Brigade Payment Procedures

Payments and donations towards brigade expenses are made in a number of different ways depending on whether funds are used for vaccinations, program contribution, etc. Below outlines the various payment methods that will be used (and when) as well as tax-exemption policies and instructions on how to use our fundraising platform,

+/-  Payment Methods by Expense Category

Independent Purchases

All travel visas, vaccinations, and HTH travel insurance will be paid independently by each brigade participant.

Empowered is our fundraising platform used to make payments and receive donations towards flights and the program contributions. All funds collected towards participant trip expenses through club fundraisers will be deposited directly into the individual's Empowered account by a club officer. Fore more information on how to get started on Empowered, see our Empowered How-To instructions below.

+/-  Tax-Exemption Qualifications

Global Brigades is a recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization. As such, all check, credit card, wired funds, or material/medication donations made by individuals or organizations towards Global Brigades projects or initiatives are tax exempt. (Cash donations do not qualify.) Donors are encouraged to process all monetary donations to chapters or brigade participants through All email donation receipts should be kept for the donor's records. For more information on receiving tax exemption, please speak to a club officer.

+/-  Instructions for Using Empowered

1. Create an Empowered Profile

    1. Go to

    2. Click the green "Create Page" button.

    3. Sign up using your facebook account or an email address.

2. Customize Your Profile

    1. Go to your profile by using the pull down menu in the top right corner. Click "Profile".

    2. Hover over the big green "Tools" pull-down menu and click "Edit Information".

    3. Use this page to change your picture, edit your "passions" section, or change your web address.

3. Find Your Chapter

Select the chapter with which you will be traveling from the following list:
(Note: For those traveling with the Business/Microfinance Brigades club, check with your trip leader whether your specific brigade is a Business or Microfinance trip.)

4. Join Your Initiative

**Joining an initiative on Empowered required admin approval. You will only be approved if you have been accepted to the brigade through our application process. For more information on brigade applications, please refer to our Brigades page.**

    1. On your chapter's page, click on the "Initiatives" tab.

    2. In the left column, select the initiative that corresponds to the brigade for which you have been accepted.

    3. Once on the appropriate initiative page, click on the "Volunteer With Us" button.

    4. Follow the on-screen instructions. (Note: If passport information is not readily available, you have the option of skipping that section and providing that information to your trip leader at a later time.)

5. Making Contributions and Receiving Donations

**All contributions on Empowered are non-refundable by Penn State Global Brigades policy with minimal exceptions. If you would like information on refundable contributions, please speak directly to a club officer.**

    1. Go to your profile by using the pull down menu in the top right corner. Click "Profile".

    2. Click on the orange "Donate" button.

    3. Under "Destination," choose "Make a donation on behalf of a volunteer." Select your name from the pull-down menu.

    4. Enter a contribution/donation amount.
    5. Process your payment via credit card or e-check. (Note: There will be a small surcharge on all credit card charges to cover processing fees. To avoid surcharges, pay by e-check by entering the account # and routing # of your desired bank account.)

You may distribute your profile URL to family, friends, or on social media sites to receive direct, online donations towards your brigade.

<----- Return to the Brigades page.