TimeBank members earn credits by providing services and spend credits by receiving help from others. We all have things we're very good at. And we all need others' expertise at times.
One hour of service always earns one credit, regardless of the nature of that service. This is one of the greatest appeals of a TimeBanks. Everyone's time is equal.
The conceptual founder of TimeBanks, Edgar Cahn, identifies five core values embedded within TimeBanking:
TimeBanks build mutually supportive social networks by respecting the value of each person's contributions. If your community is concerned about people who feel socially disconnected, isolated, marginalised, underemployed, or devalued, TimeBanks might be the right tool.
TimeBanks are membership-based. To participate, people sign up and start trading hours. Many timebanks require orientations, references and police clearances to protect the safety of participants.
TimeBanks use dedicated social media that enable people to offer their services, request help, and record trades.
Many TimeBanks allow community organisations to become members.
TimeBanking is tax-exempt, however a current IRD requirement for retaining the exempt status is for TimeBank members to offer only services other than those that are part of their money-paid work.
For this and other reasons, TimeBanking works at its best within a wider reciprocal credit economy. For example, time credit is generally not sufficient payment for a coordinator.