While the old adage, “money makes the world go round,” may, unfortunately, be true, time banking offers a way to help the world go around a little better.
Time banking is an avenue for exchanging goods and services using a method other than currency. Instead, it uses time, on the principal that everyone’s time holds equal value.
For every hour you spend doing a service for someone in the community, you gain a time dollar. With your time dollar, you now have an hour of time you can use/spend for someone providing a service to you.
In other words, one hour of your time is worth one hour of another’s. Time banking provides a way to get your needs met without money and establish a stronger community at the same time.
One time bank program runs through timebanks.org, a website dedicated to establishing time banks. To participate in a time bank, you must join one established for your community and create a member profile stating your offers and requests. Your offers are things that you can do for others to earn time dollars and requests are things you would like to spend your time dollars on. You do not need to spend your time dollars on the same person you gained them from. Time dollars are electronic and documented after completing your task on your Web profile.
Here is an example:
Suppose Lisa needs someone to watch her toddler, so she posts a request on her profile.
Susan sees the request and has the time. She e-mails Lisa through the website and they arrange for two hours of babysitting. This earns Susan two time dollars, which are recorded on her profile.
Next, Susan wants to learn Spanish, but doesn’t have the money for lessons. She sees that Fred listed Spanish as a skill on his profile, so she contacts him (this time by phone) and sets a date to start. Susan now spends her two time dollars on two hours of Spanish lessons, and Fred gains two time dollars.
Since tasks are not valued monetarily, you can also trade goods as long as you do not make the value equivalent to a real currency.
A partial list of additional sample services includes: business assistance (e.g., accounting, clerical, legal, etc.); education (e.g., arts, computers, fitness, tutoring, etc.); help at home (e.g.,companionship, cooking, handyman work, housekeeping, pet and respite care, sewing, etc.); and transportation (e.g., errands, medical, worship, etc.).
Currently, Pagosa Springs is signed up for a trial time bank as part of the Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS), an Archuleta County nonprofit.
We are in need of 20 individuals to participate in the time bank. If the trial is successful, we may choose to expand to a full-blown and official time bank to link our entire community.
If you are interested in joining this time bank trial, e-mail the coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a more detailed explanation of time banking, go to www.sospagosa.org/#!timebanking.