Frequently Asked Questions
What is a time exchange?At it's most basic level, a time exchange or time bank is simply about spending an hour doing something for somebody in your community. That hour is recorded in the online software as a time credit. You can then use that time credit, or hOUR, to use having someone do something for you. This is not about getting paid for helping your neighbors. It's about leveling the playing field and enabling individuals of all ages, life experiences, and income levels to rediscover their gifts and reinvest in themselves and in their communities. This is about working together to build a stronger, more united community.
Who is involved in the Hour 4 Hour Time Exchange?The Hour 4 Hour Time Exchange ("the Exchange") was started with the inspiration that people in Thurston County would be able to connect in a meaningful way sharing time, skills, talents, and meaningful connections. The people who became involved with the Exchange are those in your neighborhoods and organizations that wish to see a deeper connections and a stronger, more vital community which does not rely as heavily on the money to get things done.
How does the time bank work?Members exchange a variety of skills and talents, including among other things: pet care and computer help. We act as a clearinghouse for neighbor-to-neighbor exchanges. All services are valued at the rate of "an-hour-equals-an-hour" regardless of the service being performed. Members of the time bank receive a time credit (hOURs) for every hour of service they provide another member or the community. Members may then exchange desired services with their time dollars from other members.
How does an exchange work?We use an online community tool called Community Weaver to facilitate and track exchanges of services. Using this tool, you can post offerings and requests to connect with what others are needing and offering in the community. In addition, you can communicate with members from within the software, track your hOURs spent and received, and keep tabs on what is happening in the community.
What is a time dollar?The hOURs you give are a special, tax-exempt form of exchange that anyone can earn using their time, energy, skills, and talents to help others. You earn one hOUR for each hour that you spend providing a service for another Time Exchange member or the Exchange community.
Why is everyone's time given the same value?At first glance, it seems crazy that someone is paid the same for web design and pulling weeds, but this turns out to be the core of what makes time dollars really work. In the "Core Economy", a caring economy, everyone's time is valued equally - just like it is inside a family. You wouldn't ask your cousin to give you two hours of dog walking for every hour you spend fixing his computer.
Putting a price on people's time separates us by making some people more valuable than others. Time credits excel in building relationships because they place an equal value on everyone's time.
Time credits aren't meant to replace standard dollars. They are designed to counterbalance the market economy where people may have invested in special training to make their time more valuable. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just taken over too much of our experience of the world. Almost everything is monetized. We are building a parallel economy where people take care of each other as families. We build extended families by geography, not bloodlines.
How is time banking different from bartering?In the barter system, two people negotiate with one another over the value of the service or goods that they will be trading. In a Time Exchange, there is no negotiating around the value of the service being traded, because the exchange is always based on time, one hour of time equals one hour of time, regardless of the service or skill. And the exchange does not have to be reciprocated directly to the person involved in the initial exchange. In other words, you can give service to one person and receive services from a different person.
Are Time Credits Taxable?No. The IRS has ruled that the service exchange of time credits do not constitute a commercial transaction because there is no monetary value put on the exchange and you will not necessarily give and receive directly with the same person as in a trade.
Can I share my hOURs?Yes. You can always gift your earned hOURs to a member of your family, a friend, or someone in the community who may need help.
I don't have any special skills, can I still participate?Everyone has something special to share within their community! And in time banking, "special" equals "valuable" which in turn means any work, knowledge or skill which supports and nurtures an individual life, the family or the community at large. This would include among other things, all tasks needed in: raising a family, acting as an informed citizen, caring for others, engaging in life-long learning, and sharing your knowledge and life experience with others in the community.
Why are there membership dues and what are they used for?This system is a parallel to the market economy, not a replacement to the market economy. Because of this, there are basic operational costs to be able to function in the market economy. Your dues are used to pay for the online software subscription which helps to facilitate the exchanges within the Exchange community, administrative costs, and security checks. Money left at the end of the year, after all upcoming expenses are considered, will be donated to community organizations or to fund community building events. Members will be given the opportunity to vote on where that money goes.