Frequently Asked Questions

General

What are brownie points?

It is a social currency for doing good that circulates within the Brownie Points community.

How do I earn brownie points?

When you volunteer for a project or donate to one of Brownie Points’ Nonprofit Partners, you will be rewarded with points. The more you volunteer and donate, the more points you’ll earn.

How do I spend brownie points?

You can spend your brownie points via our Rewards page. You may choose to redeem a reward regularly or save them up for a real treat. For now, only brownie points earned from volunteering are redeemable. We are working on making donation brownie points redeemable too.

How much does it cost?

Doing good and earning brownie points is totally free.

How does volunteering work?

Our NPO Partners will upload regular volunteering projects that you’ll be able to get involved in. Once you’ve found a project with an NPO in your area that excites you, you can apply to volunteer. The NPO will then review your application, accept and you’ll be notified to confirm that you can make it. You will then be sent a reminder 24 hours before the date with the details. Once you’ve successfully volunteered, the NPO will then transfer brownie points to you.

How do donations work?

You can donate either directly to a NPO, or via a fundraising goal the NPO created.

Brownie Points donations are processed through PayFast or DirectDebit.

Through PayFast, you can use your credit or cheque card, debit card, Bitcoins or instead EFT to make payments (even internationally). DirectDebit allows you to set up a debit order using your credit card to help your chosen nonprofit on a monthly basis.

Anything we missed? Get in touch at hi@brownie-points.co.za

For Supporters

Donating

Do I earn brownie points for donating?

Yes, you do. However, these are only measurable, not redeemable for rewards. We show you how many redeemable brownie points you have on your profile, as well as on the Rewards Hub [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/rewards].

Will I get a receipt for donating?

Absolutely! There are two types of documents you can receive after making a donation

  1. You get a receipt as proof of your donation (applicable to all donations)
  2. You get a tax deductible Section 18A Certificate (only applicable to donations made to registered Public Benefit Organisations with SARS). You will be able to determine whether you will get a section 18A certificate if you see a PBO number on the left-hand side of the organisation’s profile. You will be able to access all your Section 18A Certificates from your profile by clicking View My Section 18As.

I am already donating to an organisation. How can I start earning brownie points for donating to them?

If you want to donate to organisations that are not yet part of our growing community, please contact us [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/contact]. We will contact them on your behalf and get them on board as an official partner as soon as we can.

Can my donation remain anonymous?

Yes! You can choose to make all your donations anonymous, by editing your profile. You can also choose to make only specific donations anonymous by specifying it on the donations page for that particular donation.

Is it safe to use my credit card on this system?

Totally! We partner up with PCI-compliant online payment providers, who store your credit card details securely on their side. We do not store it on our system.

How can I setup a recurring monthly debit order for donations?

You can set up a monthly debit order (using your bank account, credit or debit card) with organisations who have linked up their debit order facility to their Brownie Points profile.

This option is not immediately visible by going through to their profile, but will appear on the resulting page after you choose to make a donation to them. From there, you can choose whether to make a once-off donation, or whether to support them on a monthly basis.

Setting up a debit order is an immensely helpful thing to do! Many of our Nonprofit Partners operate from month-to-month and rely on the general public to help them out.

If I set up a monthly debit order, do I earn Brownie Points each month?

Yes, you do. As soon as the donation has cleared, you will receive your brownie points :-)

How can I donate towards a specific item or service needed by the NPO?

If you have something specific you want to donate, you can go to the Nonprofits tab on our Discover page [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/search/non-profits], and start typing what you would like to donate. If the item has been specified as a need by any of our NPO Partners, you should find it. But, if you can’t find it there, please feel free to contact us and we will find an organisation who can use the item.

Just a note: You will not be able to earn brownie points for donating goods yet. We are working on a solution to make this available.

Volunteering

I want to volunteer, but don’t know where to start…

That’s ok. That’s what we’re here for :-)

You can start by going to the Opportunities tab on our Discover page [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/search/opportunities]. Here you can start typing your location (e.g. “Cape Town”) to narrow it down to opportunities you can actually attend. You can also type in certain keywords of things you feel passionate about (e.g. “children”, “cats”, etc), or even the skills you want to apply to make a difference.

If you cannot find anything specific, please get in touch [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/contact] to find an awesome opportunity for you to volunteer.

If you are already volunteering for an organisation, but cannot find any opportunities for them on our site, let us know [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/contact] so we can get them on board on your behalf.

How many brownie points will I earn for volunteering?

Each NPO will decide how many points to allocate to a volunteering opportunity, with guidance from our Brownie Points Team. The amount allocated for volunteering usually depends on the time, and effort/ intensity of the work.

How does the volunteering process work?

Here a quick step-by-step:

First up, visit our opportunities page and select a volunteering opportunity that suits you. You can search for opportunities in your area, and relating to the causes you care about.

Next, apply to volunteer and write a motivation to be sent to the organisation.

You will hear back from us shortly to tell you whether your application has been accepted by the NPO, and asking you to confirm you’re attending.

You arrive at the right time and the right place to volunteer, and will be introduced and briefed by someone from the NPO. You’ll have fun and meet some awesome and inspiring people, and of course positively impact the organisation and cause.

Within 5 days of volunteering, you will be awarded brownie points!

What happens if I can’t make the volunteering time anymore?

If you have been accepted by the Nonprofit Partner admin and/or have confirmed that you will attend, but cannot make it, please email us immediately at team@brownie-points.co.za to let us know. We will coordinate with the NPO to make alternative arrangements. It is very important that you notify us, since Nonprofit Partners put a lot of work into planning for a volunteering event. Don’t let the team down!

What should I write in my motivation when applying for volunteering? What are the NPOs looking for?

Very good question!

If it is a volunteering opportunity that requires no skills, you can write why you are passionate about their cause, and that you love engaging with their beneficiaries (children, dogs, etc).

If it is a volunteering event that requires certain skills, you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile that shows past experiences for those skills. Otherwise, you can include a link to your portfolio or just write how you have used those skills in the past.

When will I receive the brownie points for volunteering?

You will receive your redeemable brownie points as soon as the Nonprofit Partner has marked you as “Attended”, which should be within 3 days of the volunteering event.

If you haven’t received your brownie points after 3 days, please let us know at team@brownie-points.co.za and we will follow up with the Nonprofit Partner for you.

Can I bring a friend along to volunteer?

Absolutely! But they do need to register as a Brownie Points supporter and apply through the same process. Please don’t bring any extras along on the day, as the volunteering events are carefully planned for a specific number of volunteers.

But please do share your excitement with your friends and family! Once you get accepted to volunteer, why don’t you share it on social media to spread the good news and encourage your friends to join you? Simply go to the volunteering opportunity, click Share and specify where you’d want to share it. We support sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Where can I go to view all volunteering opportunities on the system?

You can go to the Opportunities tab on our Discover page [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/search/opportunities] to see all active volunteering opportunities. You can then search for volunteering opportunities in a specific area by starting to type the location. Or you can search for specific keywords, by starting to type “cats”, “children” or even for volunteering opportunities that require specific skills, that you can use to make a difference.

What happens if I don’t pitch up at the volunteering event I said I would attend?

Uh oh… that’s not ideal, but we’ll let you off easy by giving you a warning. Please please let us know if you can’t make it though. A no-show really does mess with the organising of the event, and will affect your future applications to volunteer.

Can I organise company volunteering events on the system? Who will get the Brownie Points?

Yes. You can email us at business@brownie-points.co.za and we will try to arrange a team volunteering opportunity just for you and your team :-)

Please include the following in your email:

How can I volunteer my specific skills?

You can go to the Opportunities tab on our Discover page [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/search/opportunities] and start typing the specific skill you’d like to use to support our Nonprofit Partners.

If you cannot find anything specific, please let us know [https://www.brownie-points.co.za/contact]! We have so many Nonprofit Partners that could use your superpowers!

Redeeming brownie points

Do my brownie points expire?

Never. We accumulate your brownie points over a lifetime of giving and doing good :-)

However, the vouchers you receive from redeeming your brownie points are only valid for 3 months. Some vouchers have a longer validity period so if you are uncertain, please email us at team@brownie-points.co.za and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

What’s the difference between redeemable and non-redeemable brownie points?

Good question!

For now, brownie points earned from volunteering are redeemable, while brownie points from donating are only measurable. (This is due to the tax implications/ benefits of donating to NPOs.) This means you can get awesome free stuff if you’ve volunteered.

How often do new items get added to the Rewards Hub?

We try to add new rewards on a monthly basis, or whenever rewards run out. You will get a notification via email whenever new rewards have been added.

What happens when I’ve spent the points?

Your measurable brownie points accumulate over a lifetime and will keep growing as you donate and volunteer. Your redeemable brownie points (i.e. those earned through volunteering) will be subtracted from your total redeemable brownie points once you have purchased an item at the Rewards Hub.

For Nonprofits

Your Brownie Points profile explained

Your profile is essentially a one-page website, and includes all of the essentials. For an example of how your profile will look like, check out our own nonprofit profile.


Visual

You can upload a profile picture (probably your logo) and a nice cover image to attract attention.

Organisation details

These include:

Brownie Points

This shows the amount of brownie points your organisation has available and how many you’ve awarded to your volunteers.

Here’s how it works:

Buttons

Wishlist

This section shows all the goods or assets your organisation needs, so that your supporters know exactly what you need.

Activity Feed

This section contains 3 tabs:

Volunteering opportunities

This feature comes free with our BASIC option.


What kinds of volunteering opportunities projects should we upload?

What?

We recommend starting off with a fairly simple volunteering event. Do you need something done at your premises? i.e. the garden cleared, goods sorted, meals cooked, event coordination, furniture moved, dogs walked. Our team will be happy to give you a call to help you decide on an appropriate volunteering opportunity! Your Success Manager will work closely with you to decide exactly what volunteering opportunities to create to achieve your goals.

If you need volunteers to bring along specific items, you will need to specify this in your event description. It is best not to rely heavily on goods donation for the project or event to work, but always ask people to bring along stuff that will add to the experience and the impact of the project.

Who?

4-10 volunteers is a good number, but feel free to request more or less, depending on your team’s capacity to manage and possibly train these volunteers.

When?

Saturdays are of course good days to request volunteers if you want a large group (and working professionals), but don’t feel you need to restrict to the weekends if this doesn’t work for you.

How do I create a volunteering opportunity?

We spent a lot of time researching and designing volunteering to ensure easy facilitation and that volunteers will actually pitch.

Visit your profile and select “Create new opportunity” – you will then need to set the date, time and location of the opportunity as well as an image, title, description and the number of brownie points to be awarded. (see below for some guidelines on awarding points).

Image

Your project image should be appealing and aligned with the project. This image will be seen on social media when the opportunity is shared.

Description

Your description should be concise but informative and should include details on:

  • Background to the project/ volunteering
  • How volunteers will take part or engage
  • What sort of volunteers/ people you’re looking for
  • What they might get out of the day (aside from the brownie points of course!)
Time and date

This allows you to specify the start and end times and dates, so your volunteers know exactly when to attend. In time, we will send your volunteers a link to automatically add all details about the event to their Google (or other) calendar.

Location

Where your volunteering will take place. Soon, we will send your volunteers Google Maps location details/coordinates, which they will be able to access through the Google event they saved in their calendar.

Message to volunteers

We know that you want to build meaningful relationships with your volunteers. This message will allow you to add your own personal touch to each volunteering opportunity.

Skills

Now, this is something we’re really proud of. You can add one or more specific skills you require, so we can match volunteers with the right skills in your area with your needs. These will also be searchable on our search page.

Remember, if you don’t specify any skills, this will be seen as an “unskilled” volunteering opportunity. Brownie points awarded to each volunteer for skilled should generally be more than unskilled volunteering. See our guidelines below for more information.

Volunteer fields

Volunteers see two additional things on their side:

  • Motivation - Each volunteer can motivate why they want to volunteer and how they will be able to help you
  • Confirm button - This is an additional feature to ensure that the volunteer is committed to your volunteering event

Again, if you need any advice on setting things up, please mail us on partners@brownie-points.co.za.

How do we award points?

How many brownie points you assign for volunteering opportunities is up to you.

Your available brownie points will increase with every donation (R1 = 1 brownie point), and decrease when you reward your volunteers. The amount of brownie points you specify for each volunteering opportunity is per volunteer. For example, if 5 volunteers attend and you have specified 100 brownie points, then you reward 500 brownie points in total.

Here a guideline for specifying brownie points (just in case):

1 hour - light (unskilled) work 1 hour - medium work 1 hour - serious (skilled) dedication
100 150 200

How do we accept volunteers?

You will get an email notification every time someone applies to volunteer. You will then need to visit your profile to review the application, and accept or reject based on their motivation. Try and check applications regularly so you don’t leave your supporters hanging. You should have all volunteers finalised at least 24 hours before the opportunity. (Don’t worry, we’ll send you some reminders!)

What happens on the day of volunteering?

You should have a list of the volunteers at-hand on your profile, so you can select volunteers as present when they’ve arrived. In time, we will allow you to download a confirmed list straight from your profile.

This list is important – if you don’t mark them as there, then they won’t get their brownie points :( For maximum impact, please ensure that you brief volunteers well and also do a debrief at the end of the session to get some valuable feedback.

After the volunteering event, it is vital that you update the volunteering opportunity to “completed”. This action will reward your volunteers with brownie points and thank them for attending.

Donations

Once you decide to partner and GROW with us, we will either link up your existing PayFast Cause account, or help you register for a free one.

You will receive your own SnapBill account, which will give you access to all donor and donation data, as well as the ability to download reports.

You can receive donations in two ways:

How do I set a fundraising goal?

Remember, you can only set up donation goals if you are on the GROW option and have linked your PayFast account. You can upgrade to this option any time. Donation goals should be appropriate to the Brownie Points community – small to medium-sized goals; relatable; preferably a good rather than a service.

If you’re already a GROW Partner, then you can visit your profile and select “Create new Goal”. You will then be asked to enter some details about the goal:

Title
This should be to the point: what is the item you are fundraising for?
Media

We know that people are visually stimulated. This feature allows you to embed an existing YouTube video, or upload an image, to draw potential donors to your cause. This is also the image we’ll use to post on social media.

Description

This should explain to supporters what you will spend the money on. Give some context on why the amount is needed, where it will come from, and how it will be used to increase your impact.

Target

How much do you need? Please think about this amount carefully. And, of course, the smaller the goal, the more likely you’ll achieve it.

Impact outcome

Your donors love getting feedback about the impact their contribution made. This field allows you to do just that. You can specify the amount of beneficiaries that will directly benefit from the funds received through this goal.

Updates

You can update your fundraising goal at any time (especially the beneficiaries whose lives have already been positively impacted). A log of all updates are shown for you and your supporters.

How are section 18A’s administered?

If your organisation is a registered PBO, we will be able to administer Section 18A certificates on your behalf. Once a donation has been made, we will send an email containing the link to the section 18A certificate.

You and your donors can access and download section 18A certificates from profiles at any time. This is very convenient, since SARS needs all section 18A’s for tax deductions.

Are brownie points awarded for donations?

We want to incentivise and reward all types of giving, whether it’s monetary donations, or giving of time and expertise.

Brownie points earned from donating to a non-PBO nonprofit organisation will be redeemable.

In time, we will allow donors who donate to PBO’s to choose whether they want to use the tax benefit from section 18A’s, or redeem their points for rewards.

Communications sent from our site

What emails and SMS’ do we send?

We send well-designed emails and SMS’ at the right time.

We track the actions you and your supporters take, and send triggered emails and SMS’ for the following: