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Timebanking Basics

Timebanking is a time-based currency. Give one hour of service to another, and receive one time credit. You can use the credits in turn to receive services — or you can donate them to others.

An hour of service is always one time credit regardless of the nature of the service performed.

One Hour = One Credit

It helps to remember that the one=one rule is rooted deep in the idea that regardless of whether we value what we do in different ways, we share a fundamental equality as human beings.

A Complementary Currency

The focus of Timebanking is on our value as human beings. It seeks to connect us through the relationships we create through giving and receiving. It operates in this way as a complement to the money-dominated world we inhabit.

Designed to increase our individual and community well-being, Timebanking takes place through exchanges by members as they give and receive services to each other, or through group and community activities and projects. Members can include individuals, groups and organizations. 

TimeBanking Software

TimeBanks vary in size from as few as 20 people to tens of thousands.  Most (but not all) TimeBanks use TimeBanking software, which members use to see what’s on offer by other members, and keep track of their own activity.  For a listing of TimeBanks that use Community Weaver, provided by TimeBanks.Org click on the TimeBank Directory.

For software that is oriented to international exchanges, and uses TimeCoins, go to TimeRepublik.

Because of the different kinds of TimeBanking software, we cannot know precisely how widespread TimeBanking is, but in the United States we can guesstimate there are around 30,000 – 40,000 people doing TimeBanking.

The Five Core Values of TimeBanking

In his  book No More Throw-Away People, Edgar Cahn listed four values that stand at the heart of successful timebanking and have stood the test of time.  Later, he added a fifth. 

Asset Every one of us has something of value to share with someone else.

Redefining Work There are some forms of work that money will not easily pay for, like building strong families, revitalizing neighborhoods, making democracy work, advancing social justice. Time credits were designed to reward, recognize and honor that work.

Reciprocity  The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “Will you help someone too?”  Paying it forward ensures that, together, we help each other build the world we all will live in.

Community/Social Networks Helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built by sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. 

Respect  The heart and soul of democracy lies in respect for others. We strive to respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.