given a donation receipt in accordance with section 8.8. Vouchers should be cashed as quickly as possible. If a voucher is not cashed within twelve months of purchase, the amount of the donation is accrued at betterplace.org/gut.org, which subsequently uses the amount to pursue purposes in accordance with its articles of association. Payment of the value of the voucher to the purchaser or the owner of the voucher is excluded.
8.4.9. The donor commits to making the amount of money he has specified available to projects without deductions of any costs for transfer of the money. Neither the donor nor the recipient is entitled to any interest accrued on money that has not yet been paid. Repayment of the donation to the donor is excluded.
8.5. Abortion of a project
If the project aim, as described in the project description, can no longer be achieved, the project manager is required to abort the project and to communicate this on the platform. In addition, gut.org gAG is also entitled to abort a project should the publication conditions be seriously breached. In this case, the donors, and in the event of fundraising events, the event owners are given a voucher and the opportunity to select a different designated organisation to donate to within twelve months. For tax reasons, it has to be a project with the same tax status (i.e. eligible for tax exemption or not eligible for tax exemption) as the previously selected project. If the voucher is not cashed within twelve months, or if the donor cannot be detected, the amount of the donation is accrued at betterplace.org/gut.org, where it is used to pursue the purposes mentioned in the articles of association. Similarly, the amount of the donation is accrued at betterplace.org/gut.org if the sponsored project fails to reach its donation target within twelve months, which would otherwise enable the payment to be made (8.4.4). betterplace.org/gut.org uses the amount to pursue purposes mentioned in their articles of association. Payment of the value of the voucher to the purchaser or to the owner of the voucher is excluded.
8.6. Payment and security
8.6.1. Payments can be made via the channels offered on the platform (e.g. credit card, bank collection, PayPal, loyalty points). The terms and conditions of the respective provider apply additionally.
8.6.2. The donation process on betterplace.org is secure. Data is transferred via an encrypted connection (SSL) from betterplace.org and only processed in connection with your donation. Data is not forwarded to third parties unless the donor has given permission explicitly during donation process.
8.7. Publication/inspection of donations
An important aspect of betterplace’s platform is the issue of transparency in project realisation. The data security regulations apply to the publication of donations, the currently applicable version of which can be found on betterplace’s platform. In addition, the donor entitles betterplace.org to check the recipient’s and/or payment provider’s information (“Payment Service Provider”), with regard to whether and to what extent a promised donation has been paid. betterplace.org is also entitled to store this information in compliance with the law, the authorities and other third parties, whereby information has to be stored for a legally stipulated period.
8.8. Donation receipt
A donation receipt/donation confirmation can only be issued by gut.org gAG/betterplace.org if the recipient of the money is an organisation that is recognised by German tax authorities as a non-profit organisation, or if the work by betterplace.org is, itself, supported by a donation (see 8.4.6). Furthermore a receipt can only be issued if betterplace.org has been given the name and address data required to issue the donation confirmation. Donations for which a donation receipt can be issued are marked as such on betterplace’s platform. Projects published by project managers which are not exempt from tax in accordance with tax law can also be found on betterplace’s platform. Issue of confirmation of a donation by betterplace.org is particularly excluded with regard to …
- recipients who are not eligible for tax exemption
- donations in kind or in time or other donations that do not represent a money donation.
For donations under EUR 200.00 to an organisation recognised as a non-profit organisation or to betterplace.org itself, submission of a simplified verification of the donation is sufficient. Confirmations of a donation are usually issued annually upon expiry of the calendar year. People are not entitled to an interim certificate. In as far as confirmation of a money donation that has been forwarded by betterplace.org is issued or transmitted by a recipient; betterplace.org is not responsible for the tax allowance of the donation. It is explicitly pointed out that recognition of certificates from recipients abroad is not sufficient for them to be applied in terms of tax exemption.
9. Modifications to the terms and conditions
10. Applicable law and court of jurisdiction
The laws of the Federal Republic of Germany apply with exception of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The court of jurisdiction is the registered office of gut.org gAG.