Should You Be Rewarded For Your Good Deeds This Mandela Day?

Are you choosing to participate in Mandela Day? How about if you were rewarded for it? We found an app that rewards you for your good deeds!
Melissa Cohen
2017-07-16
With Mandela Day just around the corner, people around the country are emphasizing the importance of performing good deeds. 67 Minutes is an initiative to encourage people to give 67 minutes of their time, for charity, in honour of Nelson Mandela. But how is 67 minutes enough? Have you noticed how so many people nowadays are posting their ‘good deeds’ to social media sites? Does this provide them with some sort of self-satisfaction and approval from the rest of their community? Although this might be the case with some people, other people genuinely just want to get involved and help out those less fortunate. David Shields and his team might have made helping the community just that much more rewarding.
Read More about the rise of SA's first coupon app below

The GEM Project

The GEM Project, otherwise known as Going the Extra Mile,  is an app that was developed to reward people for helping out in their community. Yes, you read right - you are being rewarded for performing good deeds. According to Shields the question of whether or not people should be rewarded for good deeds is a common one.
“People feel like they shouldn’t be rewarded for wanting to do good. It’s a feeling that you should just feel good about doing it by itself. But the same applies as to why we are in the situation where no one is doing good and no one is volunteering and people always have an excuse.”

How Does It Work?

The GEM Project is a free app that anyone who has a smartphone device or computer can download. Once downloaded, the volunteer can put in their details and they are able to see the various NGO organisations in their city. The GEM Project is currently accessible to the following four cities:
  • Cape Town
  • Pretoria
  • Johannesburg
  • KwaZulu- Natal
The volunteer is then able to look through a series of upcoming ‘events’ or ‘activations’ that are taking place at various organisations. Once the volunteer has found an event that  they are interested in attending, they click attending on the app and participate at the event.

How Am I Rewarded?

At the venue, the people who facilitate the event are in charge of taking names,numbers and more information of each person who volunteers on that day.
“The NGO then sends it to GEM within 3 days of the event and we upload the spreadsheet on to the system and those numbers get rewarded. The person who has attended the events receives an SMS thanking them for volunteering and telling them that they have received GEMs”, explains Shields.
For each event that you attend, you will receive 30 GEMs. It doesn’t matter how long you attend the event and what you do there, everyone is rewarded the same amount of GEMs for each event. “It is basically a token of appreciation as opposed to paying you a wage to come and volunteer”, says Shields.

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But What If I Can’t Make The Event?

If you are unable to make the event that is okay, however you will not earn any GEMs as you have not attended.

How Much Is One GEM in Rands?

It is exactly R1 for one GEM. This makes the reward system easier as volunteers are able to redeem items with their GEMs directly from the app. Volunteers can use the GEMs to buy the following:
  • Pre-paid electricity
  • Mobile data and airtime
  • Movie tickets
  • Groceries
  • Vida e Caffe
Just remember, the GEMs have a one month expiry so be sure to make use of them before they expiry. The cool thing is that as a volunteer, you can donate your GEMs back into the project and it will be redistributed to someone who might need those rewards more than you do!

Who Uses GEM Project?

According to Shields, 35% of volunteers are from the higher income bracket. A staggering 65% are from the lower income group. People in the lower income communities are in walking distance of the NGOs. This makes connecting with their communities easier. In the long run, it enables the building of long term relationships between the members of the community and the NGO as well as help provide an extra means of assistance for families who need an extra bit of help.
“For the lower income communities the stipend goes a long way and for the upper income community, they are able to donate their GEMs back in to GEM where it will then be rewarded to other fitting users.”

GEM's Mandela Day Plans?

Shields wants to try and get rid of the 67 Minutes stigma that Mandela Day has created. He believes that more should be done by communities on a regular basis, rather than just for a few minutes.
“Normally we have about 70 events running each month, however for Mandela Month we have 90 activations taking place. It really is just a login away to attend an event,” explains Shields.
Although this might be a rewards programme, the GEM Project proves to be a unique and beneficial addition to today’s society. For more information check out The GEM Project