pocket watch on money

Timebanking is an alternative money system that bases its value on units of time rather than on goods or cash.

Basically, a member gives one hour of service to another and receives an hour in return.

There are a few general principles you should keep in mind when starting a time bank:

  • People. Your time bank will not function without the commitment and input of its members. Time banks are ultimately social tools that can promote cohesion among their members.
  • Involvement. Your time bank will not function properly if members don’t understand they need to reciprocate the help they get by giving bay to their community.
  • Recognition and respect. Each member of the time bank is an asset, and every person’s skills should be considered valuable.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things by trying to value different skills differently. Every person’s skill set is valued equally by assigning 1-time credit for every hour given.

Time banks are wonderful ways to recognise that not all types of services can be measured in the traditional monetary way.

Did you know? The first time bank emerged in Japan in 1973. There are now over 800 time banks across 34 countries.

Steps to get started establishing a time bank:

  1. Reach out to your community to establish a core team of people who want to set up and start being involved in a time bank.
  2. Encourage the team to think about what parts of the operation they are most passionate about.
  3. Together, learn more about time banking. There’s plenty of information available online.
  4. Establish your blueprint for how the time bank will work, and start to promote the idea to your network. Approach your coordinator to talk at a monthly VFF meeting, or create a flyer for new members to see what the time bank is all about. You could also use social media to promote the venture.
  5. Make sure you keep good records of your progress so you can continually assess what is and what isn’t working. Ask for regular feedback from members to ensure they continue to buy in and support your venture.

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