Time Banking Frequently Asked Questions
What are Hours in a Time Bank?
TimeBank Hours represent the amount of time one TimeBank member has spent helping other members. When you spend an hour helping another TimeBank member, one TimeBank Hour gets added to your account and subtracted from the account of the member who received your service. You can record half- and quarter-hours too (we always round up). TimeBank Hours can be exchanged at the one TimeBank Hour per hour rate for anything being offered by someone in the network, provided the person is willing and available.
How many dollars is a TimeBank Hour worth? Does a TimeBank Hour have a monetary value?
No, a TimeBank Hour never has a monetary value. TimeBank Hours just track services (and sometimes goods) people provide for each other.
Hours are the medium of exchange among Time Bank members. When you spend an hour helping another Time Bank member, one Hour gets added to their Time and Talents account, and is subtracted from the account of the member who received your service.
Each Hour represents one hour of service. Hours spent represent services received from the Time Bank community; Hours received represent services provided to the community.
What services can I get?
Potentially, anything and everything! And if there is a service that you need, but there’s not a member that offers it, find a person that offers it and tell them about our group. Invite them to join. This is the hidden potential of Hudson and the Hudson Area. We live in one of the most trade-skills diverse areas in the country! From plumbers to lawyers, to yoga teachers, Hudson community and neighboring communities has a lot of potential. Recruit that skill, and the next skill provider, and the next one. This will enrich your service menu for everyone!
What if I feel like I have nothing to offer?
You would be surprised at how many people share this feeling. We all have something to offer. We are all assets. Simple, everyday activities are the majority of what is exchanged in the TimeBank. From a ride to the doctor, to help in the garden, to tutoring or cooking meals, The Hudson Area TimeBank provides a community space to tap this hidden community wealth. Furthermore, do you have a hobby? A passion? That is something to offer too. Every human being has something of value to contribute. Even members who are homebound have even earned hours by offering the service of prayer or telling funny stories. One does not need to be a “professional” with specific skills to be in the Hudson Area TimeBank. We recognize that the world takes all kinds of people, and all kinds of knowledge. Many people have talents that they do not even realize, skills they may take for granted that someone else may wish to utilize. We empower people to grow their abilities and learn new skills, to stop limiting ourselves by thinking of what we can’t, and to imagine the possibilities of what we can accomplish together.
Do I have to live in Hudson to join?
No, you don't. You can join if you live in Columbia County or even if you live in a different county but spend enough time in Columbia County to earn and spend TimeBank Hous here. If you live far from other members your exchanges might start slowly, but we are adding members all the time. And you can help AND earn TimeBank Hours by hosting a house party to recruit your neighbors!
How much does it cost to be a member?
Nothing! Membership is absolutely free!
What if I don’t have Internet access?
There computer terminals in the Hudson area that you can access. For example, The Hudson Area Library. We can also team you with a helper.
Can I hold a small group class?
Yes, you can. This is a great way to share skills with other TimeBank members. The teacher should receive as many time credits as the time spent on the class and in preparing and cleanup. Each student should give the amount of time they spent in the class.
The balance goes into the Community Fund to create community wealth.
This is done a little differently than regular exchanges, and we will help you with recording hours.
Is there a minimum age requirement in Hudson Area TimeBank?
No– TimeBanking is inclusive of everyone– young and old, everyone has something to offer. Youth can offer services for navigating the computer and internet, yard care, pet sitting, crafting, volunteer projects, and more.
So can businesses can join? "Professional" people? You know – lawyers and therapists, etc.?
Of course. There is room for everyone to feel equal . . . give equally . . . receive equally. Exchanging is wonderful because it lets fall away the hierarchy of classist thinking. The beautiful garden I planted for the doctor is equal to the doctor's examination of my skin disorder. We are each offering something of value to the other person; thus, we are valued equally.
Recognizing the need for the “money economy”, many professionals choose to allocate a certain percentage of their time – for instance, 10% – to TimeBank exchanges.
Is this economy a threat to the cash economy?
No. Why should it be? It's a complementary currency. Many businesses see the value in becoming Exchange members. They get amazing marketing benefits, loyal customers and can save cash dollars in starting or supporting their operation. We're not competing, we're cooperating!
Can Non-Profit Organizations join too?
Indeed. There are benefits for both the organization and the community. Please see the information under “Not for Profit Organizations”.
Can I exchange products, or goods, in addition to services?
Yes, some members exchange things like muffins, artwork, etc. In most cases the hours exchanged should be the amount of time it took to make the product. In cases where this is not applicable, members can work out an arrangement they both agree on. Material costs are paid separately.
Are all services at the Time Bank treated equally?
Yes! This is the heart of the Time Bank service as we try to build a caring local economy. All Time Bank hours are equal – lawyer and house cleaner alike. At the heart of every time exchange is equality.
Why? Because the underlying philosophy is that all human beings have equal value and everyone has something to offer. Just like a family, everyone’s time is valued equally. You wouldn’t ask your cousin to give you two hours of dog walking for every hour you spend fixing his deck.
Time Banking is based on the idea that as human beings, none of us are inherently more valuable than another. This builds better relationships because it places an equal value on everyone’s time. This is, also, the heart of promoting mutual respect in the community. Everyone matters. Through reciprocity we respect ourselves and each other. No one is above another and no one is a burden, we are all givers and receivers, teachers and students.
Isn’t this just another kind of bartering?
No. In Time Banking, you don’t need to decide how you’re going to work out an equitable trade with an individual. Instead, you perform the service – and bank the hour(s). Then, you decide how and when to spend your hours with any other member of the Time Bank. So rather than bartering, which is between two people, it is more like a network of people exchanging with each other and it does not necessarily have to be between two of same people. Additionally, unlike bartering, It is not tied to a cash value, but on currency of time, so every time credit Hour ( = 60 minutes) is treated equally. This is why economists are baffled by this kind of exchange and while the IRS considers this the exchanging of favors, so it not taxable.
Wait, why is Time Banking not taxable?
Time Banking has been ruled as tax exempt by the IRS because every Hour is always valued at one hour. There is no legal responsibility on anyone's part to redeem a TimeBank Hour, and the purpose of TimeBank Hours is charitable. Read the IRS rulings here.
But isn’t it a contractual agreement?
It is not a contractual agreement. The Hours you earn are backed only by moral obligation and are not legally binding. The Time Bank cannot guarantee that you will be able to spend the Hours you have earned getting the services you want. We are a service network, helping each other based on trust. We believe we can all get what we need if we share our time and talents.
Does the Time Bank vet members or do background checks?
No. The Time Bank strongly encourages users to do their own vetting and research into other members qualifications – as you would in any exchange outside the Time Bank. Members are encouraged to ask for appropriate licenses, references, or perform background checks as needed.
Does the time bank provide criminal history checks?
The answer is no. There are various types of services, such as childcare, that might indicate the wisdom of criminal history background checks. However, doing this is the responsibility of the members and not the TimeBank’s.
Does the time bank provide liability insurance for service providers?
Again, the answer is no. If you think that the service you are requesting requires the provider to carry insurance (home construction for example), you’ll have to arrange that separately. However, this is something we are very seriously considering as we expand our operations this year.
What protections are in place to help cover the time bank from liability claims?
Members sign a waiver upon logging in agreeing to hold the exchange and hOurworld harmless of any and all injury to property or person.