Time Banking is Giving and Receiving
Giving and receiving are the heart and soul of Time Banking.
Time Banking creates the space for giving and receiving services to take place among members and in the extended community.
Time Banking activities can include a wide variety of activities, limited only by the abilities, time, creativity and imagination of the Time Bank members.
Here is a list of activities which are available in many Time Banks. The list expands greatly when Time Banks partner with other organizations and create linkages within a community.
- Yard work
- House watching
- Adult literacy
- Pet Care
- Music lessons
- Child care
- Computer literacy
- Home Repair
- Translation services
- Craft lessons
- Medical monitoring
- Consumer support
- Computer assistance
- Financial advice
- Child care
- Clerical support
- Meal preparation
- Group Activities
- Legal assistance
- Heavy lifting
- Information sharing
- Light housekeeping
- Resource sharing
- Personal grooming
- Car care
- Jewelry making
When people register to join a Time Bank, they will be asked to identify skills they have to give services to others and to think of possible needs they may have to receive help from others. Their initial list is only a beginning. As members become familiar with Time Banking and learn more about each other, they often discover or learn news to relate and help one another. In this way, the Time Bank itself grows and matures.
The driving force of a Time Bank is Time Dollars.
By giving and receiving services, TimeBank members earn and spend Time Dollars.
Every one who gives can earn; every one who earns can spend.
TimeBank members earn Time Dollars by helping others.
They spend Time Dollars they have earned by being helped or receiving services from others.
The value of a Time Dollar is simple:
One (1) hour of service = one (1) Time Dollar; Two (2) hours of service = two (2) Time Dollars; Three (3) hours of service = three (3) Time Dollars; ... and so on.
Members identify skills and services where they are competent to give to another (earning Time Dollars) and skills and services where they have needs to receive from another (spending Time Dollars).
Time Banks performs the basic functions required to serve its members:
Registering and setting up Time Bank accounts, i.e., helping members join and registering in a Time Bank and opening a personal Time Bank account for them;
Coordinating to help members connect available skills and services with unmet needs, i.e., having a bulletin-board service so members are aware of each other and can link with each other when they need each other for:
( + ) Earning Time Dollars, i.e., members giving a service of time and skills to others, which is considered a deposit of Time Dollars in a Time Bank account;
( - ) Spending Time Dollars, i.e., members receiving services of time and skills from others, which is considered a withdrawal from a Time Bank account;
Recording transactions, i.e., maintaining records of Time Bank transactions and Time Dollar balances in member accounts, which is a responsibility of the Time Bank.
Group gatherings and activities, i.e., arranging, coordinating and encouraging meetings, gatherings and various forms of TimeBank, group and neighborhood activities for members and community, including for example, projects, protests and advocacy.
TimeBank transactions of giving and receiving are fulfilling for all parties ...
... and build positive relationships that reweave community.
Simply Time Banking
The basic idea of Time Banking is simple:
One (1) hour service = one (1) Time Dollar
In seeking to understand, some may compare Time Banking to other familiar ideas:
Pay-it-forward. TimeBanking is not simply ‘play-it-forward’. Although there are similarities, TimeBanking is not just one-way and is not just personal. It is reciprocal and involves a group of people. Time Banking builds sustaining, caring relationships and actively nurtures community.
Random acts of kindness. TimeBanking is not simply ‘random acts of kindness’. Although there may be similarities, Time Banking is not random. It is intentional on the side of all parties and it forms ongoing, trusting relationships.
Bartering. Time Banking is not simply ‘bartering’. Although there are similarities, Time Banking is not trade by direct exchange and value is neither negotiated nor based on comparative monetary values.
Alternative currency. Time Banking is not simply ‘alternative currency’. Although alternative currency may be complementary to Time Banking, Time Banking itself is not based on monetary values or exchanges and has no obligations for contractual fulfillment.
Volunteerism. Time Banking is not simply ‘volunteerism’. Although there may be similarities, Time Banking is not a one-way giving relationship frequently characteristic of volunteerism, rather, it involves both giving and receiving by all participating in Time Banking, thus creating relationships of reciprocity and respect.
Services pool. Time Banking is not simply a typical ‘services pool’ (think of car pool or baby-sitting pool). Although there may be similarities, TimeBanking is more than sharing of services because of its community and social implications and objectives.
Yes, the basic idea of Time Banking is simple.
But Time Banking is also profound. In our modern society, money and consumerism shape the way we think, act and see ourselves. TimeBanking encourages people to come together to help each other in a way that is like “old-fashioned good neighboring.” It challenges many of our existing norms and values.
Often, it also leads people to seek ways to promote their rights and well-being.
- Builds and fortifies the core economy;
- Builds respect and reciprocity.
- Values and builds trust and community.
- Promotes societal well-being as wealth.
- Brings attention to social power and human rights.
Time Banking is a flexible tool for building community. You can use it in many different ways. As one person has said, “Time Banking is limited only by your imagination.” But this openness to possibilities can make it hard for newcomers to decide just how to make it work in their own context. The best way forward is to take one small step at a time, experience how it feels and see what you have learned at each step.