Best Buddies

Frequently Asked Questions:
The Basics

Already in e-Buddies? Click here for a member FAQ!

  1. What is e-Buddies?
    e-Buddies provides opportunities for e-mail friendships between an individual who has an intellectual disability and a peer who does not have an intellectual disability.

  2. Is e-Buddies a nonprofit organization?
    e-Buddies is part of Best Buddies International, an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of Best Buddies is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Find out more about Best Buddies by clicking here.

  3. What do e-Buddies do?
    e-Buddies develop friendships through e-mail. Participants agree to e-mail each other once a week for one year. Many of our participants enjoy the e-mail friendships so much, they e-mail each other every day.

  4. I do NOT have an intellectual disability. May I join e-Buddies?
    Yes, individuals who do NOT have an intellectual disability may join e-Buddies as a peer volunteer to an e-Buddy who has an intellectual disability.

  5. 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 disabilities will typically be matched within one month.

  6. How old do I need to be to join e-Buddies?
    You must be at least 10 years old to participate.

  7. 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 disability, and a legal guardian, you need your guardian's permission to join e-Buddies. The sign-up form will guide you through the process of getting your parent or guardian's permission.

  8. Does e-Buddies cost anything?
    e-Buddies is free for people with intellectual 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.

  9. Is it safe to participate in e-Buddies?
    Best Buddies is committed to doing all we can to make e-Buddies a fun, fulfilling and safe experience for all participants. This is why we check references for all applicants and require parental permission for those under 18. We also require all participants to agree to a code of conduct that prohibits the exchange of addresses and telephone numbers, or the transmittal of pornographic information. In person meetings are also prohibited, unless arranged by a Best Buddies staff member. In addition, once applicants are matched, all of their e-mails are exchanged through the e-Buddies e-Mail System. All e-mails are sent to a common address and then forwarded to the appropriate person. This provides further safety measures as participants do not share their personal e-mail address with their e-Buddy. Also, if necessary, e-Buddies staff are able to monitor the e-mails exchanged to ensure that participants are maintaining the commitment and adhering to the code of conduct.

  10. 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. Only authorized Best Buddies staff members can access your information. Best Buddies does not sell or trade this information with anyone.

  11. How do I sign up?
    Simply click here!

  12. I have already signed up for an e-Buddy. How else can I help?
    There are a number of ways that you can help us build a community of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities on the Internet:

    • If you know someone with intellectual disabilities that has regular access to e-mail, help sign him or her up for e-Buddies. We are always looking for more participants with intellectual disabilities.
    • If you have time and know someone with intellectual disabilities that is unfamiliar with computers or may need help using e-mail for any reason, please help them. It doesn't take much time, but it makes a world of difference.
    • Help support e-Buddies by making a financial contribution. Donations can be made online by clicking here. Contact for further information.

To find more e-Buddies FAQs, please click here.