Timebanks are an easy (and free!) way to increase your community’s wealth. Need someone to walk your dog or fix your sink?...
Timebanks are an easy (and free!) way to increase your community’s wealth. Need someone to walk your dog or fix your sink? Have some extra time to teach French? Timebanking provides a structure for the kind of sharing and exchange that already happens in communities and is a fantastic way to leverage the skills the larger economy doesn’t always value– it closes the gap between unmet needs and unmet resources. “In a time bank, everyone’s time is valued in the same way,” says Autumn Rooney, one of the organizers of the Echo Park Time Bank in Los Angeles.
Ready to start your own? Jen Moore of Timebanking USA guided us through the essentials of making a timebank work…
1. Share the load. Building a core team will not only help lighten the load, it will help foster a sense of ownership and commitment. “TimeBanks that spread out leadership responsibilities among many members live longer and grow more sustainably,” says Moore. And be sure everyone in your group is in it for the long haul, or at least long enough to build the momentum and recruit a core group.
2. Be patient. Timebanks require a special alchemy of people, time, and energy. In some cases this happens in days and in other cases months. If folks are slow to catch on, think about how you to introduce the concept in a fun and easily digestable format.
3. Communicate often. Create a platform for easy communication so that interested parties and stakeholders can stay abreast and observe before joining. A website or blog will provide a home base and give your group an identity. And make sure you know how to throw a party. “You should be a people person,” says Rooney. Offline, in person meetings are essential to building trust, camradery and to introduce new members to the community.
4. Build your community. Schedule meet-ups, service projects, workshops and potlucks to create opportunities for people to get to know each other. “TimeBanking is about building community,” says Moore.
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