What could I offer?

Once you’ve figured out what time banking is and how to get involved, you’re probably going to spend some time worrying that you have nothing to offer.

First, get over that. The beautiful thing about time banking is that it values what you do naturally. Tasks that are so simple for you that they might seem mundane could be truly exciting to others. Don’t believe me? Check out these lists.

Brainstorming service offerings with the Cville TimeBank.

Many services offered through the Cville TimeBank.

Cville TimeBank loves brainstorming!

At the Cville TimeBank Kickoff, we went around the room and brainstormed simple skills/services that could be offered. This list is impressive, right?

What was even more impressive was the interaction in the room. I mentioned that I could offer photography, and immediately someone in the room asked, “What does that mean? Would you take my picture? Would you teach me how to take pictures? Could you show me how to get pictures off my camera? Could you help me organize pictures on my computer?” From that one offer, we had built a whole list of ideas! I never realized that the task of importing photos – something that I do quite mindlessly at this point – was a task I could help someone else learn.

So, what are the tasks you accomplish regularly, without difficulty and without much thought? Can you stabilize wobbly furniture? Have you ever replaced an old thermostat with a new, programmable one? Do you know how to clean a fish? I’ve never done any of those things, and value your experience and expertise!

4 thoughts on “What could I offer?

  1. Some of the things I could offer aren’t really ‘work’. For example, I’m a fairly good cabinetmaker. If I make a table for you, it would be very nice and better than any you’re likely to buy, but it would take me 60 hours or so. That’s expensive in time! Or again, I like to sail, and would be happy to take a group of new friends on an overnight excursion, but this would be two full days! I certainly couldn’t expect anyone to garden or babysit for 60 or 48 hours for this, since I’d probably do these things for fun anyway.

    I like the idea of an hour is an hour, valuing accounting and tutoring right up there with child care and breadmaking, but for the activities many of us would do for long periods might better be bartered on a case-by-case basis. Is there any allowance for this kind of activity?

    1. Good question, Dennis – and it actually just came up at an orientation meeting yesterday. Here’s how it could work in timebanking, if you were willing to offer, say, making a table that would take about 60 hours:
      (1) you clearly state up front that you expect the project to take about 60 hours. Actual time might be a little +/-, but you’ve estimated in good faith.
      (2) a member agrees to take you up on your offer, and understands that they will need to ‘pay the timebank’ 60 timedollars (+/-) upon completion. So, while you get busy on that table, the member you’re making it for gets busy performing other services, accumulating timedollars in their account so they can ‘pay’ you on delivery. They might already have a lot of timedollars in their account….. saving up for something special … which means they’ve been really busy doing exchanges with other members. It’s ok if they don’t quite have enough, since it’s ok to be overdrawn a little. The expectation is that members will get themselves back in the black by performing more exchanges.
      (3) you’re able to spend your hard-earned 60 timedollars any way you choose, selecting services from any other member(s), in whatever increments or timeframes you like. It might be unusual to find a perfect fit single transaction for those 60 hours, but the glory of this system is that you don’t have to! You could get 5 hours of housecleaning, 3 hours of home-cooked meals, 5 hours of piano lessons, 6 rides to the grocery store, 5 hours of computer help, 6 hours of yard work, 10 hours of babysitting, 10 hours of pet-sitting, an hour ipad lesson, two hours of help figuring out your digital camera, four hours with an excersize buddy, and four hours of yoga….. all things that you would like to do, but just don’t have the time because you’ve been busy making that table! And just think of all the new connections you’ll be making with other members!
      (4) Important to keep in mind: timebanking is for SERVICES only, so the cost of materials in making this table would need to be reimbursed by the recipient.

      Is that explanation helpful?
      -Kathy Kildea

      1. Yes, very nice reply Kathy. Flexibility should be a catchword, as long as all parties understand up front.

  2. Heck, yeah, I can clean a fish. Never considered it a marketable skill, but if you have a successful fishing expedition, give me a call, and I’ll help you out.

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