FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the idea of TimeBank come from?
TimeBank Boulder is part of the global TimeBanking movement, which harkens back to days when community members were more interconnected and neighbors freely helped each other out on a regular basis. From watching someone’s kids for a few hours, to dropping off meals for a sickly neighbor, sharing potluck suppers, and participating in barn raisings, communities used to be full of trades and mutually supportive networks of family and friends. TimeBank Boulder works to reconnect neighbors and build community in a reciprocal network of skills exchanges.
What are Time Dollars?
TimeBank Boulder uses time credits, known as TimeDollars, as a convenient way for members to exchange services. When you spend time doing something for an individual or group, you earn a TimeDollar for every hour you work. Then you can use that TimeDollar to buy an hour of another member’s time, or engage in a group activity offered by a member.
Time Banking can be as simple as a group of moms getting together to share carpooling to their children’s activities. It can also include such services as grocery shopping, child or elder care, dog walking, massage, house keeping, and rides to the airport. The kinds of services people share in a Time Bank depend entirely on what they or their community needs.
In TimeBank Boulder, everyone’s time and skill is equally valued, since one TimeDollar is earned for each hour of time given by a member, whether that member provides computer consulting or house cleaning, lawn mowing or resume writing.
Why is everyone’s time given the same value?
It might seem crazy that someone is paid the same, whether they do website design or pull weeds, but this turns out to be the core of what makes Time Banking work. In a caring economy, everyone’s time is valued equally —just like it is inside a family. You wouldn’t ask your cousin to give you two hours of dog walking for every hour you spend fixing his deck.
Putting a price on people’s time separates us by making some people more valuable than others. Time Banking is based on the idea that as human beings, none of us is inherently more valuable than another. This builds better relationships because it places an equal value on everyone’s time.
TimeDollars aren’t meant to replace standard 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. Time Banks are building a parallel economy, where people take care of each other as communities. We build extended families by geography, not bloodlines.
How are Time Dollars earned?
A TimeDollar is earned for every hour of service given to another TimeBank Boulder member. Each TimeDollar earned is banked for later use. The TimeBank Boulder website uses proprietary software to provide an easy way for members to make TimeDollar exchanges with other members.
Members earn TimeDollars through individual exchanges and also by working together on group projects, such as moving someone, putting up shelves, or even planning a wedding. Members can give joint workshops, share tools, or practice language skills together.
Hours can also be earned through InterTrade, which connects local members to other TimeBanks throughout the world in the hOurworld.org network. One hour of service given here is earned from the member you have helped.
TimeDollars can also be earned by working to benefit the TimeBank Boulder organization by serving on the board of directors or on various committees or teams.
Finally, members can donate their earned Time Dollars to someone else.
Do TimeBank members barter with each other?
Although TimeBank Boulder constitutes no-cash economics, it is not a bartering system, but rather a Time Banking system. Time Banking differs from bartering because:
- Time Banking is based on the currency of time, not money, with one TimeDollar equaling 60 minutes.
- Time Bank exchanges are not generally a one-for-one trade between two individuals, but rather a series of trades among a network of people. In other words, you don’t have to both earn from and spend with the same person.
- Services exchanged are not tied to a specific cash value.
- Exchanges do not represent a contractual agreement, but rather are recognized as a friendly favor.
What services do TimeBank Boulder members offer?
TimeBank Boulder members provide a wide variety of services, such as computer consulting, home repair, career counseling, cooking, gardening, massage, home and pet care, tutoring, music and art instruction, and life and sports coaching.
Each week TimeBank Boulder members receive an email with the new offers and requests members have made since the previous email. Between emails members can go to the website and see new listings or search for something they need or want. Once you are a member, you can log on to the members-only portion of the site and scroll through the offers to read about the individual members who offer those services, find out their backgrounds, and contact them directly to set up an exchange.
How can I meet other TimeBank membes?
The best way to meet other members and put faces to names and skills is to serve on a Team, attend one of our potlucks or other events, join our Board of Directors, and actively exchange with other members on a regular basis.
Tell me about Time Banking special projects in the community. How can I help?
Just call and let us know your interest area. TimeDollar projects are being used in all kinds of ways; elder care, school peer-based tutoring, youth courts, even some medical, housing, and legal costs. In Maine, TimeDollars are even being used to pay community college tuition!
What services could I offer others?
Everyone has unique talents and services that others can use, whether yours are highly technical or routine household chores or transportation. Do not underestimate what you have to offer others!
Here are a few commonly offered services…
Auto repair or consultation
Help starting a business
How often can I exchange services with other members?
As often as you like! We recommend that you try to exchange at least five times a month.
What Time Bank system does the TimeBank Boulder use?
We use hOurworld, a program that allows members to easily go online and see what is being offered or requested, organize exchanges, and track their TimeDollar accounts.
How is member privacy protected?
The information you give to TimeBank Boulder is secure and password-protected. You can restrict your information to the TimeBank Boulder Coordinator only, members of TimeBank Boulder only, or all members of all Time Banks.
What if I don’t have an Internet connection at home?
You or your assigned computer buddy can establish an email address on one of the free Internet services, such as yahoo, hotmail, or gmail. Your computer buddy will check it for you or you can go to your local library and check it yourself.
What makes TimeBank Boulder unique?
TimeBank Boulder is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, a community service organization. It is the only 501(c)(4) Time Bank in the United States. TimeBank Boulder has a network with other nonprofit organizations in the community working to promote social well-being.
How can I participate in the development of TimeBank Boulder?
Members sign up to participate in our Board of Directors, or to work on committees/teams. They can sign up by contacting the chair of any committee (contact information is in each month’s member version of our newsletter).