For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one hour to use to have someone do something for you. It is an alternative way to give and receive resources. It's that simple.
Many of us have friends, neighbors and family members who help us out, but they can't always be there. A community timebank is like having an extended family to help out. Whether you give a music lesson, take care of someone's pet, or take someone to a doctor's appointment, one hour given equals one hour you can then use. The BACE Timebank honors the unique gifts, talents and resources that each of us has to share, regardless of age, employment or ethnic background, such as tutoring, yard work, repairs, running errands, and storytelling. Timebanks also help enrich our lives with things we may not normally be able to afford, like language lessons or massage. Spending time dollars instead of cash, can help you save money for expenses like rent, medicine, and food.
The formal economy is unstable and currently in a recession, but we can create community resiliency through the informal economy, providing a different kind of security based on relationships, trust, caring, and reciprocity. Many other countries have large informal economies that help people meet their basic needs through local connections, as did this country earlier on. By participating in the timebank, you are creating a more caring culture and healthy community to live in that will help take better care of all of us in the long run.
Timebanks have been helping to rebuild the informal, village economy for over twenty years. There are now over 300 communities in 22 countries that are using this (pay it forward) system to help their communities grow and thrive.
To learn more:
BACE is a Bay Area 501(c)3 nonprofit, fiscally sponsored by the International Society for Ecology and Culture, that develops currencies. BACE is governed by a collective of volunteers that are members of the Timebank.
Bay Area Community Exchange Timebank
The Timebank is a free online directory that covers the entire bay area. It's an open source accounting system that encourages community self-help by facilitating exchanges of services and goods.
For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one hour to give to someone to do something for you. The currency is time and everyone's time is equal.
How to get started
Sign up or log into your free BACE Timebank account: timebank.sfbace.org
Complete your profile.
Upload a profile picture.
Select the categories you are most interested in.
This is the place to describe your interest, needs, experience and skills.
Who and where you are.
How to get in contact with you.
Feel free to edit your profile any time.
Now it's time to check out the Directory
It's made up of categories
Each line contains offers, request and providers
Click on providers to see a list of everyone in that category or use the keyword search function to search the entire directory and member profiles for specific skills.
How to make a Timebank Exchange
Timebank exchanges work with request and offers.
A request is when you need a service, or good.
An offer is when you have a service, or good you want to share.
Example 1. You need help moving a sofa.
Option - Create a request asking for help with the amount of time it should take and date it needs to be done by.
Example 2. You want to start a garden.
Option – Create a request for a local green thumb.
Example 3. You have extra pumpkins from your garden.
Option - Create an offer with an hour value for your goods.
Example 4. You can help organize a cluttered room.
Option - Create an offer with an estimate of the time it will take to complete.
You can also use the timebank by searching the directory and profiles with the keyword search function and contact members directly to see if they have something to exchange.
You can talk to people in person or gather at a community event and agree to give credit through the timebank after the exchange.
The person who received the service, or goods transfers the agreed upon number of hours to the person who shared the service, or goods.
Go to the Profile Page of the person you want to transfer hours to.
Under the profile picture, click on "Give Credit" and send some words of thanks..
When you create a BACE Time Bank profile, you will be asked some questions to help you identify what your skills you have to offer and what some of your needs may be.
ACCOUNT BALANCE POLICY:
You do not have to 'earn' credit hours (CH) before posting a request or taking someone up on an offer. Spending hours (aka "time dollars, known to us as Credit Hours or "CHs") that you don't have is OKAY! We operate on a community system of trust, an integral part of time banking. New members are allowed to have a CH debt of up to 25. If you have or anticipate a need for a larger "credit limit", please contact an administrator to discuss your particular situation.
CLASSES OR OTHER GROUP ACTIVITIES:
Members offering a group activity of any sort abide by the statute that they receive one CH for every hour they work. If they teach an hour long class to ten people however, each one of the students will pay one CH for receiving the lesson. This means the the students pay 10 CHs and the teacher receives 1 CH. So, where do the surplus 9 CHs go? They are deposited into the BACE Time Bank Community Chest, and are used for community projects proposed by Members. Teaching is not only a great way to share your knowledge, it helps strengthen the time bank and our community even more!
MEMBER REMOVAL POLICY:
Like any job, being a time banker comes with responsibility to the community. Members may be removed for many of the same reasons one would be dismissed from a traditional job. These include but are not limited to:
MEMBER RENEWAL POLICY:
Currently membership in BACE Time Bank costs no US federal reserve notes (dollars), the only requirement being attendance of a one hour orientation, online or in person. Other timebanks have added a system of collecting national money from Members to maintain a healthy timebank, administration for offline users (elderly), etc. The BACE Time Bank Planning Committee has not moved on setting any US$ fees, and would like to keep it that way, as long as our server costs remain donated.
TRAVEL AND ADDITIONAL EXPENSES:
Often, providing a service requires the use of a vehicle or incurs other expenses, such as cleaning products or tools. If fulfilling a request requires more than 10 miles of driving, recipients should include drive time in their calculations. Gas mileage of various vehicles may vary, but $.50/mile is a reasonable rate. These are guidelines rather than rules; individual cases should be discussed and reimbursement policy agreed upon beforehand.
Member Rights & Responsibilities:
Every member of BACE Timebank has the right:
Every member of BACE Timebank has the responsibility:
Liability: BACE Time Bank refers members who state that they are able to perform services. BACE Time Bank cannot guarantee the performance of anyone who is referred, nor will BACE Time Bank or its volunteer staff or members be held responsible for any injury to persons or damage to property experienced while involved with the transaction.
Limitations: No service is guaranteed, and there may be situations when the service provided does not meet the expectations of the receiver. Wherever possible, appreciation of another's best efforts is part of what makes the Time Bank work. Additionally, all problems should be brought to the attention of the Time Bank Planning Committee, email@example.com.
All members must protect the privacy and confidentiality of other members. Membership can be terminated for violating this rule. The only exception for sharing information is when a member feels that the health and/or safety of another member is in danger. Please communicate these concerns to a Coordinator immediately.
-Make sure the other person understands what you are going to do before you start doing it.
- If you are requesting a service, be sure to pay for any parts,
supplies, ingredients, or materials that are used. You will want to make this part of your original agreement.
- Contact the other member in advance if you must cancel.
- Be patient and open.
- Respect others' religions, beliefs, political viewpoints and lifestyles.
- If renting, check with landlord before doing home repairs.
- If using your personal car to transport a member, have liability
insurance and wear seat belts.
- Dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
- Contact a Coordinator if your transaction does not meet your
expectations or to give feedback.
-Do not provide "hands-on" care that is beyond your training or
expertise such as giving medicine, baths, lifting, or cutting nails.
-Do not ask for or accept tips.
-Do not smoke in a member's home without permission.
-Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs while performing services.
-Do not purchase alcohol or cigarettes for members.
* Under circumstances where the exchange involves services such as transportation, childcare, eldercare, plumbing, etc., it is the responsibility of the requestor to ascertain the competency of the server to the extent that meets the user's level of comfort.
One hour of service always earns one Credit Hour, and one Credit Hour is always exchangeable for one hour of service. For fractions of Credit Hours, round up to the nearest quarter hour. Credit Hours are not redeemable for cash.
Disputes, complaints, misunderstandings and questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or a Mediator of your choice.
READ: Member Agreement
In order for us to keep the BACE Timbank running smoothly, we need to know how our members exchanges are going. Please let us know how you are doing we want to hear about that great exchange, or help you work through a less-than-ideal interaction. If you have been having trouble getting a hold of other members, let us know and we will work with you to try to get you in touch!
Email feedback to email@example.com. Please note that we will not share any information regarding your feedback with other members unless you give us permission.
Many thanks to Tom Brown of Open Source Currency and Austin Time Exchange for innumerable hours of volunteer time setting up and tailoring this system for us!
A timebank is like a local community bank that keeps track of time instead of US dollars. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one hour to use to have someone do something for you. It is an alternative way to give and receive resources.
Let's say you need someone to help out in the garden for two hours. You can post a request to the timebank or search the timebank directory and contact another member to set up an exchange. A timebank member then comes by and helps out in the garden. Once the service is completed, you transfer hours on the timebank from your account to the service provider. You've spent two time dollars and another member has earned two time dollars that s/he can spend elsewhere in the timebank.
You can also post service offers to earn more hours and help out your community. Posting specific offers and requests help generate more exchanges and invigorates the timebank.
For every hour of help you give, you also receive an hour of help. You may get credit for things you may not normally be rewarded for but do anyways or things that you love to do but don't often make time for. You can save your scarce cash for things like rent, food, and medicine and use time dollars for the rest.
You are also making a difference in someone's life, whether it's giving a ride to a person who doesn't have a car, tutoring a student, translating, sewing, or helping with computer problems, things that they might not be able to afford but need. You are contributing to a more caring culture and healthy community to live in that can help take better care of you in the long run.
You may participate in service exchanges as often as you are able. Some members give or receive services every week, or every month, or a few times per year. You are invited to help each other by doing what you enjoy when it is convenient for you. Usually the more you give the more you get back in many ways.
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?
At the core of timebanking is the belief that everyone is valuable and everyone has something to offer. Think of the various tasks you do everyday (e.g. cooking, driving, walking a dog, etc.) and your hobbies (e.g. sewing, graphic design, writing, playing tennis, photography, etc.). Don't list only what you could get paid to do in the formal economy. The timebank economy is an informal economy of people doing the types of favors that family and neighbors have been doing for millennia. Thus, mentoring, braiding hair, beginning guitar lessons and making chicken soup are all great offers!
You can also contact the timebank administration if you volunteer for a nonprofit and want to earn time dollars for volunteering. If your organization offers services to the community, it may be eligible to join the timebank. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how an organization can apply to be a part of the timebank.
At first glance, it seems crazy that someone is paid the same for web design and pulling weeds, but this turns out to be the core of what makes time dollars really work. Putting a price on people's time separates us by making some people more valuable than others. Time credits excel in building relationships because they place an equal value on everyone's time and relationships above profit.
Time credits aren't meant to replace US dollars. They are designed to counterbalance the market economy where people may have invested in special training to make their time more valuable. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just taken over too much of our experience of the world. Almost everything is monetized. We are building a parallel economy where people take care of each other as families. We build extended families or villages by geography.
Most people on the timebank are probably trustworthy. However, we do not screen people. If you have any doubts, please do not accept the person's offer to help. It is up to each member to get to know and feel comfortable with another member. You can also look at each member's profile to see comments about them made by other members they have exchanged with.
Whenever one person earns time dollars, there is a corresponding debit for the same amount in someone else's account. No one is anonymous in a timebank and transactions are transparent. This makes it pretty easy to know whether transactions are honest or not. There is not much incentive to cheat because the system is inherently abundant and is based more on reputation than anything else.
Sometimes you get professional quality work, but you can't always expect professional standards as the receiver or giver. People are donating their time and skills to the best of their ability. If you have a concern that you want to share about someone's exchange, pleases contact email@example.com.
We have a process for handling complaints about conduct. Through this process a member may be suspended or removed from the system. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a problem.
We can help you find free public computer terminals or a friendly neighbor with a computer and set up an email account. We are hoping in the near future to have more ways for the off-line population to participate.
Yes, with their parent or guardian's permission, children and teenagers can participate in the timebank. The timebank can be a great way for children and teenagers to secure tutoring, music lessons, mentoring and job coaching, as well as feel useful and develop skills.
Having a negative balance is not a big deal in a time dollar account. After all, people have to receive in order for others to give and everyone needs to be cared for sometimes. Currently, we have set the limit around 50 hours. Reaching the limit triggers an administrator to contact you to help you spend or earn more hours. Limits may change as we see what works for the system.
Our system functions a bit more like a reputation system than a normal accounting system. You can see how much other members have both given and received and others comments about them, as well as profile information that may help you determine who you would like to exchange with.
We prefer that members be in the Bay Area on a fairly regular basis. It is difficult to build a community with people you can't get to know and are not able to regularly exchange.
Yes, timebanking is different than bartering, it is not taxable. In normal bartering, you have to declare the value of the good and services you receive to the IRS. In independent contractor or consulting work, you should declare your income in US dollars. However, timebanking is considered volunteering as long as you don't charge market rate for your service (more or less than one hour for an hour). Goods are also nontaxable as long as they are valued based on labor time, not market value. Timebanks USA, a very similar system to ours has an IRS private letter ruling that time dollar exchanges are tax-exempt. However, laws and their interpretation by the courts change all the time. You are responsible for knowing the law and reporting your income if necessary.
Yes, you can always gift your earned hours to a member of your family, a friend, or someone in the community who may need hours.
Please request removal by emailing us at email@example.com using the email address that you use on your account, and we will remove your account from our system.