Sometimes, you gotta ASK!!

How to ask for help in the timebankFor many of us, asking for help is hard. I see this difficulty manifest often when timebank members tell me that they can’t find the help they need in the timebank.

Here’s a recent example:

Me: What do you need?
Member: I need four post holes dug.
Me: Have you asked for help with that?
Member: I looked at the current offers, and didn’t see it offered.

I’m happy to report that this conversation has a happy ending: hole-digging is scheduled!  But it’s a good chance to talk about how to make the ask. It’s impossible to know what kind of help people need, and it would never occur to me to post a separate offer for each and every little thing that I was willing to do for another timebank member.  Who’s got time for that?

I can’t tell you how many times a member has looked at the weekly member email that lists recent requests and said “Wow, I never thought about offering that particular service, but I could totally do that!”

If you dismiss the thought of getting the help you need through the timebank by a cursory glance at what’s currently being offered, you’re missing an opportunity! Here are my suggestions:

  • SEARCH! Use the search box at the top of every page in hOurworld. Try a few different words/versions of what you’re searching for. Go ahead and noodle around in there. You won’t break anything! You may find a member bio or offer that turns up in your search field, and you can reach out to that member directly with your request!
  • Post a request! It may be hard to ask for help, but members are standing by – and they’re reading their emails… not your mind! Plus, members who see your request can help you make a connection if they’re not able to fulfill the request themselves. Go ahead and put contact information right there in the request – make it as easy as pie for them to respond!
  • Post it in the Facebook member forum! It’s a great place to pose a question or make a request, and it allows a conversation thread to unfold, members to be tagged, etc. – it can really activate the hive mind! Keep in mind that not all of our members are on Facebook, but many are!
  • Make sure your member profile is up-to-date, friendly, and inviting! After all, the first thing a potential responder is going to do is look you up on the member software. Increase your chances by having a photo and welcoming bio, and make it easy to contact you.
  • Don’t take it personally if a request is unfulfilled. Maybe it isn’t something that others are able to help with, or they’re not available, or maybe they didn’t read their email. OK, that’s another post.  The point is: please don’t be disheartened.  Keep at it, and perhaps the next time you’ll make a great connection.

So — what do YOU need that you haven’t requested? 😊