About

The Bay Area Community Exchange (BACE) Timebank is a free, online directory, communication, and time accounting system that facilitates distributions of needs and resources using a system of giving and receiving of time credit. Every hour a member uses doing something for someone is an hour earned that can be used to purchase services from another member. It's that simple.

BACE’s Timebank is a community of more than 3500 members and organizations that offer and provide services and skills in 50 categories such as gardening/farming, childcare, education, home improvement, professional development, and personal development. The Timebank is available to residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Sacramento Counties.  

BACE is fiscally sponsored by Local Futures, a 501 c(3) organization, which gives the BACE its non-profit status.The Timebank operates using open source coding. We are indebted 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!

To learn more:

  • Email us at support@bace.org
  • Attend an upcoming event or meeting listed www.bace.org.
  • Follow our Twitter feed @timebanksf
  • Join our Facebook Group

Bay Area Community Exchange Time Bank Membership Agreement

Bay Area Community Exchange Timebank (BACE Timebank) is a nonprofit community organization that facilitates skills and service exchanges through a grassroots community network. Each member is responsible for his or her individual exchanges. Prior to the activation of exchange privileges, all members must read and acknowledge this agreement. The agreement helps protect all of us.

  1. Liability - I understand that the function of BACE Timebank is to facilitate the exchange of services within the community. I understand that BACE Timebank shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by information contained on this website or any other Bay Area Community Exchange resources. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless all parties who facilitate or organize the BACE Timebank website. I hereby agree the duty, responsibility, and liability that is inherent with Timebank exchanges shall remain as it would be if the parties were not part of any Timebank. I agree to refer any disputes, complaints, misunderstandings and questions to the Planning Committee via timebankinfo@sfbace.org or a mediator of my choice. I agree to leave intact the normal remedies and cause-of-action available to these parties in the event of any unforeseen circumstance.

  2. Safety - The Timebank does not screen members. It is my responsibility to use the same caution I would in other circumstances to get to know a fellow member, conduct reference checks, and use my instincts before engaging with another Timebank member, especially for child and elder care and driving. I understand that there will be immediate termination of membership of any member who has been found to harass, harm, or interfere with any other BACE Timebank member.

  3. Manners - I pledge not to reveal the contents of this site, nor any other documentation provided by BACE Time Bank to non-members, especially any personal information provided. I agree that all services I give or receive as a member of BACE Timebank are on a volunteer basis, and that I do not expect to receive or give any money for those services, except if there are related material fees agreed upon by both parties in advance (for example, workshop materials or gas money). I pledge to proceed with good intent towards being of service to others in my community and treat others in the Timebank with respect and kindness. I agree to clarify all details of my transaction before meeting with my exchange partner. I agree to refrain from smoking in or bringing pets to my exchange partner's home, unless invited to do so. I agree to post and maintain at least one offer and one request on the BACE Timebank website with my availability on a regular basis.

  4. Communication - Good and frequent communication is key to a successful Timebank. I understand that I will be notified via an email from message@sfbace.org of activity in my Timebank account and that it is my responsibility to check my email in a timely manner, within one week. I further commit to do this for any other member for whom I am an "account advocate" (account advocates handle the online accounting for offline users, e.g. elderly). When I receive this email from message@sfbace.org, I will go to the BACE Timebank website in a timely manner to look at and respond to the email sent to me by another member.

  5. Completion of this application may not conclude the process for joining BACE Time Bank. An orientation or introduction and/or references may be necessary to finalize your membership.

    (March 16, 2010)

Practice

Timebanking can be a lifestyle or something that you occasionally use. The more you timebank, the easier it becomes to continue doing. When you practice timebanking on a regular basis, you build community, and you are more likely to meet your needs regardless of your financial situation. The BACE Timebank honors the unique gifts, talents and resources that each of us has to share, regardless of age, employment, ethnicity, or other demographic. 

Remember: 

  • The currency is time and everyone's time is equal. 
  • You may not “double”, etc. the time cost because you think your service is superior, etc.
  • If you give an hour-long lesson or class, each attendee gives The Timebank Collective 1 hour, and The Timebank Collective gives you 1 hour plus time spent for preparation.

How to get started

  • Sign up for your free, BACE Timebank account at timebank.sfbace.org
    • Give your real name, a valid email address, and a password. Watch this video.
    • Go to the email address you registered with and click on the confirmation link.
    • Sign in and complete your profile.
    • Consider joining a Timebank group
      • A group is for individuals/organizations with a common interest or location
      • The Forums are a great way to connect with everyone in your group.

Make a Timebank Exchange

  1. Make a request (ask for what you need), make an offer (offer to provide a service or good to someone), or do both.
  2. Check your inbox to your request or offer.
  3. Exchange emails with those who contact you. Let them know if you would like to do an exchange with them. Agree on the terms of how the exchange will occur. Make sure to respond to all who contact you. 
  4. If you received a service or good, 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. If you provided a service or good, they should provide you with your hours earned within 30-60 minutes of the exchange. If you have problems giving or receiving credit, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issue with the other timebanker, then contact support@bace.org.
  • Example 1:  You need help moving a sofa. 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. Create a request for a local green thumb.
  • Example 3:  You have extra pumpkins from your garden. Create an offer with an hour value for your goods.
  • Example 4:  You can help organize a cluttered room. Create an offer with an estimate of the time it will take to complete.

POLICIES 

Please be very conscientious of your communication and transactions. Friendliness, honesty and generosity help foster the kind of community we hope to create together. Your word is everything. Honor it. Trust before suspicion.

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!

 

LIABILITIES, LIMITATIONS, & CONFIDENTIALITY

  • Liability
    • BACE Timebank refers to members who state that they are able to perform services. BACE Timebank cannot guarantee the performance of anyone who is referred, nor will BACE Timebank 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 Timebank work. Additionally, all problems should be brought to the attention of the Timebank Planning Committee, support@bace.org.
    • The BACE Timebank discourages Members from providing timebanking services that directly relate to the same services they provide professionally (i.e., for dollars). Providing, through timebanking, more than introductory services related to your profession may have tax and financial implications to the Timebank and to the Member, and in some professions, providing professional services through the Timebank in any capacity may violate State or Federal law.
  • 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 us at support@bace.org.

REGISTRATION/PROFILE POLICY

  • Use your real name when setting up your profile. We are real people who also get together for potlucks, meetings, events etc. Being real helps us build trust and community. If you have a common first name and you list only your first name, it will be hard to find you in the directory and give you Credit Hours.
  • Select neighborhoods that you spend the most time in; for most that is their residential neighborhood, but for some it may be the neighborhood/city in which they work. You can select more than one neighborhood for your profile.
  • New members are required to attend a one-hour orientation, online or in person, for which they will receive one credit hour (CH).

ACCOUNTING & BALANCE POLICY

  • Individual Exchanges 
    • One hour of service always earns one Credit Hour, and one Credit Hour is always exchangeable for one hour of service
    • Travel time (to and from a service location) is part of the time expense related to an exchange. Prior to the exchanges, Members should discuss ways to credit for time expenses related to the exchange.
    • Preparation/Cleanup time is part of the time expense related to an exchange. Service providers should communicate whether such time expense is included or will be added to their bid for the service.
    • For fractions of Credit Hours, round up to the nearest quarter hour. 
    • Credit Hours are not redeemable for cash.
  • Classes or Group Activities Exchanges
    • Members offering a group activity or class receive one CH for every hour they work or prepare for the class. 
    • Members who attend the activity or class pay one CH for each hour they attend. They pay the CH to The Timebank Collective, where CHs are used for community projects proposed by Members. 
    • The Timebank Collective gives CHs to the teacher(s) of the activity/lesson.
  • Timebank Volunteer Exchanges
    • Members who volunteer for the Timebank or represent the Timebank at an event can receive time for the service provided and, with prior approval from the leadership, be reimbursed (in dollars) for transportation costs. 
  • Account Balance
    • A positive hour balance isn’t required to make a request/accept an offer.
    • The BACE Timebank permits time debt of up to 25 CH/hours. Spending hours of credit that you don't have is OKAY! We operate on a community system of trust, an integral part of time banking. If you have or anticipate a need for a larger "credit limit", please contact us at support@bace.org to discuss your particular situation.

MEMBER RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • While timebanking, 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.
  • While timebanking, every member of BACE Timebank has the responsibility:
    • Maintain an accurate profile.
    • To assess if a service provider has the expertise needed to provide the service you’re requesting with the quality in which you want it done.
    • To pay for any parts, supplies, ingredients, or materials that are used if you are requesting service and to ensure purchasing of parts are part of your original agreement.
    • To be prompt and keep scheduled commitments.
    • To cancel in advance if you’re unable to keep your commitment.
    • If renting, check with the landlord before requesting home repairs. If you’re providing home repairs, you have the right to ask for evidence of approval from the landlord or property manager.
    • Communicate what needs to be done or will be done before a service starts.
    • Have liability insurance and require all people in the car to wear seat belts when using your personal car to transport a member.
    • Respect others' religions, beliefs, political viewpoints, lifestyles, and privacy.
    • Be patient and open.
    • Contact members in advance if you must cancel.
    • To be accepting of guidance and instructions.
    • To respect the privacy and confidentiality of other members.
    • Dial 911 in the event of an emergency and inform us at support@bace.org
    • Contact a Coordinator if your transaction does not meet your expectations.

MEMBER FEES POLICY

Currently membership in BACE Timebank costs no US federal reserve notes (dollars). 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 Timebank Membership 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.

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:

  • Lack of participation
    • If a member has had 0 transactions within 6 months they will be contacted by the leadership. 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.
  • Lack of response to communications
    • If you do not get a response from another member, contact us at support@bace.org
    • After 2 complaints of non responsiveness, a member will be contacted and may be deactivated.
  • Violence, harassment or other disrespectful interactions
    • We rely on YOU to report any inappropriate behavior, be it directed at you or observed by you and can result in de-activation of the account.
  • Fraud, misuse or abuse won’t be tolerated and the member will be removed.

DOs & DON’Ts

  • Do communicate your needs and expectations.
  • Do communicate which city the exchange needs to take place.
  • Do communicate any transportation expectations related to the exchange.
  • Do expect service providers to charge time for service plus transportation time.

                        ————————————————————-

  • Do not provide "hands-on" care that is beyond your training or expertise such as giving medicine, baths, lifting, or cutting nails.
  • Do not timebank your professional skills for which you currently earn dollars.
  • Do not ask for or accept money or time 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.
  • Do not “double”, etc. your service hours because you think your service is superior. One hour of service always earns one Credit Hour, and one Credit Hour is always exchangeable for one hour of service. 

 

Disputes, complaints, misunderstandings and questions should be directed to support@bace.org, or a Mediator of your choice.


Contact Us

In order for us to keep the BACE Timbank running smoothly, we need to know how our member 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.


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.