What is TimeBanking?

face clock tbanz

TimeBanking creates circles of giving. TimeBanking is a way of trading skills in a community. It facilitates the sharing of skills between its members, both individuals and organisations. TimeBanking activity is measured by the time it takes to complete a piece of work. It's a kind of money, a complimentary currency. TimeBanking builds on the magic of pay it forward.

Time Credits are used as payment, not money.  You earn time credits for the work you do, and then use those credits to 'buy' another member's time to get the services you need. Any member of the TimeBank, not necessarily the member you helped. The member you kindly assisted may not have the skills that you need.

Everyone's Time is Equal - no matter what type of work is undertaken, one hour always equals one time credit. 1 = 1. It really is that simple.

Equally valued - we all have something to offer. Every person and Every skill is equally valued. 


 The Five Core Values of TimeBanking

no more throw away peopleTimeBanking creates and promotes well-being, helping communities flourish and thrive. 

Dr. Edgar S. Cahn is the founder of modern TimeBanking. He noticed that successful TimeBanks almost always work with some specific core values in place. In his book No More Throw-Away People, he listed four values. Later, he added a fifth. These have come to be widely shared as the five core values of timebanking – and most TimeBanks strive to follow them. They are a strong starting point for successful timebanking.

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 honour that work.

Reciprocity - Helping that works as a two-way street empowers everyone involved – the receiver as well as the giver. 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.

Social Networks - Helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built by sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. By using timebanking, we can strengthen and support these activities.

Respect - Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. We strive to respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.

Go Deeper Here with our TimeBank USA FriendsTimeBanking Philosophies - the principles that hold our society together. 


Who Can Use TimeBanking?

Everyone can use TimeBanking i.e. individuals, groups and organisations, not-for-profits and businesses alike. How TimeBanking can be used is only limited to our imagination. Many TimeBanks in New Zealand work with community groups and not-for-profits.

Some TimeBanks are now (2016) starting to explore working creatively with Council and local businesses. Keep an eye on our resources page for progress on these initiatives as they unfold and develop. 

In some places around the world people and organisations are approaching TimeBanking as an opportunity to design targeted uses of TimeBanking to achieve specific goals. Immediately after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 & 2011 the Lyttelton Harbour TimeBank was approached to assist emergency services in co ordinating the community. The TimeBank played a major role during the emergency phase and then continued this work during the ongoing recovery phase.

It is important to remember that in TimeBanking, both receiving and giving have equal weight. People cannot give if others will not recieve - the two are bound up together. And mutual value is found through both. 

trading circle


TimeBanking Software

Online TimeBanking software is used by most TimeBanks. Members can add & view offers and requests, record their hours, receive broadcasts and alerts from their TimeBank Co ordinator and keep abreast of TimeBanking events. There are various software packages available. The majority of TimeBanks in New Zealand do use Community Weaver3. Some use Community Forge and a few use hOurworld

The cost of using software can be a problem - particularly for new timebanks or timebanks who lose the funding.  Otaki Timebank shifted their operation onto Facebook and say that they have had much more participation since they stopped using community weaver.  The advantage of using Facebook is that many members are online anyway and they don't need to specially log into see what is happening in the TimeBank group. The have both a page which provides publicity and information and a and a closed group is where the trading happens.  

What about members that are not computer savvy? This is where the TimeBank Co ordinator can step in and manage non savvy computer members' accounts.