How many of you were in Denver on Saturday (January 21) for the Women’s March? (About three people raised their hand). How many of you wished you had been there? (Almost everybody in the room raised their hand). Did you know that there were 673 different sister marches in the US and around the world, with approximately 4,800,000 people marching? Yes, almost 5 million people! What’s great is that it was a grassroots movement. It wasn’t organized through CNN or publicized on any of the news channels (except Facebook) in advance – it was all done by individuals reaching out to each other, one at a time. It’s kind of dramatic to have that many people show up for one event, and to do it without thought of remuneration or even free tee-shirts, just to help each other.
I’d like to make a correlation with TimeBanking. TimeBanking is also something that helps the world, but unlike the walk, it doesn’t just happen for one day, but it is ongoing. It keeps right on helping the world day after day after day. It’s not a momentary gathering, but an ongoing, continuous, grassroots movement toward a more just world, a more caring world, a world of equality where people gather to meet each other’s needs. I went online and tried to figure out how many time banks there are around the world. HOurworld has 655, TimeBanks USA lists 200, and there’s a time banking network in the UK with 300. That’s 1,100! And I’m sure that’s not all of them.
HOurworld lists 43, 628 members so, extrapolating that to the other two organizations, maybe we can say at least a million time bank members around the world? Pretty impressive!
So what is Timebanking? It’s a micro-economy that uses time rather than cash as its currency. And it takes making the world a better place as part of its mandate. It does this in three ways.
First, time banking makes more with less by utilizing underused resources. For example, one of my offers is the loan of six folding chairs. Most of the time they sit in my loft, unused. Now, TBB members can borrow them, making an underused resource into a used one – with no outlay of cash by anyone. Other underused resources are groups of people who are ignored, such as elders, individuals who don’t speak the majority language fluently, people with physical or mental disabilities, and others. Time banking empowers these people and many others to contribute and share their abilities. And this grows a culture; a culture of caring.
Second, time banking strengthens social justice. Every hour is worth the same as every other hour, regardless of the service received. This gives people an opportunity to feel valued, regardless of what they contribute.
Third, time banking strengthens community by providing a circle of support. In his book, “Community: The Structure of Belonging,” Peter Block says communities where people know each other are health-building blocks of a strong and just society. It is the coming together with a common purpose, and actually getting toknow other people that creates community, and communities are the solution to most of our planet’s ills.
Let’s look at time banking another way, moving from the big picture to the individual. Each individual who joins a time bank has the opportunity to help themselves while they are helping others. Joining a time bank can strengthen a person’s resilience, creating support for both peaceful and troubled times. If a person belongs to a community, when an asteroid hits the planet, that person has connections and support! Also as part of a time bank, you can learn and practice new skills. If you want to practice some skill that you have learned, before considering marketing it in the cash economy, you can offer it through your time bank. Maybe you take a little longer than someone who’s already an expert, but that may not matter at all to the person receiving your service who is happy to have it in exchange for $TD instead of $USD.
One of the great things about time banking is that the potential is limitless. All it takes is people’s time, of which there is an unlimited supply!
I’d like to take a moment now to explain why we changed our name from SkillShare to TimeBank Boulder. Our marketing, which includes professionals in the traditional and internet marketing worlds. The first thing that happened was a for-profit company usurped the name, and they became big enough that when they hear the word SkillShare, most people now think of that company.
More important than that, however, they pointed out that SkillShare doesn’t really say what we are. We needed to come up with a name that includes the words time bank so people really know what our organization does.
Then they pointed out how important it is to have the word Boulder in our name, so people know we are a local organization. After we had those two words, we realized that we were done.
Just those two words Timebank + Boulder = TimeBank Boulder, a clear name that lets anyone who sees it know who we are, what we do, and where we do it. So that’s why we ditched SkillShare and how we came up with TimeBank Boulder.
Of course, we then needed to rebrand our monthly newsletter. Thanks to those members who submitted name suggestions and those who voted on them we have a new name for our newsletter too: The TimeBank Times.
And, this was the ideal time to update our website, something we’d been wanting to do for a long time. We now have a beautiful, easy to use, simple to update, public website. That’s the place where people can go to find out more about us. It has no connection to the hOurworld website where we go as members to post our offers and requests and record our exchanges. This is our public face – where potential members go to see who we are and decide about joining. And it’s beautiful, as you can see by going to: http://timebankboulder.org/.