Starting a TimeBank is an exciting process, but requires a lot of thought, planning, commitment, and solid hard work.
TimeBanking is organic and free-flowing. Successful TimeBanks also have well-defined structure. Timebanks share the same core principles and practices, and at the same time are each one is unique because they reflect the communities that create them. To help you and your community create a new TimeBank we have made a list of the typical steps that new TimeBanks find helpful. We suggest, that you can use the list below in different ways.
- Use this list to get a quick overview of the journey to start up a new TimeBank.
- Use this list to dig in deeper. For each of the items lists you will find someone in the network of TimeBanks wo is willing to share form their experiences or who has created a useful resource about it. In the Get Connected page (still under re-construction), we will help you find your way to the resources that will work best for you.
- Use this as a check-list. Review it to affirm what you have accomplished or to note what goals you are still working towards.
Creating and maintaining a TimeBank is an on-going process and works best if there is a lot of team work, and even better if it grows as a community. These steps are a starting point. You will want to shape them to your own unique style, and as you go about making decisions and putting the elements of your TimeBank in place, you will find its own unique character emerging.
Creating Your TimeBank
1. Beginning the journey:
- What’s your passion? — How will your TimeBank relate to that?
- Who will help and support?
- Who do you see joining when it’s up and running?
- Who will you ask to join the start-up team?
2. Imagine the possibilities with your partner or team:
- Learn more about TimeBanking
- Contact existing TimeBanks through the TBUSA online directory, Facebook, etc.
- Consult TBUSA how-to materials.
- Brainstorm with friends and supporters.
- Share the ideas and get feedback.
- Enjoy the dreaming! (This is a really important process.)
3. Create a “make it happen” group of champions
- Get buy-in from those who will help your TmeBanks succeed.
- Determine who will take on needed roles.
- Create an action plan for first steps, including outreach for TB members.
- Plan out possible costs and income sources (however small).
- Write up policies and procedures (can be informal).
- Learn what on-line software can do for you – Community Weaver Demo site.
- Plan your use of traditional or online social media.
- Decide when you’re ready for real time.
4. You’re in real time now: Making it happen.
- Create a flyer or brochure for members.
- Start the outreach (go to local meetings, knock on doors, talk to friends, neighbors — all of that.)
- Prepare a members’ handbook and orientation materials. (you can borrow from other TimeBanks)
- Make a web site.
- Get access to a TimeBank software, and prepare it for your new TImebank.
- Set up your traditional and/or online social media.
- Send out invitations to your first gathering.
- Make sure that the finances and admin are sorted out and will be taken care of.
- Perhaps start a newsletter.
5. Go public, hold your first meetings
- Start with a TB launch event, hand out information, flyers, newsletters.
- Sign up your first new members.
- Hold an orientation for new members.
- Are you good to go with handling the money and admin?
- Begin exchanging at the orientations and other events.
6. As it begins
- Help members set up offers and requests.
- Set up/celebrate the first exchanges.
- Hold regular orientations for new members.
- Plan for regular events for members (potlucks, group exchanges.)
- Seek out opportunities for targeted group activities.
- Watch that you’re TimeBank is good with handling the money and admin.
- Celebrate as you go.
7. Keep Going and Growing:
- Keep true to the core values: Assets, Redefining work, Reciprocity, Community, Respect.
- Keep those core values ever in mind — we can’t stress this enough.
- Find, nurture and support your champions inside and out.
- Strive for your TimeBank to be leaderful, and truly owned by its members.
- Take care of the money and admin. (Yes, it will always be there…..)
- Remember that your TimeBank will become a source of hope, comfort and community in this challenging day and age.
So there you have it! It’s a lot of work. Start where you are. Look for others who will join you on this journey. Build a team to spread the work load and to envision the future together.
Know, going in, that this is more than the proverbial walk in the park. It’s an exciting, sometimes challenging journey.
And while not everyone makes it to their chosen destination — an up and running TimeBank – the journey itself, if done in the right spirit, will be meaningful and rich. You can increase the chances of success by thinking forward each step of the way, being aware ahead of time of what it will take, and keeping your dream in mind.
Every person and team that has hung in there through the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, finds that this is an amazing journey of exploration and growth. And,without fail, they find that it brought a new richness to their lives.
TimeBank USA Affiliates
TimeBank USA affiliate TimeBanks are members of the TimeBank USA network. While there is no formal membership, we do invite TimeBanks in the network to contribute to the learning of others. TimeBank USA holds regular calls for TimeBank leaders to share their knowledge, and works with TimeBank leaders nationwide and internationally to expand the practice of TimeBanking.
We provide Community Weaver software, an open source software that TimeBanks can use to support and keep track of their membership and member activities (offers, requests, exchanges and hours exchanged).
To learn more about Community Weaver the online TimeBank software and to request that we set it up for your TimeBank, please click here.