Who can join?
Everyone! Our membership is open to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.If you feel you live close enough to be involved you are welcome to join. We are focusing on building membership in Lansing and East Lansing, Meridian Township first. If you live far from other members your exchanges might start slowly. But we are adding new members all the time. And you can help (and earn Time Dollars!) by inviting your friends, or hosting a house party to recruit your neighbors!
What is a Time Dollar?
Time Dollars represent the amount of time one TimeBank member has spent helping other members. When you spend an hour helping another TimeBank member, one Time Dollar 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. Time Dollars can be exchanged at the one Time Dollar per hour rate for anything being offered by someone in the network, provided the person is willing and available.
How much money is a Time Dollar worth in U.S. Dollars?
A Time Dollar has no equivalent value in US currency, because its value varies so widely. This also means its not subject to inflation. You can trade it for a lawn mowing, a discount at a store, or an hour with a lawyer. Its a currency that's made for the wealth of community health.
Are Time Dollars taxable?
No. In several cases Time Dollars have been ruled tax exempt by the IRS because an hour is always valued at one hour. There is no legal responsibility on anyone's part to redeem a Time Dollar.
Are there units smaller than one hour, or one Time Dollar Hour?
The TimeBank uses units as small as 1/4 Time Dollar or 1/4 hour. And we always round up.
What about liability?
The Time Bank currently has a group liability insurance policy.
How much does it cost to be a member?
Membership in the Mid-Michigan Time Bank is $10 for individuals and $100 for business and non-profit members. The fee covers software, miscellaneous supplies, and liability insurance. A prospective member who cannot afford $10, and is unable to borrow it from family or friends, can ask for a waiver by explaining their unique circumstances to the Membership Coordinator. You may also donate time towards an event or group project in lieu of a monetary donation.
What services can I get?
Members can provide almost any service imaginable; health care, dog walking, legal advice, cooking, accounting, sewing, computer services, home repair, tutoring, gardening, photography, the list keeps growing. Everyone has valuable skills to share. Time Banks begin to function smoothly at 150 members and as full economies at 300 members. Because this Time Bank is just starting there will not always be matches at first but as the network grows the exchanges and value grows.
How do I keep track of my hours?
You can log your hours and search for services online using the hOurworld online software (developed by Stephen Beckett).
How can I make the time?
Time Banking is not just something to do when you have free time, but something that frees up time for you, giving you more time to do the things you enjoy. Many of the services members provide are things they do everyday or would like to spend their time doing more of. You already go to the store for groceries, why not help someone get theirs who may not have the mobility you do? You already walk your dog, why not make a doggie date? It doesn’t really take extra time, and it can be fun! Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn another language, but could never afford a private tutor. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to repaint your room, but frankly have no idea what you are doing. We all know chores go quicker with a helping hand, and working together can feel like play!
I have a decent job, why should I join?
In today’s world, time is extremely precious. Sometimes it is difficult for people who work a 40 hour workweek to meet their neighbors, develop community, make new friends, or volunteer to help others when they are pressed for time in their own lives. The Mid-Michigan Time Bank is a way to spend more time doing the things you love for others while spending less time doing the things you don't. A Time Bank is a resource that frees up time for busy people, and gives them an opportunity to easily reach out to others in ways they may never have realized possible.
I own a business, why should I get involved?
Mid-Michigan Time Bank provides a unique way to expand an entrepreneur's client base, providing access to our area members and their services. Our members provide hundreds of services in all walks of life, from office cleaning to accounting or computer support, services that can be especially useful for start-ups and businesses with limited capital. Many businesses use the Time Bank for some portion of their exchanges, which has allowed them to keep busy building new customers relationships, and expanding the local economy. All businesses go through a separate review process to determine the unique ways that the business can receive and offer Time Dollars to our membership, so please be aware that not all businesses may be a “good fit” with the Time Bank.
So, you are a volunteer organization?
Not in the conventional sense. We believe in Reciprocity, not in separating providers and receivers. We all have needs, but we all have value and something valuable to offer the community. Rather than asking "How can I help you?", we ask "How can we help each other build the world we both want to live in?" By working together, we accomplish so much more.
So you are like barter?
No. Barter is trading, based on cash value, between two people. We are a non-profit service exchange organization. Our currency is based on time, with no relation to market value and it is not a direct trade between two people. If a Time Bank member gives an hour of their time they can receive an hour of anyone else's time within the Time Bank member community. And unlike barter the IRS has determined that exchanging time is tax free!
What if I don't have at-home internet access?
You can get help accessing your account at our monthly potlucks. You may also contact a member support person via the phone to assist you. 517-258-2242
A Community Currency to Build a Local Economy
A Time Bank, a.k.a. an Hour Exchange, fosters a different kind of economy, the community economy. It focuses on whats most important to all of us, our family, our friends, our neighborhoods. It helps raise children, make our neighborhoods safe and vibrant, take care of the elderly, fosters social justice, and helps make our planet more sustainable.
Its a new kind of money that's not connected to the roller coaster market economy but is instead based on our investment in each-other. Trust is the bottom line of a Time Bank, and our Time Dollars are backed in relationships.
We connect unmet needs with untapped resources.
How it works: Once you become a member you get a profile on our online system. Then you can post your Offers and Requests and see other member's. A member makes contact with another member to make an exchange. Everyone's hour is equal, one hour of work is 1 Time Dollar. Then either member reports the transaction online, and the Time gets deposited in the providers account. If a mistake occurs simply notify a timebank coordinator and we will easily correct it.
A Time Banking community seeks economic and social empowerment, cooperation, and the broad utilization of local resources through Five Core Values:
1) The Asset Perspective: Every person has something to give of value to the community. The Time Bank asset perspective looks at a empty lot and sees a garden, a homebound elder and sees a wealth of knowledge and experience. It asks people, “What's your passion?” And makes it possible for people to spend more time doing what they like and less time doing what they don't like.
2) Honoring Work: Work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.
3) Reciprocity: In everything we do we seek give and take relationships. Its easier for people to give their time freely knowing their community will give back to them. It's easier for people to ask for help when they need it, knowing that they will be able to give back in the future. Encouraging reciprocity helps our community shift from a consumer to a producer culture.
4) Community: We need each-other, and we need to reconnect the foundational relationships that structure healthy social networks. Time Banks decrease social isolation and increase inter-group relationships.
5) Respect: Time Banks initiate interactions between people of different backgrounds and beliefs who might not otherwise meet. These exchanges build experiential basis for inter-group respect.