How do I join?

Go to our hourworld Join Page https://hourworld.org/bank/Join.php?hw=1139 .

Does it cost to join?

No. Joining the Time Bank is free, HOWEVER, successful time banks typically require administrative support by individual and group members. If you would like to support the time bank, you can make a donation to our nonprofit sponsor, Columbia Resilience, or you can gift your own administrative talents to the Time Bank Working Group.

Do I have to record my hours?

Because 1st TBC is new, it is imperative that you record ALL of your TimeCredits and exchanges. And don’t skimp yourself! In order for our TimeBank to succeed, we need the data to show that we are doing it!

Can a group, organization or merchant join?

Getting “paid” TimeCredits for your work actually helps the entire community even more. Let’s talk reciprocity! Your earning (and spending) TimeCredits might help someone else who is fighting poverty or just wants to give their kids something they might not otherwise be able to provide. Like piano lessons! And, did you know, that even if the group you are volunteering for does not have an account with the TimeBank, you may be able to earn TimeCredits? Email us to find out more!

Can a group, organization or merchant join?

Absolutely, 1st TBC is more than just an individual exchange system, we want to work with churches, schools, libraries, youth groups, neighborhood groups, outreach programs, agricultural projects, municipalities and local merchants.  There are several distinctions in applying that can be discussed with a 1st TBC representative.

What about liability?

Being in a TimeBank is no different than helping your neighbor.  Every member in the TimeBank assumes all responsibility for their exchanges just as you would treat a friend or a neighbor.  Although homeowners insurance protects members, some TimeBanks have volunteer liability insurance to cover problems that can occur during a service exchange.  However, in the decades that timebanking has been around, no claims have ever been filed against it. Timebanking is based on trust and reciprocity.

Do I have to have a computer to be in 1st TBC?

No, you do not.  1st TBC will pair you up with another member who can help you record your hours online.  In addition, when you write your offer or request, you can state that the member who wishes to exchange with you call you on the telephone instead of emailing.  We suggest, however, that a routine check of the software be done in order to stay in touch with recent offers and requests that are posted.  Columbia has several places where free computer use is available.

What if a member performs a service that I am not happy with?

It is important that you let your coordinators know if this happens.  We have a log and will handle complaints if necessary.  Similarly, if a member is not respectful, on time, or unreachable, we need to know.  These matters are handled respectfully and privately.  When we have 1000 members, however, you’ll find yourself “shopping” on the TimeBank and small problems will get naturally weeded out.

What’s to keep a member from being dishonest with their TimeCredits?

Our coordinator is made aware of every single transaction that takes place.  While it seems unfathomable that our neighbors would attempt to take advantage, it would be nearly impossible as both the giver and the receiver are notified of the transaction as well.

What happens when a member’s balance goes in the negative?

1st Time Bank of Columbia (1st TBC) honors those with needs just as we honor those who give.  By receiving TimeCredits, a member is contributing to the entire system of exchange equally as much as a member who earns a lot of TimeCredits.  It always works out with timebanking.  For those who still have a hard time feeling unrest with a negative balance, other members often donate TimeCredits to those who need them.  In addition, your TimeBank account can only be seen by you and your coordinators.  We want you to use the TimeBank.  We challenge you to go in the negative! 😉

Are there units smaller than one hour, or one TimeBank hour?

yes, you can record units as small as 1/4 TimeCredit or 1/4 hour. And we always round up!

Are TimeCredits taxable?

No. TimeBank hours have been ruled tax exempt on two occasions by the IRS because an hour is always valued at one hour. There is no legal responsibility on anyone’s part to redeem a TimeCredit, it is considered a “non-commercial agreement” and the purpose of TimeCredits is charitable.

So, I can sell goods/products on the TimeBank?

Sure you can. Typically, you might sell something for TimeCredits that is equal to the amount of time that was spent making it. Sometimes, that’s hard to do so you might set a price that feels appropriate. For example, I can sell my used working laptop for 20 TimeCredits but if no one is willing to pay that much, I might drop it down to 15 TimeCredits.

How many dollars is a Time Credit worth? Does a TimeBank hour have a monetary value?

No, a TimeCredit never has a monetary value. TimeCredits just track services (and sometimes goods) people provide for each other.

Who records the TimeCredits?

Either member can record the exchange. Just agree before or after the transaction. Each member will receive an email notification of the transaction.

What are TimeCredits (some people call them Time Dollars)?

TimeCredits represent the amount of time one TimeBank member has spent helping other members. When you spend an hour helping another TimeBank member, one Time Credit gets added to your account and subtracted from the account of the member who received your service. You can record half- and quarter-hours too. TimeCredits can be exchanged at the one TimeCredit per hour rate for anything being offered by someone in the network, provided the person is willing and available.

What if I don’t have time to join a TimeBank?

None of us want to add one more thing to our busy lives.  The beauty of timebanking is that it will free you up to do the things you enjoy doing!  You might ask yourself, what is it that you are doing that makes you so busy?  Is it possible that another member of the community could help you with your least favorite tasks?  In addition, 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?

Can a member combine cash and Time Credit fees for services?

Absolutely!  As long as that member is clear when he or she writes their ads on the software.  While you can’t give a cash value to the TimeCredits, you can easily split the fees.  For example, if I estimate it will take me 4 hours to paint your living room, I might charge you 2 hours cash for my labor PLUS 2 Time Credits.  What’s nice about this, is that maybe your neighbor will notice my great painting skills and want to hire me for a cash job.  This has happened.  We are actually creating jobs.

Who pays for material costs in an exchange?

Great question!  The receiver of the exchange pays for all materials used by the provider, if there are materials.  It is important that this is discussed before the transaction takes place.  For example, if I give Kristina a ride to the airport, she pays me TimeCredits for my time and gas money.

What if I don’t want to offer the skills that I have to do every day?

Even though you are probably great at your day job, you very likely have other skills, talents and passions that you’re willing to share. There are literally thousands of ways to earn TimeCredits in the TimeBank. You might also consider sharing your profession only on a limited basis.

What if I feel like I don’t have anything to offer?

You would be surprised at how many people share this feeling. We all have something to offer. If you can offer a kind word or make a phone call or can drive one person to the store, you have an asset. Furthermore, do you have a hobby? Do you have a passion? If so, you have something to offer. One does not need to be a “professional” to provide services on the Time Bank.

How is everyone’s time given the same value?

At first glance, it seems crazy that the physician’s time is equal to the dog walker’s time but that is exactly what is at the core of timebanking. Timebanking is not meant to replace real dollars. At a time of economic uncertainty, however, a program like timebanking remembers community. Timebanking creates a “caring community” where everyone’s time is valued equally. Timebanking becomes the extended family that members choose to honor and respect equally, regardless of their income or training in certain areas.