Time banking replaces money. Provide an hour of service to your neighbor and earn one time dollar. A TimeBank is a network of members that have agreed they will provide and receive services from each other, albeit not directly. (This is not Barter.) Nothing is given 'in consideration of' and there are no binding contracts. Members have a moral obligation of reciprocity to the community.
There are three basic kinds of member transactions:
Time and Talents* provides simple means to accommodate all of these. Most transactions are one to one. *(The software that supports hOurworld.)
In the special case of one to many, a Provider may record 'Preparation Time' in addition to 'Face to Face' time.
Let's say the seamstress provides a one hour class to five members and has two hours of prep time. Each member is debited 1 time dollar for a total of 5 time dollars. The provider is paid 1 time dollar for the 1 hour class, and 2 time dollars for their prep time. The two extra time dollars get automatically deposited into the TimeBank account.
Now let's say the seamstress provides a one hour class to just two members and has two hours of prep time. Each member is debited for the 1 hour class for a total of 2 time dollars. The provider is paid 1 time dollar for the 1 hour class, and 2 time dollars for their prep time. The missing time dollar to fulfill this transaction is automatically debited from the TimeBank account.
The TimeBank is the first member account created when you set up your new time bank, (along with an hOurworld account that supports inter-trading and hOurworld communications.) This Time Bank member account is a main source of time dollars at the start. Think of it as a Community Fund that works like the FED, printing time dollars and distributing them to the community to 'prime the pump'. Members earn a few hours just for joining!
It is completely reasonable for members to earn time dollars (from the time bank) for providing services to non-members or to the community at large.
Reciprocity in exchange helps grow and support the relationships between individuals, families, neighborhoods, businesses and organizations. In time banking everyone's hours are equal. An hour of my time baking cookies has the same value as an hour of your time no matter what you do. Could the world be so just! We each receive 70 or 80 years worth of hours when we are born. How do you want to spend yours? Members are free to select the services they want to offer and receive. They may also place limits on their offerings, though in practice this turns out to be un-needed.
According to one theory, the tightest circle has just five people - loved ones. That's followed by successive layers of 15 good friends, 50 friends, 150 meaningful contacts, 500 acquaintances and 1500 people you can recognize. hOurworld supports timebanks in all of these sizes with most in the 100+ range. A time bank is really a local community built on relationships occuring around one or more common themes. The goals and initiatives of a time bank are really a distillation of the intentions of its leadership and members..
Anybody! Individuals, families, groups, neighborhoods, schools, businesses and organizations, including city governments. Harness the latent power in your community by enlisting local churches, businesses and volunteer organizations to participate in your time bank. Imagine earning time dollars for all of your volunteer work and being able to 'spend' those time dollars to get your own needs met!
Time and Talents provides simple means for members to record their hours. Who will record the hours is decided when a service is arranged. Usually it's the Provider. If a provider has responded to a Request that another member has placed, they can simply click the 'Clock' icon in that member's ad. The system already knows who the parties are, the category and sub-category of the Service, and the user only needs to pick the date, enter the hours (in increments of .25 hours), and a comment if they like.
If there is no ad, or this is a one to many transaction, then using the [Services] > [Report Hours] link provides the means for a provider or consumer to enter all of the above information in one handy form.
The benefit of members or admins recording hours is that the time bank can present detailed reports on what has happened and when. In some cases this provides the deliverables that justify funding for initiatives like supporting education, business startups, food security, or aging in place!
Time and Talents contains a full suite of 30 different 'query by example' reports that allow admins to report on and communicate with any cross section of their memberships that they select!
Truth be told, most all time banks without at least one part time paid coordinator to push the big blue ball up the hill will FAIL within three years. Volunteer burnout and a failure by pinch hitters to pay attention to the many details that need to be paid attention to: on boarding new members, checking references if you collect them, holding orientations, scheduling potlucks, plant swaps, and community events, doing member check ins, posting announcements and time bank service requests and offers, managing disputes, recording hours on behalf of members and so on.
Time and Talents provides the means to setup “Membership Levels” like individual, family, and biz/org. Once levels are set up and assigned to each member accordingly, the software sends out donation requests on the anniversary of their join date. You have control over the message that is sent. In the case of families, a 'Head of Household' will be assigned and only that family member will get the ask. A typical membership level like Individual might be an ask for $25 (or two hours in lieu of), and 2 Hours, per year. An accounts receivable report allows admins to manage incoming donations. They may be marked as 'Paid' or the ask may be “Forgiven” and will simply be sent again next year.
Seeking Grants and direct Financial Support from other community players including volunteer organizations, city, state and federal governments and philanthropic organizations is another great choice for helping to fund the time bank's basic operations. Find a fundable need in the community that is not begin adequately met and then orchestrate a way for time bank members to help meet that need.
Join a time bank near you! See the map or drop down list above.Even if you are a group with a set of special initiatives, an existing time bank could do well to provide you with admin permissions to facilitate communicating with and reporting on the activities of your group even though it exists within the larger framework of the main time bank.
Start a new time bank! Tap [Get Started] above! Go ahead and review all of the materials on hOurworld.org, and there is plenty of information out on the web, YouTube, etc.
Time banking is not rocket science. These five documents provide a new member with about everything they need to *know:
The fewer hurdles in your on boarding process the faster and more easily your time bank will grow. KISS!* If you have special initiatives that involve members that may be at risk, or may be a risk, then you will want to include information about how those scenarios will be managed (i.e. youth, felons).
It's not a bad idea to create a member manual that outlines all of the policies and practices of the local time bank. hOurworld provides for an Electronic Signature collection upon a new member login. We can upload and include your local document for members to accept along with our TOS and Privacy policies.
A great way to stimulate member activity is to ask members to gather together around any event or initiative that is important to the community. Members might collaborate on a community project like cleaning up a local park, or doing landscaping for a local business. Mind you, the time bank could be PAID to perform an activity like this. Members would receive time credits for their volunteer work supporting the local community. Win win! Potlucks in combination with new member orientations is a classic way to build relationships between existing and new time bank members. We found on average new members have their first transaction just 10 days after they join, many arranged at potluck orientations.
Time banks thrive when leadership provides direction and stimulation to action to the membership. Responsibilities vary with the initiatives, funding and scale of leadership any particular time bank brings to bear.
One thing is imperative. There MUST be one or more administrators at the helm, guiding your little ship, lest it fall in irons and lay listless upon the waters. Delegation can help avoid burn out. All participants may earn time credits for every action in support of the organization.
Kitchen Cabinets act separately from the board. They provide promotion and direction for specific projects, communicating with various groups around the focused initiatives of each group. One helps the local soup kitchen, another pursues access to the arts, providing ushers for a local theater which in turn provides members access to shows for time credits. More win win.
What would it take to have one part time paid coordinator? Let's say that's 8 hours a week, 48 weeks a year @ $15 an hour. Well, that's $5,760 a year. Now divide that by 1/2 your membership if you're thinking of asking them for donations. You've got 150 members, so $5,760 divided by 75 members is about $77. Members are more likely to be willing to pay around $25. So you've got $1,875 in hand and need to raise another $3,885.
Some time banks raise additional funds by running a boutique or auction, selling items donated by members to the public at large or on Ebay. Members may receive time credits for things they have given to the time bank (or to another member). There is no equating these items to the dollar economy, more an estimation of, is this item worth an hour of my voluntary service?
A time bank may provide some service to the community, like Step 1 Weatherization of homes to improve homeowners energy savings. Time bank members earn time credits for their volunteer service to the community and the time bank is paid for the services provided and materials supplied.
The question will always be: Why? The fact is, all involved will be constantly figuring out how much value they receive for the effort they put in and the money they might contribute.
Here are some reasons that members commonly support their timebank:
The very BEST form of advertisement is Word of Mouth. Word gets around! People gather together around an idea or initiative and form networks. Then they engage in communities of practice, investing their time and energy to promote or further some initiative or task. As their effectiveness increases their networks become spheres of influence affecting the larger community through their activities. Timebanks thrive when the principals of emergence are recognized and supported. A time bank network is a living organism with changing ideals, aspirations and needs, completely affected by the surrounding culture, economy and politics. It is important to be adaptable enough to go with the flow and not become bound by worn out rules and policies that no longer support the current state of affairs.