Frequently Asked Questions
Please find below our list of frequently asked questions about e-Buddies. If you have more questions, please contact us.
- What do e-Buddies do?
e-Buddies develop friendships through e-mail. Participants e-mail each other at least once a week for at least one year.
- Who is in e-Buddies?
e-Buddies participants are youths (at least 10 years old) and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Does e-Buddies cost anything?
e-Buddies is free for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because we are a nonprofit organization, we do charge volunteers ages 18 and over a one-time $50 fee. This fee helps cover the costs of checking references and processing applications. This fee is charged immediately upon completing the application process.
- How are matches made?
e-Buddies matches a person with an intellectual or developmental disability in an online friendship with a person without intellectual or developmental disabilities. Participants are matched based on age, gender and similar interests.
- How soon will I have an e-Buddy?
Once you complete the application, e-Buddies staff members begin the review process. It can take up to a month for staff to complete the necessary background and reference checks. Once your application is approved, the matching process can begin. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will typically be matched within one month.
- Is it safe to participate in e-Buddies?
Best Buddies is dedicated to ensuring the safety and privacy of all our participants. All applicants are screened and must agree to the terms of the e-Buddies Code of Conduct before they can participate. Once matched, all communication is conducted through the e-Buddies E-mail System. This e-mail system allows users to communicate without divulging their personal e-mail address and also filters out personally identifiable information and inappropriate content.
- Who has access to the information I provide on the e-Buddies application?
Best Buddies considers all information provided on the e-Buddies application highly confidential. We keep this information on a secure server and only authorized Best Buddies staff members can access this information. Best Buddies does not sell or trade this information with anyone.
- How do I log into the e-Buddies Community?
e-Buddies can log into the e-Buddies Community at www.ebuddies.org/community. Teachers and other group administrators can log into the e-Buddies Group Administration at www.ebuddies.org/admin/group.
- How old do I need to be to join e-Buddies?
You must be at least 10 years old to participate.
- How do I sign up?
To join e-Buddies, fill out the online application here: www.ebuddies.org/apply.
- What information will I need to join?
The e-Buddies application will ask you for general contact information, as well as:
- Your e-mail address
- Contact information for three references
- Contact information for your parent/guardian (if needed)
- Your social security number (if you are an adult at least 18 years old without an intellectual or developmental disability)
- Do I need my parent's permission to participate?
If you are under age 18, you do need to have your parent's permission to join e-Buddies. If you are over the age of 18, have an intellectual or developmental disability, and a legal guardian, you need your guardian's permission to join e-Buddies. The application will guide you through the process of getting your parent or guardian's permission.
- Why does the application ask for my social security number?
As one of our main safety precautions, e-Buddies screens every applicant before approving them to participate in our program. Your social security number is used in our screening process and is kept on a secure server. Only adult volunteers 18 years old and older need to submit a social security number. If you are an international applicant and do not have a social security number, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What happens after I submit my application?
e-Buddies staff will process your application by looking over the information you provided and contacting your references and consent (if needed). It can take a couple weeks to approve your application. Once approved, staff will begin looking for a match for you. You will receive e-mails letting you know when you are approved to participate and when you are matched.
- Can I sign up more than one individual at a time?
For teachers and other facilitators of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, e-Buddies offers a group application. This creates a group profile where the administrator can manage the members and track participation. Follow the links to sign up a group at www.ebuddies.org/apply. Currently, e-buddies does not offer a group application for individuals without intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Does e-Buddies give me an e-mail address?
No. e-Buddies is not an e-mail service provider. e-Buddies connects participates e-mail addresses together through the E-mail System. Each participant must have his/her own e-mail address.
E-mailing your e-Buddy
- How do I e-mail my e-buddy?
To send an e-mail to your e-Buddy, you can send an e-mail to email@example.com from the e-mail address you signed up with. You can also send a message to your e-Buddy through the e-Buddies Community's E-mail Center.
- What is the commitment?
To e-mail your e-Buddy at least once a week for at least one year. There is no limit to how often you e-mail your e-buddy or for how long.
- What if I change my e-mail address?
If you change your e-mail address, or would prefer to e-mail your e-Buddy from a different account, update your e-mail address here: www.ebuddies.org/changemail.php.
- I have never had an e-mail friend before, what do I do?
This friendship can be just like any other friendship you have; except it takes place through e-mail. Remember, you and your e-Buddy were matched because you are interested in some of the same things. That way you can start e-mailing your e-Buddy to discuss those interests. Just remember; be yourself, write about things that interest you and ask a lot of questions!
- I have never communicated with someone with a disability before, what types of e-mails should I send?
The key to communicating with your e-Buddy is to let them set the tone for your e-mails. It is probably best to keep the first e-mail short and simple. In the first e-mail share some information about yourself and also ask them some questions. Once you receive a response from your e-Buddy you will be able to develop a better sense of what length and type of e-mails you will be exchanging.
- How do I get a conversation started with my e-Buddy?
Conversations through an e-mail friendship can be started the same way they are through other friendships. When you are matched, e-Buddies will let you know what interests you share. You can start by asking questions about your shared interests. Some other topic ideas are: Favorite holidays, seasons, sports, movies, TV shows, music, family, pets, hobbies, vacations, and food.
- Can I become Facebook friends with my e-Buddy?
No. In order to keep all of our participants safe, e-Buddies does not allow members to communicate outside of the e-Buddies E-mail System. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc. Keeping communication to e-mail allows e-Buddies to track the progress of your friendship as well as maintain your safety.
- How much information about myself do I need to share with my e-Buddy?
There are no specifications on the amount or type of information that you need to share with your e-Buddy. The goal of e-Buddies is to develop a quality friendship through e-mail. It is up to you and your e-Buddy to determine what type of friendship that will be. You should take it at the pace that you feel most comfortable with. If your e-Buddy asks questions that you are not comfortable responding to, you should reply to your e-Buddy that you are just not ready to discuss that information at this point. e-Buddies requires that you not share your phone number, mailing address or personal e-mail address with your e-Buddy.
- What happens if I am not able to e-mail my e-Buddy every week?
The e-Buddies commitment is to e-mail your e-Buddy once per week. However, on occasion situations do arise that prevent this from happening (i.e. vacation, illness, etc.). If you know in advance that you will not be able to e-mail your e-Buddy in a particular week, let them know. You can also turn off the automatic reminders that are sent when a person has not been e-mailing by logging into the e-Buddies Community and changing the status under View Status. You may also contact e-Buddies staff to let us know.
- If my e-Buddy does not e-mail me, should I still send them e-mail?
Yes. Many different circumstances can cause someone not to be able to e-mail. If your e-Buddy does not e-mail you, please continue to send them an e-mail. This can help them respond to you sooner.