World Time Banking

We have gone global! The hOurworld team of software developers has just revised their Time & Talents time banking software that West Sound Time Bank uses, to include the capacity to offer and receive services from any of the hOurWolrd family of time banks. This extends our reach to approximately 25,000 members in the U.S. and will soon include the UK.

Under a new agreement with hOurworld, Timebanking UK will shortly be offering the Time & Talents (TnT) time banking software to all of their member time banks. The Lewisham Local Time Bank in the UK has been working with hOurWorld behind the scenes for the past year: testing, advising and helping ready TnT to accommodate European date, phone and address formats.

The hOurworld team is also working with a Drupal Developer and a Timebanks USA Tech Coordinator to create an off-site, third party, platform to support inter-trading between any of the time banking software platforms. This would allow any time bank, using any software, to exchange services. Do you have loved ones on the other coast who could use some help? Soon you'll be able to use your hours to get local help for them!

Welcome to World Time Banking!

A Bit of WSTB's History

Written by time bank member, Bruce W.

It is difficult to believe that it’s already been more than two years since we organized the first meeting of what was to become West Sound Time Bank (WSTB). Initially, there was a core group of about a dozen volunteers that met weekly for a few months, progressing from the philosophical and conceptual strategies to identifying and articulating the specifics. While “Vision and Mission” were juicy topics, considerably more time was spent on pragmatic elements such as liability and financials. Using the experiences and expertise from other Time Banks and the support of Sustainable Bainbridge, WSTB’s web site was launched in January 2012.

Need your trees trimmed? Bruce is your man! 
While the idea of non-monetary exchanges of effort has been the basis of local communities and neighborhoods for millennia, it seems to have waned in the last few decades. Most likely there are a variety of reasons for this change. Possibly it’s the fear being imposed on us by the nightly news or perhaps it’s our more litigious society. Once you think about it however, it really comes down to individual choice. It is Our Choice to interact with and support neighbors. It is My Choice to ask them for support when I need it.

Over the last year and a half I have participated in 11 exchanges with other individuals. Every one of them was both productive and fun. For me, the most important elements were the camaraderie and the making of new friends. Yes, it was nice having assistance watering the yard while on vacation, and yes, having someone help care for our old pooch was a real gift. (And, those rowing lessons were quite fun.) For me, however, the sense of community that I felt from helping someone else is what’s most meaningful and long lasting.

If you haven’t requested a service in a while, just go do it – you’ll be happy you did and you’ll be doing your part to build a more friendly and supportive community (in spite of this era of divisiveness at both the local and national levels).

Ode to WSTB

The people of West Sound Time Bank are my heroes. Sans capes, of course! This is a love letter; or, if you like that kind of thing, an “Ode.” WSTB how do I love thee, let me recount the ways...

Time bankers have helped me in my gardens, moving furniture and teaching me how to make no-knead bread. I've received day lilies and Raspberries. I've even had my parents' seventy-five year old analog recordings converted to digital. Most amazingly of all, a fellow member allowed me to repay a debt with a gift of my hours. And that's just some of my “Asks!” When a recent injury caught up with me, it was time bankers who kept my spirits up and got me to my doctors appointments. Without the help of members who cleaned my house and shopped for me my recovery would have been compromised.

Super Annee! Off on another
important mission for WSTB
Then there's the countless ways I've been allowed to help others! Yep, I have had the great fortune to be a “hero” too. (I keep meaning to have my cape dry cleaned.) I've sat member's dogs. Helped with painting a friend's bedroom, and with moving her household. I've been working with the core group of individuals running West Sound. I've had a hand in pretty much all aspects of our day to day running. From helping to design and distribute our brochures to hosting events and manning our office hour. I've “tabled” and handed out leaflets. Been an “ebuddy” tutoring members in the use of our platform and logging exchanges for them.

Best of all, I've brainstormed solutions and schemes to further our time bank. I feel empowered and powerful. Competent and vital. I get to be “part of the change I want to see!” I'm an introvert and a weirdo. I'm smart, an artist and writer who could theoretically “do anything.” As a result of Mental Illness my successes have been short lived. I simply have not done well in a “9 to 5” setting. Here I am successful. My waxing and waning energy is accepted here. In the Time Bank I have found my tribe.

The folks I've met via West Sound are some of my closest friends. When I discovered Time Banking and other “alternative economies,” I began a journey of healing. Worldwide more and more folks are figuring out new ways to get what they need. And finding they often get what they want. I finally found the acceptance and support we all crave in my West Sound Time Bank family.

With my best wishes,

Eating Hours

This article written by time bank member, Monica A.

Monica & Baby
Doing very well with a little help from the time bank!

(photo by Michael Free)
“Stock your freezer!” Everyone had the same advice when I was pregnant. But no one warned me that grocery stores and cooking would be out of reach; I wasn’t able to stand the sight of food for months, not even the neat colorful boxes on store shelves. (Yes, I often ate with my eyes closed, holding my nose.) So, no cooking for me. I was delighted when I realized that I could use the Time Bank.

I had joined the Time Bank earlier that year. My husband and I were walking down to the ferry on a sunny afternoon, having a pleasant conversation about non-monetary exchange systems, when we stumbled upon some theoretic challenges. We were trying to figure out how to fairly measure work done, effort, skill, demand, etc. For instance, what if two people each paint a fence, but one person does a better job than the other? Should the two people get credited the same, or different amounts? Should the person who owns the brushes get credits, even if she does no work? The time bank cuts through all of that by counting all time as equal: an hour credit for an hour worked. A week later my husband told me there was a time exchange group on the island, and we should go learn about it. While we were learning about the West Sound Time Bank, it occurred to me that this neighborly system would be extremely useful to new parents.

I was hesitant at first, because I would have to get into serious time debt to get started. But people reassured me that debt is required; it takes a balance of people offering services and receiving services to keep the system going. So I posted a request for help with all that freezer stocking I wasn't able to do for myself. To my absolute delight, a professional chef responded. Her healthy meals kept my baby and me going for months.

I have made other fun exchanges: I offered computer assistance in exchange for German conversation lessons (you can squeeze both into one hour if you conduct the computer assistance in German); digitizing bluegrass tapes and family heirlooms using an old cassette player I’d bought at the Rotary auction; giving rides to the beach…

I get a thrill from recording hours and knowing that I’m helping neighbors. And at a certain point, keeping track of hours falls away as friendships flourish.