Louisville TimeBank Frequently Asked Questions
What is TimeBanking?
There are hundreds of TimeBanks around the world. TimeBanking is based on the belief that our communities work better when all of our contributions are valued. It rejects the notion that we belong in separate classes of “givers” and “receivers” and establishes a way to reward all types of work — caring for our children, elders, and others who need it, building community, taking care of the planet, and helping out our neighbors.
TimeBanking is about spending an hour doing something for someone in your community. You could help or receive help with many types of things, e.g., weeding the garden, painting, sewing, transportation, art or music lessons, childcare. That hour is counted as a Time Credit that you can spend on having someone in the network do something for you. There are no special skills or talents required, just your time. Here in Louisville, KY once you become a member you may look up TimeBank services on our website. You earn Time Credits for each service you perform. Instead of members “owing” the one person who helped them individually, we can choose to give and receive from the many talents and skills of all the members.
TimeBanking connects you to the best in people because it creates a system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources. It provides ways for us all to contribute and benefit, and helps to reweave our communities. It is a tool to help us recognize the gifts and the needs within our own neighborhoods.
Beyond just the services that are exchanged, Timebanks build community connection, and for many the TimeBank community becomes a strong support network for the members.
What types of services are available?
The services that are provided are dependent upon what our members are willing to share with each other, and therefore vary as new members join us and the availability of our members. That said, there is a wide range of offers of different types of services on a regular basis.
You can see the types of offers that are posted right now in the TimeBank here– they change depending on member availability and new members joining.
Why does the Louisville TimeBank need member dues if they are a non profit and a TimeBank?
We have operational costs, which include things like criminal background checks, internet, TimeBanking software access, website fees, printing, liability insurance, volunteer insurance, postage, rent for our potluck and office space, etc. Also, the Louisville TimeBank would like to grow and provide new programs and opportunities for our members, which requires funding. If you have any further questions or concerns about this, please contact the coordinators about this. Initial member dues are $25 for an individual and $40 for a 2 adult household. Your under 18 year old children are included in either membership.
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.
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. Simple, everyday activities are the majority of what is exchanged in the TimeBank. Furthermore, do you have a hobby? A passion? That is something to offer too. One does not need to be a “professional” with specific skills to be in the TimeBank.
What about safety?
All Louisville TimeBank applicants are screened. The Louisville TimeBank does a national criminal background check. Individuals with criminal records are not necessarily excluded from the TimeBank, but depending on the offense, may be limited to certain types of participation such as group events and supervised activities. To protect the safety of our members, we err on the side of caution, and if there is any question about a member posing a threat to the safety of other members, that person will not be given access to the on-line listings of names and addresses and will only work under supervision. Not everyone is guaranteed a TimeBank membership, but The Louisville TimeBank strives to accommodate as many people with as many different backgrounds as possible.
Can someone’s account balance be negative?
We have a ten hour negative hour limit for individuals and a 20 hour negative limit for households. We encourage members to always be earning enough hours for what they want to spend them on. In special cases, if someone has a need, such as a sickness or emergency, they may contact the coordinator to extend their limit. Sometimes hours are donated in this case as well.
What if I feel uncomfortable about someone I’m exchanging with?
We strongly believe in safety first. We like to think of The Louisville TimeBank as a community of trust, and problems rarely arise, but of course many exchanges are with people you’ve never met. If anything goes wrong or feels strange during an exchange report it to the coordinator so we can be aware of it. If you feel uncomfortable during an exchange, or when you first meet the person, trust your instincts and tell them you’d rather not do the exchange after all. If they complain about having made plans, tell them they will still earn the hours agreed upon. Then report the incident to the coordinator. Don’t hesitate to back out of you are feeling apprehensive about any part of the interaction – better safe than sorry and we will understand.
What is a Time Credit?
A time credit is equal to one hour of service. After the first hour is complete, time credits may be counted in quarter hours from there on. In the event that a service lasts less than an hour, for record keeping, one entire time credit will be credited.
How do I earn or spend Time Credit?
To earn time credit you must do an hour of service for another Louisville Timebank member or member organization. To spend a time credit, you must have a Louisville Timebank member complete an hour of service for you.
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 preparing it. Each student should give the amount of time they spent in the class. This is done a little differently than regular exchanges, and we will help you with recording hours.
What about hard costs like gas, ingredients, or materials?
Things that cost real money like gas for rides, ingredients for cooking, etc., should be paid by for the person receiving the service. Whether you buy the materials up front or pay the service provided back is up to the two of you. If you both agree, it’s also possible to add an extra time credit in exchange for the materials, but the default is to pay cash.
Is there a minimum age requirement in The Louisville 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.
Do I have to live in Louisville to be part of The Louisville TimeBank?
No. We service Louisville, Southern Indiana, and all surrounding areas. We even have a member who is in California who will be moving back home to Louisville in 6 months. She does services via the internet.
Can I give Time Credits to someone else? Yes. If you are aware of a need that member has to receive a service, but they are unable to earn time dollars themselves, you may donate time credits to them. Contact a coordinator on how to do this.
I need urgent help. Can I count on the TimeBank?
Maybe. The Louisville TimeBank is not here to provide emergency services, but depending on the service, our members may still be able to help. Ask the Coordinator to send an Alert. It is always best to give as much notice as possible when requesting a service.
I need a service that requires tools. Who is responsible for providing these?
The person requesting the service is responsible for providing all necessary materials. Always check with the member providing the service to confirm what is needed.
Should I tip a member for good service?
No. Rather than give a tip, “pay it forward” instead by giving excellent service to another member!
Do I have to report my service exchanges to the IRS?
No. All of the services that you exchange through the Timebank are not taxable. Click the link below for more information.
TimeBanking Tax Document
What’s the difference between TimeBanking and bartering?
TimeBanking is not bartering because:
• It is not tied to a cash value
• It is based on the currency of time, so one Time Credit = 60 minutes.
• It is not generally an exchange, like barter, between two people, but between a network of people. You may not earn and spend with the same person. You might, but you might not. It is not a contractual agreement, but recognized as a friendly favor.
The Louisville TimeBank is a member of hOurworld, an umbrella organization that provides tools, software, and support for TimeBanks worldwide.
Want to Know More?
Videos about TimeBanking