Partner with Groups


by Marie Nelson based on notes from mentoring session with Tony Budak

Scenario: What is the agreementlink

• Each Time Bank Member Organization agrees to certify the time earned by a Time Bank member to the Member Organization.
• Each Time Bank Member Organization agrees to enter this time as Time Credits in the member's Time Bank account to be exchanged for services offered by other Time Bank members.

Obviously there must be a person in charge or a small team to do the above record keeping.

Say a person, Susie, from the YWCA wants to set up a Y partnership with the time bank. She will need two accounts--a personal one for herself and an organizational one for the Y. She will be assuming the role of lead coordinator on YMCA’s organizational account.

How to create an organizational account:link

1. The first step is to appoint who will be the Time Bank account administrator, i.e., Susie, for the Organization, Group, or Project. It's an easy decision and quickly done. Now the Org. account administrator will earn time dollars for the work effort entering an ORGANIZATION member's work time into the data base, Community Weaver.
That account administrator, Susie, must obtain a new email account on one of the free web based email services. The email account must identify the ORGANIZATIONAL ENTITY. Here's how to create a FREE email account for your Organization, Group, or Project mission.

• Choose a free email services i.e., Yahoo.com (look for Free Mail: Signup), hotmail.com (click on the Sign Up button), or Google's Gmail. TBMW suggests using Google, http://mail.google.com/mail/help/about.htmllink-external (click on the Create An Account button) Then use your ORGANIZATION'S NAME to open an email account, For example treezplez at gmail.com or YMCA at domain.com

• Write down your organization's email address and the password for this email account) and save it to a safe place.

2. Now login at “Join Time Bank of Your Choice?” the Community Weaver data base server.

• Log-In the ORGANIZATION'S NAME / email address (same as above email )and another New Password for the Community Weaver data base system.

• Again Note your organization's email address and the password for this Registration and save it to a safe place.

3. In the Personal Profile, fill in the blank fields from your
ORGANIZATION'S point of view.

• Use the name of the EXAMPLE organization as the first NAME then the Abbreviation ORG as the last name. For example, enter in the open field space, the first name as “Trees Plez” without quotes and in the open field for the last name as "ORG", without the quotes.

• Finish completing the profile, from your ORGANIZATION'S point of view, be sure to confirm and save, the TimeBank system coordinator will contact you to schedule an interview and tutorial.

For Your Informaion: The software sorts on the first name "field" which is entered in the first blank field. Second, the softare uses the term "Organization" as a category, to list your affiliated club, church or group. Lets high light what we just did.

1. Setup USER NAME: In the FIRST NAME field put YWCA for the first name, and in LAST NAME field, put in ORG (or BUS for business or FAM for family). Have them follow the prompts as best they can. Suggestion: Use a screen-sharing program like https://join.melink-external, if you need to step then through the process of how to use the software.

2. Activate the ORG account and make SUSIE the coordinator in charge of it: Now, you have an organizational account and the coordinator for YWCA is Susie.

3. Share the above emails, and passwords with a team parter from the Organization, who will act as back up and share the oversight functions.

Suzie is now your twin; she will do the same role,network weaver facilitator, that you or I do. She creates events, holds hands, teaches people how to use the software. She signs up new people with paper applications, she interviews them, learns their skill set, basically runs a time bank, but it is an independent time bank hosted by the authorizing time bank, not by TBUSA.

In other words, Susie is at a lower level on the computer software. She organizes members who interact with other people within Tampa Bay Time. She becomes a helper in exchange for community service hours at the YWCA. She teaches them how to use their accounts and how to record their hours. She then goes to the YWCA account and moves hours into their accounts. Later she'll have to teach them to manage their own accounts.

For you it's a matter of co-managing the time bank with her, the coordination team will no longer be doing all of the work,you will share responsibility by co-producing the operation with her, and with other organizational accounts, with the reps from the Y or the block watch, or Celebrate Outreach, or the Curtis Family or Sacred Grounds Coffee House


In this model we set aside traditional business accounting about going into the red. Let's say the YWCA will earn X number of hours by letting us have meetings there once a month. There's an arbitrary negotiated agreement between the two groups; if we agree that when we have meetings there, say a 4-hour meeting, we'll give them 4 or 8 hours, then we'll do that. The Y account will go into the + when we do that, and of course, we will go further into the red. They can then use those hours to make exchanges, but the exact numbers don't matter. It's also okay if the Y goes into the red. They will have to go into the red at times if they have a lot of volunteers, but that's okay.

So, here's a difference between this approach and banking. When we, time banks, do our end-of-the-year reports, we will be interested in the frequency of transfers, the total numbers of hours exchanged, rather than worrying about whether or not the transfers end up being + or - the way regular banks do. Our goal is to encourage more transactions, more exchanges--it's to expand (and document) the total number of hours volunteered. (If we make + and - balance out, the total would be zero, right?)

The other thing is that if we follow the five values of co-production, we are relating to people on their positive side, on how they can contribute. We recognize both partners as contributing positively to the relationship. Even going into the red is a way to contribute to the community. One of the ways individuals can contribute is to go into the red so that somebody else, who does the work, can get recognition for their hours. We focus on the positive aspects and tally them up.


Given our history, our culture, virtually all non-profits like the Y have managed to survive by taking advantage of people's goodness to help them do their work, and we can help shift that to more equal partnerships with volunteers--by using authentic time banking, authentic co-production.

If you take a good look at the Co-Production gallery see (3 files, http://timebankswork.net/tiki/tiki-list_file_gallery.php?galleryId=6link-external you'll begin to appreciate that what you're doing is looking at the operational procedures of the Y to see where they're aligned with the five time bank values. In the beginning, if you ask the Y to assess themselves, the only positive responses you're likely to get are

1. We let you use the conference room and

2. We let you put brochures in our lobby

But by the Organization’s self-assessment any results will give hints on how you can nudge the Y toward operating using co-production principles, working more in the core economy and developing it. In other words, toward demonstrating greater respect for people


So, give the coordinator role to one person at the organization, and they can then create a team of leaders from among their people. This team would work the same way we do--Susie would have people to work with to do events, advertising, teaching the CW software to newbies, etc. She would have helpers, and they would all earn hours for doing it. In the process Tampa Bay Time will get members, rack up hours we can use when reporting to funders, etc., and a lot of the work the coordination team has been doing with new members will get done by Susie and her team. They will co-produce the work of growing Tampa Bay Time.

● The Y has a membership

● Suzie has personal membership

● We train Susie to do what we do

● She signs up volunteers as regular TBT participants (they donate, just like other members)

● She manages Y's membership in TBT

● Susie organizes a team from among the Y's membership to help her.

We grow the human capacity of the TampaBay bioregion, make new friends, help each other, provide a cushion for people during hard times and build a more resilient community--all without taking on a lot of additional work due to the co-production process that lets everyone share the load.


Time banks do have to have money for software costs, hardware costs, to train and pay a coordinator, for business cards, shelters in parks, for a digital projector, etc. I strongly suggest that you "charge" people and organizations, but do not use the word charge, your goal is to be approved as a non-profit charity and educational organization which is different (in IRS eyes) from a "membership club." The IRS does not let membership clubs be non-profits, so time banks are safer if they don't have paid "memberships."

The appropriate and safer language vis-a-vis IRS and non-profit funders is to report (and do your publicity) using the word donate. We ask for donations. You can ask for a sliding scale donation from $25-50, or from $10-100--whatever people want to contribute. When we ask for a donation, we are practicing co-production. We're asking people to co-produce the financial support for the organization.

When we ask a foundation or other group to support the project, we can show the number and amounts of these donations to show that people support the core values of time banking.


Time Bank hours create a parallel dual economy. We are not creating a business in terms of charging money but are helping each other, co-producing by exchanging hours. Everyone has an equal number of hours so it's very different from the mainstream monetary economy.

The Y can generate Time Bank hours by doing things for us. If Susie at the Y has someone who teaches exercise classes there, they can charge members of the Y and members of time bank 2 hours to attend. In that way the Y generates more hours for itself.


Every organizational member will have a different relationship to the time bank and a different level of awareness of the value of time banking depending on what they have to offer, on what help they desire, and on how much experience they have with time banking and alternative thought. As the relationship matures, when there's enough trust built and greater awareness of the possible benefits, the organization will want to support the time bank, but it doesn't always happen overnight.

Once I approached a UU pastor to develop a partner relationship, and I slid the application form across the desk, and he said that the UU would need six members from the congregation in order to bring this proposal to the UU Board of Leaders.

Well at that time there were already four UU members in the Time Bank


Over time one UU person joined the time, then another and over the next couple of years, those members got more church members to join the Time Bank. In order for them to get honored and respected for their church service we created an catch all time bank account, called THE GOOD WORKS FUND//ORG. They began to document hours through the new good works fund. So, over time they went to 8 members of the church getting time bank credits for their work using the GOODWORKSFUND. (this account is used for other good works to folks and groups that are not a member of the Time Bank)

Later they came to me one day and said they wanted a UU TIME BANK. They wanted to grab the steering wheel and start doing it, so now there are about 15 people there, and one is the coordinator for the UU church Time Bank. They're part of the church's resilient circle group, and they help each other and trade hours among themselves and with others.


I think of myself as being a salesman, a schmoozer, facilitator, community organizer. I plant the seed at first. One way to explain it is that we don't deliver pizza; they need to take the responsibility of owning and managing the account. They co-produce their mini time bank. But, of course, you have to walk before you run, so I move them slowly. It's an evolutionary process. I may talk to them a half-dozen or nine times before they are stable and mature enough to be on their own.


I've been scheming with some small businesses, just the way I approach a non-profit. Certainly there are some traditional community service hours that are given to a small business. A local cafe or coffee shop,people like to help it succeed. They contribute labor hours to support that business, help decorate, help with publicity, do cash mobs, etc. In order to get more active, there's an advantage they get with a time bank because people become gradually more passionate about time banking. So the business can do what we did with the Y. They can have a coordinator to handle the business account at the time bank.

How would a business account be different? The business promotes time bank participants by giving, say, 10% off--the cashier has a computer in front of her or him and if I go there for an hour for lunch, the cashier takes an hour out of my account. In exchange I'll get a 10% discount. If I spent $20.00, I'll get 2.00 off.

Or, take a movie theater with empty seats. Every time they show a movie, one third of the house is empty, so I approach them and ask them to offer 2-hour movies to our members who will sit in those empty seats for free in exchange for two hours of time credits that the theater gives to them. But our participants will buy popcorn and drinks, plus they will bring non-time bank members with them, so they begin to fill their seats and the theater becomes more popular.

Just approach the businesses and be creative. As long as we do not make our side of it in any way proportional to federal dollars, we will be okay. An hour is only an hour, the value of an hour is given and received in hours. You document and transfer and pay forward only hours. The customer pays one TBT Hour for the hour that they're at the restaurant, and in exchange the restaurant gives them a discount for a percentage of the monetary value. They're a business so they work in terms of money and discounts all the time, but time banking is non-profit so we can focus only on hours.

Say you have a business that is very supportive of your time bank. As a business they can give "platinum discounts" at 10%, gold discounts at 20%, and silver discounts at 30%. But they have a profit margin of 50%, so instead of making 50% on zero (without our participants), when our participants come in they make 20% on them in addition to what they would have made anyway. They fill up their tables, the place looks popular and the staff get more tips.

There's a range of discounting going on within a time bank all at the same time. It differs from business to business--each being negotiated separately. The IRS can't say an hour is worth a set amount of money because each business works out the deal that works for them, and that is what protects us as non-profits (or, in the case of Tampa Bay Time, the ability to be granted non-profit status).

Additional Note: The business that participates in the time bank gives discounts for hours to get a person in the door and in return, the person has to stay there and spend an hour or two. The owner then documents these hours in Community Weaver and s/he can then use them in any number of ways. Or, s/he can pay the member in hours, like the theater does. It can go either way.

The premise idea is that restaurants and theaters, have seats UNFILLED. The empty business seats provide has no income. So the Time Bank coordinator says to the management that if you give discounts on food and beverage, 10%, 20% or 30% to Time bankers you will have
income on those empty seats, which now bring in ZERO cash. But in order to get Time Bankers into your restaurant or theater, that business has to become a Time Bank organizational member, and work out a process to record the hours that Time Bankers sit in those empty chairs. Time bankers do not pay Federal cash to see movies, they give previously earned time credits for the length of time watching movies from their seats, and pay regular prices to food and beverage. In the different Restaurants you will negotiate a discount for all food and beverage for Time Bankers, 10% Gold, 20% Silver or 30% Platinum, or something similar.

I'd suggest a restaurant policy where the Time Bank customer pays with Time Credits for the seat in the restaurant in half hour increments for the time spent building community in the role of Time Bank Ambassador.

Also be sure that all the Time Bank affiliated businesses includes the Time
Bank signage in all marketing and publicity.

It goes without saying that the above organizational relationship to a Time Bank needs
nurturing from both parties.


Large ones have disposable operating capital; if small, they may have just a little, but don't give them a free ride or they won't perceive the value of Time Bank if you do. That's the way our culture is. He says he made the mistake of not charging, and now is trying to transition but it's hard. He says we should start off with an annual donation--for all participants. (He calls them members but I'm thinking we should call people and groups participants instead of "members" due to IRS prohibition on member organizations being non-profits).


Tony has a couple of accounts that are family accounts. Mary Jane has a 13-year-old, but the child cannot be a member. In a family account, it would be the FIRSTNAME: JANEDOE / LASTNAME: FAM or FAMILY. Then the young people and husband can use that account; all of it goes through MOM or DAD who keeps the records. One rep from the family handles that. And again, we ask for donations, we don't charge membership fees.