The Diversity of TimeBanking

Here are some of the many ways that TimeBanks vary. (To find one near you please visit our directory.)

Place-based and mission-based

Most TimeBanks are “place-based” and focused on connecting members of the community into networks of giving and receiving. Some serve a small local community, while others are broader in reach. For some TimeBanks, a specific purpose, like juvenile justice or senior care, may be more important than specific locale.


TimeBanks differ hugely in size. Many TimeBanks have just 1-25 members and are likely in the start-up stage. If you reach out to them, be prepared for the possibility of their not responding because they don’t yet have that capacity. Or, alternatively, they may be excited to get a call!

You will also see well-established TimeBanks with 100 to 2,000 or more members who will quickly and readily take your call or email.  Then there are the ones less easy to gauge: The growing TimeBanks that have 25-100 members, or TimeBanks with lots of members, but for one reason or another have little activity.  With these third and fourth groups, it will be hard to predict the response to requests for information.

In some cases, several small TimeBanks have joined together into a regional group, all linked together using the same software, and possibly a shared administrative set-up, which gives them greater capacity to respond.

Types of leadership

Some have an active core leadership of dedicated TimeBank coordinators playing a strong role. Others choose a more varied leadership, perhaps with an advisory board to provide support and advice to the coordinator/s. Other TimeBanks go light on leadership, and rely on individual members to manage their own engagement in the TimeBank.

In many cases, TimeBank coordinators earn time credits for all the work that they contribute to the TimeBank.  (It’s a labor of love, and in many cases the number of credits they claim is far less than the level of effort put in.) Some TimeBanks — those that have found a source of regular funding — have coordinators who are paid. Usually the pay is part-time. The coordinators in this case often receive time credits for extra time that they offer to the TimeBank. Less often, TimeBanks have one or more full-time staff.

Funding Sources

As much as we would love the world to run only on time credits, they are a complementary currency, intended to reward and encourage giving and receiving where price does not factor in. They cannot be a replacement for money. TimeBanks inevitably have hard-money expenses, and how they find funding to cover those expenses varies. Many raise funds from their members, who give annual donations, or run fundraisers. Some TimeBanks are sponsored to help fulfill a mission that is shared by the TimeBank and an organization. Others are run from within an organization or agency with a non-profit mission. Some apply to the IRS to become a non-profit, so they can then seek funding from foundations, government agencies, and the public.

More About Our Directory

Also, you should know that when TimeBanks use Community Weaver software, they are automatically listed in our Directory – but that’s not the case for TimeBanks using other kinds of software.  With our new website in place and our Directory reformatted, we will be inviting all TimeBanks to be listed on the Directory.  (This will mean manually adding their names, profile info, and also the software they use.)