What is timebanking?

Our creative timebank is a fantastic resource, it is a way to exchange skills and knowledge between a community using an alternative method of currency called credits.

Your hour is my hour. We are all equal. Our time is all worth the same, so no matter the skill or service you’re offering, my hour is worth exactly the same as your hour.

When you join the Guild, you get 10 credits to spend how you like by engaging the skills and services offered by the other members.

But let’s be clear, the timebank is not about working for free. It’s about taking those exchanges, favours and interactions that we already do and putting them in a system where each person gets something tangible out of it.

The timebank is not about a direct exchange of skills, it is about one person paying the other in credits for their services. It is the same as any other type of monetary transaction but using the Guild credits instead of pound coins.

The timebank is about services but it is also strongly focused on knowledge and learning new skills. So if you are an illustrator, you may not offer your services as an illustrator through the timebank, but you could offer to teach people how to use certain illustrator software, how to present your portfolio or how to set up as a freelancer.

The skills and help that members seek is massively varied, from help invigilating art shows, to giving a lift; or digital animation to DIY; anything that might be required as part of a creative project.

Timebanking is also a great way to expand your network and meet new people. It has also been known to lead to paid work. Someone may hire you for an hour through the timebank and like your work, so next time come back with a paid job offer.

And people could pool resources, or you could ‘gift’ hours to make something great happen collectively.

The timebank means that as well as the Guild’s own events, there are all kinds of brilliant happenings all the time, in amongst the membership, self-initiated. And that’s where timebanking really comes into its own – as a vibrant self-managed economy that uses a currency we can all afford! Kerching!

You can find more information on timebanking from Timebanking UK.

So how does it work?

There are two different ways to use the timebank and the way you choose is up to you.

Timebanking through the search function

If you are simply looking for one skill or person, this is the easiest way to do it.

When a member sets up their profile they will select the skills they have and decide whether they want to share those skills through the timebank.

Timebanking skills screenshot

There are two timebank categories:

  • Making and doing – if a member selects this box then that means they are happy to offer this skill practically through the timebank
  • Teaching and sharing – if a member selects this box then that means they are happy to offer advice on this topic or teach someone how to do this skill through the timebank

Once members have set up their skills on their profile they will come up in the search results whenever that skill is searched for.

Therefore, if you’re looking for someone to help set up your event, you simply use the search box:

Member search screenshot

In this case you would select ‘Timebank: Making & doing’ to narrow down your search field.

Once you have searched, a list of members offering this skill will be displayed, decide which the member(s) you would like to approach and click on the contact button on their profile:

Profile screenshot

Email the member and ‘make the request’, i.e. tell them what you would like help with. Make sure you include as much detail as possible as well as how many hours of their time you will be requesting (make sure you have enough credits on your account to cover this!)

The member will then get back to you either accepting or declining your request.

If they accept – wonderful! You then need to confirm all the details and arrange to do the transaction.

Once the transaction has taken place you are then responsible for transferring the credits from your account to the other member. You do this by going back to their profile and selecting ‘Send credits’

You will be taken to a transaction screen where you can fill in the details:

Transaction screenshot

You can choose whether to leave a star rating (from 1 to 5). This is optional and won’t show up on the website, it is purely so we can monitor the quality of the transactions and take action if there is a problem.

Using the message board to initiate a timebanking transaction

The second way to initiate a timebanking transaction is through the message board. This way suits someone who is looking for multiple skills and people to help with a larger project.

For this purpose, a member would simply post the details of the project including the skills required and the hours offered under the "Projects" message board and wait for other members to respond.

This way is not as immediate or direct as going through the search function but may save you time in the long run if you are looking for multiple people.

Once you have found the people and skills you are looking for, after the project is complete, you will have to send the credits to the correct people using the method described above.

Happy timebanking!

If you have any questions about using the timebank do get in touch.

Check out our blog to hear members talking about their experience of using the timebank.