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Cleveland TimeBank

Your Neighborhood Skills Exchange

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3167 Fulton Road, Suite 303, Cleveland, Ohio  44109

TEL (216) 961-9073 / FAX (216) 961-9387


(Adapted from Kent Community TimeBank, 01/24/2014)

Q: Do I have to live in the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton, or Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods of Cleveland to join?

A: No, you can even live in a different county but spend enough time in Cleveland and the surrounding towns to earn and spend Time Credits here. If you live far from other members your exchanges might start slowly. But we are adding new members all the time. Perhaps you can help AND earn Time Credits by hosting a house party to recruit your neighbors!

Q:  How is everyone's time given the same value? 

A:  At first glance, it seems crazy that the physician's time is equal to the dog walker's time but that is exactly what is at the core of timebanking.  Timebanking is not meant to replace real dollars.  At a time of economic uncertainty, however, a program like timebanking remembers community.  Timebanking hopes to create a "caring community" where everyone's time is valued equally.  Timebanking becomes the extended family that members choose to honor and respect equally, regardless of their income or training in certain areas. 

Q:  What if I feel like I don't have anything to offer?

A:  You would be surprised at how many people share this feeling.  We all have something to offer.  If you can offer a kind word, you can be on the TimeBank.  If you can make a phone call, you can be on the TimeBank.  If you can drive one person to the store, you have an asset.  Furthermore, do you have a hobby?  Do you have a passion?  If so, you have something to offer.  One does not need to be a "professional" to provide services on the Time Bank.

Q:  What if I don't want to offer the skills that I have to do every day?

A:  Even though you are probably a great worker in your day job, my guess is that you have other skills, talents and passions that you might be willing to share.  There are literally thousands of ways to earn TimeCredits in the TimeBank.  You might also consider sharing your profession only on a limited basis.

Q.  Who pays for material costs in an exchange?

A.  Great question!  The receiver of the exchange pays for all materials used by the provider, if there are materials.  It is important that this is discussed before the transaction takes place.  For example, if I give Kristina a ride to the airport, she pays me TimeCredits for my time and gas money.

Q.  Can a member combine cash and Time Credit fees for services?

A.  Absolutely!  As long as that member is clear when he or she writes their ads on the software.  While you can't give a cash value to the TimeCredits, you can easily split the fees.  For example, if I estimate it will take me 4 hours to paint your living room, I might charge you 2 hours cash for my labor PLUS 2 Time Credits.  What's nice about this, is that maybe your neighbor will notice my great painting skills and want to hire me for a cash job.  This has happened.  We are actually creating jobs.

Q:  What if I don't have time to join a TimeBank?

A:   None of us want to add one more thing to our busy lives.  The beauty of timebanking is that it will free you up to do the things you enjoy doing!  You might ask yourself, what is it that you are doing that makes you so busy?  Is it possible that another member of the community could help you with your least favorite tasks?  In addition, many of the services people exchange in a TimeBank are the types of things they are already doing every day. For example, those of us who have children are already cooking for them, driving them to activities, and helping them with their schoolwork-among other things. Cooking an extra portion of food for someone down the street who is housebound, picking up your neighbor's kids on the way to soccer practice, or helping the child down the street with his homework doesn't add work to your day. Or, if you have a dog and take it for a walk every day, why not pick up your neighbor's dog along the way?

Q: What are TimeCredits (some people call them Time Dollars)?  

A: TimeCredits represent the amount of time one TimeBank member has spent helping other members. When you spend an hour helping another TimeBank member, one Time Credit gets added to your account and subtracted from the account of the member who received your service. You can record half- and quarter-hours too. TimeCredits can be exchanged at the one TimeCredit per hour rate for anything being offered by someone in the network, provided the person is willing and available.

Q.  Who records the TimeCredits?

A.  Either member can record the exchange.  Just agree before or after the transaction. Each member will receive an email notification of the transaction.

Q: How many dollars is a Time Credit worth? Does a TimeBank hour have a monetary value?

A: No, a TimeCredit never has a monetary value. TimeCredits just track services (and sometimes goods) people provide for each other.

Q.  So, I can sell goods/products on the TimeBank?

A.  Sure you can.  Typically, you might sell something for TimeCredits that is equal to the amount of time that was spent making it.  Sometimes, that's hard to do so you might set a price that feels appropriate.  For example, I can sell my used working laptop for 20 TimeCredits but if no one is willing to pay that much, I might drop it down to 15 TimeCredits.

Q: Are TimeCredits taxable?

A: No. TimeBank hours have been ruled tax exempt on two occasions by the IRS because an hour is always valued at one hour. There is no legal responsibility on anyone's part to redeem a TimeCredit, it is considered a "non-commercial agreement" and the purpose of TimeCredits is charitable.

Q: Are there units smaller than one hour, or one TimeBank hour?

A: Yes, you can record units as small as 1/4 TimeCredit or 1/4 hour. And we always round up!

Q:  What happens when a timebanker's TimeCredit account goes in the negative?

A:  Cleveland TimeBank honors those with needs just as we honor those who give.  By receiving TimeCredits, a member is contributing to the entire system of exchange equally as much as a member who earns a lot of TimeCredits.  It always works out with timebanking.  For those who still have a hard time feeling unrest with a negative balance, other members often donate TimeCredits to those who need them.  In addition, your TimeBank account can only be seen by you and your coordinators.  We want you to use the TimeBank.  We challenge you to go in the negative! ;)

Q:  What's to keep a member from being dishonest with their TimeCredits?

A:  Our coordinator is made aware of every single transaction that takes place.  While it seems unfathomable that our neighbors would attempt to take advantage, it would be nearly impossible as both the giver and the receiver are notified of the transaction as well.

Q.  What if a member does a service that I am not happy with?

A.  It is important that you let your coordinators know if this happens.  We have a log and will handle complaints if necessary.  Similarly, if a member is not respectful, on time, or unreachable, we need to know.  These matters are handled respectfully and privately.  When we have 1000 members on, however, you'll find yourself "shopping" on the TimeBank and small problems will get naturally weeded out.

Q:  Do I have to have a computer to be in the Cleveland TimeBank?

A:  No, you do not.  CTB will pair you up with another member who can help you record your hours online.  In addition, when you write your offer or request, you can state that the member who wishes to exchange with you call you on the telephone instead of emailing.  We suggest, however, that a routine check of the software be done in order to stay in touch with recent offers and requests that are posted.  We have several places where free computer use is available.

Q: What about liability?

A: Being in a TimeBank is no different than helping your neighbor.  Every member in the TimeBank assumes all responsibility for their exchanges just as you would treat a friend or a neighbor.  Although homeowners insurance protects members, many TimeBanks have volunteer liability insurance to cover problems that can occur during a service exchange.  However, in the decades that timebanking has been around, no claims have ever been filed against it. Timebanking is based on trust and reciprocity.

Q: Can a group, organization or merchant join?

A:  Absolutely, Cleveland TimeBank is more than just an individual exchange system Cleveland TimeBank strives to work with churches, schools, libraries, youth groups, neighborhood groups, outreach programs, agricultural projects, municipalities and local merchants.  There are several distinctions in applying that can be discussed with a CTB representative.

Q.  I already volunteer in my community.  Why would I want to get TimeCredits for that?

A.  First of all, thank you for helping in your community.  Getting "paid" TimeCredits for your work actually helps the entire community even more.  Let's talk reciprocity!  Your earning (and spending) TimeCredits might help someone else who is fighting poverty or just wants to give their kids something they might not otherwise be able to provide.  Like horse lessons!  And, did you know, that even if the group you are volunteering for does not have an account with the TimeBank, we will pay you TimeCredits for your time?  Email Laura to find out more!

Q.  I am already a member of CTB.  Do I have to record my hours?

A.  Because our TimeBank is fairly new, it is imperative that you record ALL of your TimeCredits and exchanges.  And don't skimp yourself!  In order for our TimeBank to succeed, we need the data to show that we are doing it!  So, if you haven't been recording those potluck dishes, get in there and do it!

Q:  Does it cost to join?

A:  Joining CTB is free.

Q:  How do I join?

A:  Go to our website www.clevelandtimebank.org and click on the "Member Login" tab. This takes you to our our hOurworld home page. Click Become a Member, fill in the form and touch base with the TimeBank coordinator, Laura.

Q: Is there a user guide?

A: Yes!  hOurworld has a member help guide on our log-in page, http://hourworld.org/bank/?hw=1078, that will guide you through the many features of our software.

To visit your account now, go to http://hourworld.org/bank/?hw=1078 

Potlucks are held the second Thursday of each month. 

More Regional TimeBanks:

Kent Community TimeBank (Kent, OH; Twinsburg, OH; Ravenna, OH)

TimeBank Mahoning Valley (Youngstown, OH)

C.A.R.E. Cleveland Area Time Exchange (Olmsted Falls, OH)

Akron TimeBank (Akron, OH)

The Grapevine timeXchange (Northeast, PA; Erie, PA)

Care and Share Time Bank (Columbus, OH)

Meadville Time Trade (Meadville, PA)