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General Terms of Use for Volunteers

These General Terms of Use for Volunteers apply since February 10st, 2020.

The rules concerning Volunteers in the Terms and Conditions for Users and Donors (tax-deductible) and in the Terms and conditions for organisations and projects which are tax deductible and for volunteering were valid until 09 February 2020.

Table of Content

1. Scope

The Internet platform betterplace.org (“platform”) is operated by gut.org gemeinnützige AG (gut.org gAG, Schlesische Strasse 26, D-10997 Berlin). gut.org gAG is a social enterprise. Our current articles of association and the current exemption notice are available in our Transparency Area.

These General Terms of Use for Volunteers apply to all visitors and users of the platform who advertise for support on the platform in the form of voluntary work or (would like to) support volunteer searches in the form of volunteer work.

The use of the platform for volunteering and volunteer searches is regulated exclusively in accordance with these General Terms of Use for Volunteers.

The Privacy Policy for the platform is also to be noted in addition to these General Terms of Use for Volunteers.

2. Definition of terms

Various functions and terms which apply to the use of the platform are used in these General Terms of Use for Volunteers :

  • “Platform” – The online donation platform www.betterplace.org operated by gut.org gAG
  • “betterplace.org” refers to gut.org gAG, the operator of the platform.
  • “Non-profit” - Also refers to charitable and religious purposes as defined in the AO in addition to non-profit purposes as defined in the German Tax Code (AO).
  • “Registered User” – Natural or legal person registered on the platform.
  • “Visitor” - Natural or legal person who accesses and uses the platform website without being registered.
  • “User” – Registered user and visitor of the platform (natural or legal person).
  • “Supporter” Supporter of a volunteer search, a volunteer
  • “Organization” – Registered user of the platform (legal persons only). The organization is an institution for a volunteer search and is responsible for its volunteer search. Organizations must be domestic legal entities based in Germany.
  • “Volunteer search” is a search for unpaid, voluntary work for non-profit, charitable or church purposes within the meaning of the German Tax Code (AO).
  • “Individual responsible for a volunteer search” is a registered user who is responsible for the content of a volunteer search and is responsible for the deployment of the supporter in the way described in the volunteer search, either directly (in the case of volunteer searches by natural persons) or as an authorized representative of an organization (in the case of volunteer searches by organizations).

3. Registration and usage authorization

3.1. Registration as a user

3.1.1. Registration as a user is free of charge.

3.1.2. The registration of a “volunteer search” is linked to the previous registration as a user and is also free of charge.

3.2. Registration of volunteer searches

3.2.1. A volunteer search can be registered either as a volunteer search by a legal person (organization) or as a volunteer search by a natural person.

3.2.2. The registration of a volunteer search as a volunteer search by an organization can only be performed by an authorized representative of the respective organization as the person responsible for the volunteer search. The respective authorized representative must register themselves as a user beforehand (Section 3.1.2.) in order to be able to then register the volunteer search of the organization and the organization itself as a representative of the organization on the platform.

3.2.3. A responsible natural person (the individual responsible for the volunteer search) is to be named for each volunteer search, who guarantees that the actual information about the activity, the participants and the contact options are correct. The individual responsible for the volunteer search must be a registered user of betterplace.org.

3.2.4. If the volunteer search is registered as a volunteer search of an organization, the individual responsible for the volunteer search assures that they are entitled to register, manage, execute and administer content on the platform for the volunteer search on behalf of and in the name of the organization. He or she shall confirm this authorization upon request by betterplace.org by providing appropriate evidence. Until notified otherwise, he or she shall remain authorized to bindingly respond to all questions regarding the organization’s webpage and the volunteer search on the platform and to submit and receive the required statements to and from betterplace.org.

3.2.5. Any changes to the person responsible for the volunteer search are to be reported immediately. The previous individual responsible for the volunteer search will remain visible on the platform until a new individual responsible for the volunteer search is appointed.

3.3. Usage authorization

3.3.1. Only users with full legal competency and those acting with the consent of their legal representatives are authorized for use. However, the minimum age of the user is 16 years old in all cases, unless the user is a registered user who is creating a volunteer search or the person responsible for a volunteer search. Such users must be at least 18 years old.

3.3.2. betterplace.org reserves the right to refuse the registration of a user without giving a reason, even if all prerequisites for inclusion as a user have been fulfilled.

4. Duties and obligations of the user

4.1. The user is fully responsible for his or her conduct on the platform, all content posted by him or her and its accuracy. Before actually participating or posting content, the user must confirm that his or her conduct and content do not breach statutory regulations, good morals or third-party legal rights (e.g. trademark law, the right to bear a name, copyright and data protection law, youth protection regulations, general personal rights, competition law). In particular, the user undertakes to obtain the required approval of participants/affected parties/beneficiaries, for example the photographers and the depicted or mentioned individuals, before posting text and images and to provide betterplace.org with evidence of this at any time upon request. The user releases betterplace.org from any third party claims arising from a breach of this obligation.

4.2. With regard to his or her conduct when using the platform, the user shall take into consideration that the betterplace community (i.e. the entire community of users and the operators of betterplace.org) work together on the basis of mutual respect and fair and reasonable relationships. The utmost measure of restraint and respect towards the differing opinions of others is required when dealing with issues related to world views and religious or political beliefs.

4.3. It is illegal to directly post, provide links to or otherwise facilitate access to the following content on the platform:

  • Material which endangers or impairs young people and their development, especially violent, pornographic or otherwise immoral content
  • Content that promotes or glorifies hate, violence or any form of discrimination
  • False statements of fact and offensive statements
  • Vulgar and obscene language, disrespectful, provocative and aggressive communication with other users
  • Misleading content
  • Calls for boycotts or non-peaceful or otherwise illegal activity
  • Content that violates public safety and order
  • Content involving any form of product advertising and approaching individual users for the purpose of selling products.

4.4. The user is obliged:

  1. to provide complete and accurate information, in particular on his or her identity and age, for necessary registrations and to provide any other requested information which is necessary to achieve the purpose of the contract;
  2. to refrain from registering a second time,
  3. to make corrections without delay in the designated administrative function in the event of a subsequent change to the requested data,
  4. to ensure that his or her username and password are not made available to third parties,
  5. to prevent any use of the services of betterplace.org via his or her own account by third parties,
  6. to refrain from using automatic default settings for the password,
  7. to inform betterplace.org without delay by sending an email to support@betterplace.org if your password or account have been used without authorization or if there are indications of imminent use without authorization.

4.5. The user shall comply with the legal data protection and data security requirements.

4.6. Overloading the betterplace.org platform is to be avoided. In particular, measures are prohibited which may compromise the integrity, stability and availability of the IT systems of betterplace.org.

4.7. If betterplace.org gains knowledge of prohibited content or suspects the existence of such content, betterplace.org is entitled to remove or block this content from the platform at any time. betterplace.org is also entitled to temporarily or permanently block the user from using individual or all functionalities of the platform if he or she has breached an obligation in Section 4 of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers. The blocking in particular relates to the ability to upload or change content on the platform. betterplace.org shall in particular make use of this right if third parties inform betterplace.org of the violation of any laws, third party rights or rules of betterplace.org in relation to specific content or users. The right of termination in accordance with Section 11 and the right to block volunteer searches in accordance with Section 12 remain unaffected by the rights in this Section 4.7.

4.8. The user releases betterplace.org from any third party claims arising from a breach of obligations arising from the aforementioned Sections 4.1. to 4.6.

4.9. If the user finds content on the platform which, in his or her opinion, violates existing laws or these General Terms of Use for Volunteers , they are requested to inform betterplace.org of this fact, e.g. by e-mail (to: support@betterplace.org) or by post (to: gut.org gemeinnützige AG; Schlesische Strasse 26, D-10997 Berlin).

4.10. If a registered user is blocked, the user can no longer use the platform, even with other platform accounts, and shall not be able to re-register.

5.1. The user grants betterplace.org the right to use the content (text, images, logo, description of the volunteer search or other content) posted on the platform for purposes which correspond to the purposes of the individual services within the scope of the platform.

In particular, betterplace.org has the right to store the content and make it publicly accessible via the platform, as well as the right to edit the content, in particular to shorten it, taking the original sense into account. When inserting the content, explicit and clearly indicated instructions to the contrary will remain untouched.

5.2. The user assures that they are entitled to all rights required in order to grant betterplace.org the rights stipulated in Section 5.1. without violating legal regulations, good morals, or rights of third parties, irrespective of the type (e.g. trademark, name, copyright and data protection law, general personal rights), see also Section 4.1.

5.3. For transparency reasons, all volunteer search content will remain visible as an inactive volunteer search on the platform, even after the end, completion or cancellation of the volunteer search or the termination of the usage agreement, so that the previous volunteer search can be tracked by users.

Sentence 1 of this Section 5.3. does not apply if betterplace.org makes use of its right of deletion in accordance with Section 4.7. or if data subjects claim their erasure rights under data protection law. Please see betterplace.org’s Privacy Policy for more details.

5.4. The content of the platform may be subject to protection rights (e.g. copyright protection rights). Visitors and users are therefore not permitted to exploit this data in any way which goes beyond the rights of use granted by betterplace.org or the respective rights holder in individual cases and must in particular refrain from copying, editing and/or distributing the data. This in particular also applies to our rights as a database manufacturer in accordance with Sections 87c et seq. of the Copyright Act (UrhG). The repeated and systematic duplication, distribution or public communication of content on our platform is contrary to the normal use of our database and affects our legitimate interests.

6. Provision of the platform

betterplace.org shall endeavor to keep the platform available and free of disruption whenever possible. The target is an availability rate of 97 per cent per year. A specific availability is not guaranteed. betterplace.org is in particular authorized to take the platform off the network, both for regular and unscheduled maintenance work. betterplace.org is entitled to change the functionality, appearance and other features of the platform as it chooses. Access to the platform is only provided for the current version. betterplace.org is not obliged to store or save versions or content on behalf of users.

7. Role of betterplace.org in relation to volunteering

gut.org gemeinnützige AG provides betterplace.org, a platform where potential recipients of voluntary unpaid work can present volunteer searches and be found by potential supporters. In the case of donations in the form of volunteering, betterplace.org simply acts as a voluntary, unpaid mediator.

For volunteer searches, betterplace.org merely acts as a point of contact between potential supporters and the person responsible for the volunteer search or their stated contact options and therefore merely supports communication between the parties. The coordination and implementation of unpaid voluntary work is dealt with exclusively between the volunteers and beneficiaries.

8. Permissible purposes

8.1. Only those volunteer searches which directly serve non-profit, charitable and religious purposes within the meaning of the German Tax Code (AO) in its respective valid version and which comply with the statutory purpose of the respective organization as a project manager are permitted on the platform.

In particular, volunteer searches with the purpose of directly or indirectly generating profit or other commercial volunteer searches, as well as volunteer searches which promise or suggest the prospect of some form of consideration in return for a donation are not permitted. Volunteer searches which directly or indirectly support or promote political parties are also prohibited.

Furthermore, organizations’ projects must not violate German regulations regarding tax legislation in connection with non-profit status.

8.2 betterplace.org reserves the right to make projects subject to further additional conditions at any time as required and/or announced by non-profit law, at any time.

A volunteer search on the platform requires accurate, complete, realistic and detailed information regarding the work to be performed to be provided, with the following minimum information:

  • Contact person and their contact details
  • Description of the work to be performed; this must serve non-profit
  • Objective of the planned activity
  • Time, duration and frequency of activity
  • Requirements for this volunteer

9.2. Deployment of the volunteer

The individual responsible for the volunteer search will assign work to the volunteer found on the platform in the area described in the volunteer search.

The coordination and implementation of unpaid voluntary work is dealt with exclusively between the volunteers and beneficiaries.

If an expense allowance is provided for the volunteers by the beneficiary, this must not exceed the level permissible in this context and must not conflict with the voluntary nature of the activity. At the request of the volunteer, the individual responsible will confirm the scope and nature of the work performed.

The individual responsible is required to keep the information provided in the volunteer search up to date at all times. This in particular applies to the contact information provided. If the specified contact person is absent, they will ensure that a suitable representative is available.

Unless otherwise specified by the person responsible, volunteer searches are listed on the platform for a maximum of six months. Before the end of this period, the individual responsible for the volunteer search will be contacted and has the option of listing the volunteer search for another six months. The only prerequisite for this is that they correspondingly update the volunteer search.

If a volunteer search is no longer up to date before the end of the six-month period (for example if the position is filled or a volunteer is no longer needed for the job scope) the individual responsible for the volunteer search shall undertake to deactivate the volunteer search in their administration area.

10.1. Completion – if a volunteer search has been completed (for example, because a voluntary employee has been found), the individual responsible for the volunteer search is to deactivate the search on the platform.

The deactivation of the search on the platform by the representative will mean that the search is no longer visible on the platform. The person responsible for the search has the option of reactivating the search if required, such that it will be visible again on the platform.

betterplace.org reserves the right to specify a time limit for volunteer searches, after which they will automatically be deactivated if the representative does not respond to a request by betterplace.org to confirm that the search should remain active.

10.2. Cancellation of a volunteer search by betterplace.org - betterplace.org is entitled to cancel the volunteer search or block the person responsible for the volunteer search and/or the organization if there are serious breaches of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers , in particular:

  1. False information about participating individuals or significant features of the volunteer search
  2. Volunteers work for purposes that do not comply with the specifications of the volunteer search, or for purposes which are not tax-privileged or for non-statutory purposes.

Other claims and consequences under criminal or civil law remain unaffected.

11. Termination

11.1. Ordinary termination

11.1.1. The usage relationship with a registered user can be terminated by betterplace.org or the registered user at any time by giving notice in writing with a notice period of 7 days with effect from the end of a month.

When the termination takes effect, the registered user will no longer be able to use the respective functionalities of the platform which he or she currently has access to in accordance with the usage agreement.

If the registered user is an organization, the volunteer searches of the organization end when the termination takes effect.

11.1.2. When the usage relationship is terminated, the user profile of the registered user on the platform shall be deleted. This does not apply if the registered user is an organization. Section 5.3 of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers applies in such cases.

Please see betterplace.org’sPrivacy Policy for more details.

11.1.3. As soon as the usage agreement is terminated by betterplace.org, the user is no longer permitted to use the platform, even with other platform accounts, and shall not be able to re-register.

11.2. Extraordinary termination

The right to extraordinary termination for cause remains unaffected.

11.2.1. betterplace.org may in particular terminate the registered user’s account if he or she has seriously or repeatedly violated his or her obligations in accordance with Section 4 of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers.

11.2.2. If the registered user is an organization, the following reasons are in particular to be regarded as cause for termination by betterplace.org in addition to the reasons for cause specified in Section 11.2.1.:

  • Volunteer search does not have a non-profit purpose
  • Serious violation within the meaning of Section 10.2 of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers.
  • Inappropriate use of data in accordance with Section 15 of these General Terms of Use for Volunteers

12. Blocking volunteer searches

betterplace.org is entitled to temporarily block volunteer searches, irrespective of the right to ordinary and extraordinary termination and the right to cancel a volunteer search in accordance with Section 10.2. The blocking in particular relates to the ability to post or change content on the volunteer search page on the platform and advertise for support. betterplace.org shall in particular make use of this right if third parties inform betterplace.org of the violation of any laws, third party rights or rules of betterplace.org in relation to specific content or users.

13. Liability

13.1. The liability of betterplace.org is excluded for all damages and liability claims, regardless of their legal grounds (e.g. defects liability, default, impossibility of performance, breach of duty or tort), except for claims

  • due to injury to life, body and health,
  • due to fraudulent intent or on the basis of a warranty,
  • due to willful intent or grossly negligent conduct of betterplace.org, its legal representatives or vicarious agents,
  • in accordance with the German Product Liability Act (Produkthaftungsgesetz)

13.2. The legal regulations apply to these exceptions in accordance with Section 13.1. The above-mentioned disclaimer in accordance with Section 13.1. shall not apply in the event of a breach of essential contractual obligations (cardinal obligations), i.e. obligations whose fulfillment enables the proper execution of the agreement in the first place and on the compliance of which the respective party can usually rely.

14. Linking/identification rights

If an organization uploads their own identifying features, such as logos, using the mechanism provided in the platform for this purpose, betterplace.org shall be granted the perpetual and irrevocable right to use these features on the platform for the intended purposes.

betterplace.org is also entitled to make reference to the cooperation using the organization’s name and the general identification features, in particular in print, broadcasts or on the internet. In individual cases, this right may be shaped by the organization via the issuing of instructions.

Organizations are entitled to refer to the cooperation on their own website. For this purpose, the organization shall use the standard logo provided for download by betterplace.org for this purpose in conjunction with a link to the project webpage. Any alternative graphic design must be approved by betterplace.org.

15. Data transfer and liability for misuse of data

If a user completes and submits the contact form within the scope of a volunteer search, betterplace.org will pass on the user details to the organization or person responsible for the respective volunteer search as entered in the contact form in order to get in contact with the potential volunteer supporter for the purpose of performing the volunteer work.

16. Changes to conditions

These General Terms of Use for Volunteers are valid from January 2020 onwards.

betterplace.org reserves the right to make changes to these General Terms of Use for Volunteers at any time without restriction, in particular in order to adapt them to legislative or technical changes. The changed conditions will be announced on this website no later than four weeks before their entry into force. Registered users will be informed by e-mail about upcoming changes at the latest four weeks before their entry into force. betterplace.org therefore advises you to regularly review the current version on its website. If a registered user does not object to the validity of the new conditions within four weeks after receipt of the e-mail, the changed conditions shall be deemed as having been accepted. betterplace.org will separately inform the registered user in the e-mail containing the changed conditions about the possibility of objecting and the significance of this four-week period.

For comments or questions about the General Terms of Use for Volunteers of betterplace.org, please contact our support team at any time:

gut.org gemeinnützige AG

– Projects & Organizations –

Schlesische Strasse 26

D-10997 Berlin

support@betterplace.org