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Difference with other hospitality networks

BeWelcome Philosophy

Our mission is to provide a platform for hospitality and cultural exchange run by volunteers. The safety of our members and their privacy is paramount.

With members from many different countries and cultural backgrounds we highly value the challenge and opportunity to learn from each other and openly listen to different opinions, critics and suggestions.

For us, working together is of key importance and this is reflected in our work ethic and organisational values. It is our desire and measure of success to be seen as an organisation where members work together in an enriching, democratic, innovative, friendly and motivating way.

Transparency

Decisions are taken transparently, where no information (apart from privacy sensitive information) is hidden away from other volunteers and where possible the general public. It might not always be easy to find required information, but if you look around or ask you will find it!

All software running BeWelcome is free software (or open source). It is available under the GNU General Public License, meaning that there is full transparency about its working, and anyone interested in volunteering on the software side can instantly get started. It also means other related projects can be quickly set up using this software.

Democracy and Structure

  1. Volunteer teams work democratically. Day-to-day decisions (e.g. writing this text) are usually taken in an ad-hoc fashion, but important decisions (e.g. which license to use for this wiki, choosing team coordinators) are taken by vote.
  2. BeWelcome members' opinions, criticism, wishes are taken into account, respected and encouraged - especially in the forum, but also in feedback messages, since September 2012 we also have a polling system for BeWelcome members.
  3. BeVolunteer, the organization behind BeWelcome has clear and legal statutes.
  4. BeVolunteer, is an officially registered NPO (Non Profit Organisation) registered in France and under French law, BeVolunteer will never be able to become a for-profit corporation.
  5. BeVolunteer elects a BoD (Board of Directors) every year.
  6. According to the statutes of BeVolunteer the BoD and volunteers are not allowed to receive any payment whatsoevr, not even travel expenses!
  7. BeWelcome Terms

Members

There are definitely more members on Couchsurfing, meaning that most of the time it will be easier to find a host via CS. On the other hand, people on BeWelcome are eager to host (fewer members also means fewer requests), and are usually more likely to respond positively.

Democracy/Do-ocrazy

All decisions on BeWelcome are taken democratically. Decisions are voted locally if they are of minor consequences, globally if they are of major interest. Please check DoOcrazy Concept

Transparency

BeWelcome is running on free and open source software. It's available under the GNU General Public License. Anyone who wants to volunteer in developing BW can.

Terms of Use

BeWelcome Terms of Use states they will not transfer any personal information without your consent, except for safety/emergency reasons. BeWelcome Terms of Use are written and decided upon by members, all are notified of any change.

Evolution

BeWelcome is growing slowly. The evolution of the site is entirely controlled by its members. Only volunteering makes things happen and as decisions are taken democratically, it usually takes more time for them to be agreed upon & implemented. Click here for data scientific insights.

Accessibility

BeWelcome strives to be inclusive and not to exclude people with disabilities of any kind, e.g. the website is accessible to blind people. See Accessibility

Functionality

Note that unpaid volunteer developers work hard to improve BeWelcome.

See also the hospitality exchange comparison table

Difference_with_other_hospitality_networks