A time bank is a form of community currency that is based on time rather than dollars. Requests (withdrawals) are made from a large selection of available services offered by members. All hours are valued equally and earned and withdrawn on an hour-for-hour basis. With neighbors helping neighbors, we all help to build a stronger, more connected community.
"Ya know, I didn't realize just how much people have gotten away from helping people until I joined Timebank, it's almost as if helping people has been deleted from our thinking. Timebank is like bringing out and bringing back the good in people, a reminder that it is not all about us, it is indeed about helping others, serving others and our community."
--Anonymous Time Bank Fan
Why be part of a time bank?
- Equality: Your time has the same worth as anyone else’s. Everyone has truly human resources that are embedded in their everyday lives – time, energy, wisdom, experience, knowledge and skills. All are valuable and valued at the same level.
- Reciprocity: Each of us has something valuable to contribute, and each of us has occasion to need or want help.
- Connection: Each offer of-and request for-time is an opportunity to meet and get to know others in your community on a personal level. This is about neighbors helping neighbors.
- Caring: Each interaction helps to build the type of community we need to raise our children, care for our elders, nurture our families.
- Value: A time bank can keep needed help affordable – especially valuable in a time when many of us are struggling financially.
How time banks workOne hour of your time equals one hour of anyone else's time. All hours are recorded on a web-based accounting system: like a bank account using hours instead of dollars! When you need a service (leaves raked, babysitting, advice on buying a car) you consult the time bank directory for persons who provide that service. You make an agreement with your chosen provider. That service provider earns (deposits) hour credits in the communal time bank and the same number of hours are deducted (withdrawn) from your account.
You are also a provider of services. You start by posting a list of services on-line that you can perform for others (for example: tax preparation, computer repair, yoga). When you provide a service to another time bank participant, you earn hours that are deposited in your time bank account.
Services you give or receive through the time bank are not taxable. The IRS has not shown interest in taxing time bank activities as income. (Here's a copy of the IRS's informal rulings: PDF)
Time banking increases connection to your community. Beyond the work we do for each other, our aim is to know and support one another. We have fun together and reach out to one another as part of meeting and working together.
More information about time banks
- Here's a great YouTube video: A Declaration of Interdependence
- An article in the Bainbridge Review and another one in Kitsap Sun about West Sound Time Bank.
- An article about Time Banks in AARP magazine.
- A YouTube video (an excerpt from Fixing the Future) about Hour Exchange Portland
- Hour Exchange Portland, in Maine, has a few videos and a list of other resources.
- Wikipedia's definition of time banks
- Money Soup, an easily understandable explanation of how time banks fit into tax and business law.