About

With BACE Timebank, the currency is time, and everyone's time is equal.

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:

Note:
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.


Practice

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.


  • What are groups?
    • A group on the Timebank is when individuals join together to form a group page.
    • This is a great way for folks who want to exchange with each other to connect.
    • It can be made up of individuals, an existing organization or a combination.
    • The coolest thing about groups
      • The Forums are a great way to connect with everyone in your group.
      • Add information that group members need to start exchanging.
      • The group pages have lots more features that are coming soon.

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..





Getting Started

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.

  1. Email address (never made public; used to verify account) Member communications to you are forwarded to this email address and are stored in your Inbox on the Time Bank webmail system.
  2. Name (will be displayed on the website) Please use your real name as we are real people who also get together for potlucks, meetings, events and whatnot. Being real helps us build trust and community.
  3. Offered Services - There is a list of different service areas. Please select ALL of the areas you have some experience in and are willing to offer other members. You can also create additional Categories and Subcategories yourself, if something you need does not already exist, go for it. This directory is a collaborative work in progress.
  4. About You - Let the other members know something about yourself or the skills you bring to the community. Please use this space to mention what city/area you live in, if you have a car and/or are willing to give rides; describe any specific services you're willing to offer; highlight any needs you may have; and any other info you think is important for other members to know.

MEMBERSHIP GUIDELINES

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:

  1. Lack of participation
    If a member has had 0 transactions within 6 months they will be contacted by the Time Bank. If they are reachable, their offers and requests will be reviewed and adjusted if necessary.
    If the member is unreachable after 1 email attempt, and 2 phone attempts, the member will be deactivated and their offers and requests removed.
  2. Violence, harassment or other disrespectful interactions
    We rely on YOU to report any inappropriate behavior, be it directed at you or observed by you. Any infraction may result in de-activation of account.
  3. Fraud, misuse or abuse
    Will not be tolerated and the member will be removed.
  4. Not responding to communications
    If you do not hear get a response from another member, contact the Time Bank Planning Committee at support@bace.org. After 2 complaints of non responsiveness, a member will be contacted and may be de-activated.

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:

  • To earn one hour for every hour of service provided.
  • To spend hours on services offered by other members.
  • To save hours in a personal account for later use.
  • To donate hours to other members.
  • To have privacy and confidentiality maintained.
  • To be treated with dignity, care and respect.

Every member of BACE Timebank has the responsibility:

  • To respect the privacy and confidentiality of other members.
  • To be prompt and keep scheduled commitments.
  • To be accepting of guidance and instructions

General Policies

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, support@bace.org.

Confidentiality:
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.

DOs

-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.

DON'Ts

-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.

Earning Hours:
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 support@bace.org, or a Mediator of your choice.

Tips

  1. Please be very conscientious of your transactions and communication. Friendliness, honesty and generosity help foster the kind of community we hope to create together. Your word is everything. Honor it. Trust before suspicion.
  2. As a community-run system, members are encouraged to help develop and maintain Bay Area Community Exchange. Invite others to join the timebank so we will have more abundant resources from which the community can draw upon. If you have ideas or comments please share them with the community in the forums or contact us at support@bace.org to get involved. Our goal is to create a positive environment for community building and exchange. Be part of it!

READ: Member Agreement

NEXT: Go here to set up an account


Contact Us

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 support@bace.org. Please note that we will not share any information regarding your feedback with other members unless you give us permission.

Rick, Carl, Lea, Megan, Emily, AZ, Matt, Romy, and Tom are currently the Timebank Team. You can contact support at support@bace.org for more info.

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!


What is a Timebank?

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.

How does an exchange work?

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.

What's in it for me?

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.

How much time is involved?

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?

What if I don't have any skills or a service to offer?

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 support@bace.org for more information about how an organization can apply to be a part of the timebank.

Why is everyone's time given the same value?

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.

Can I trust the people in Timebank to come into my home?

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.

What keeps the system honest and fair?

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.

What if the quality of work doesn't meet my standards?

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 support@bace.org.

What if a member's conduct is unacceptable?

We have a process for handling complaints about conduct. Through this process a member may be suspended or removed from the system. Please contact support@bace.org if you have a problem.

What if I don't have Internet or Email?

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.

Can children join the Timebank?

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.

What happens if you go into debt?

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.

Do I have to live in San Francisco Bay Area to participate?

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.

Are hour exchanges tax-exempt?

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.

Can I share my hours?

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.

How do I leave the timebank or delete my account?

Please request removal by emailing us at support@bace.org using the email address that you use on your account, and we will remove your account from our system.