Time AS Money. The Dayton Time Bank

A long time ago, barter was replaced with currency, and a lunatic science called economics was invented- which later gave us “finance” which led to the insanity of Wall Street having the ability of turning our economy into a joke.

The idea of paper money being worth something is something you were just born understanding in America. You don’t question it, you just take it for granted- “In God We Trust” is all you need to think that greenback actually means something.

But, there are other economies- the black market, the barter economy, the secondary markets of used goods, and then, well, there’s now a TimeBank- right here in Dayton.

I went to an orientation tonight- the first step, and a required one, to become a member. It’ll take about 2 hours of your time- and then, you never have to go to it again. They hold them the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at 624 Xenia Avenue in Dayton’s Twin Towers neighborhood- and the Third Sunday at 4 p.m.- with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. on that Sunday- more on the food later.

The concept of TimeBanking is that everyone has value- and can do something for someone else- and in exchange for that hour, you get an hour in your Timebank- to spend with someone else. You get 2 hours’ credit just for attending orientation.  The system relies on software to match up offers and requests-  I offer an hour of marketing help, you offer an hour of weeding. Your hour is worth my hour. An hour is called a time dollar. One for one. If it sounds like socialism- it sort of is. Neurosurgeon or nanny- your hour is the same. It’s up to you on how many hours you want to earn- or spend and with whom. The site is sort of like a dating site- with reviews of your work, and keeping track of your hours.

The cool thing is- non-profits- who usually beg for volunteer hours, can now reward volunteers with hours for hours- and they are like the Fed- they can keep giving away hours as long as they want. So, my neighborhood can pay me for running my neighborhood soccer program, or for an alley cleanup, Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together, could “pay” its volunteers with hours- and they can then collect from others. All of it- unreported to the IRS- sort of like Bitcoin in the beginning.

You can register as an individual, or a business, or a non-profit. Then, make requests for services if you can’t find someone already offering it.

It’s already happening in over 430 communities around the globe, with over a million hours swapped. And, your hours in Dayton can be spent in those other communities.

The driving force behind this has been Kate Ervin, who got interested in this 10 years ago- before the software was available. Then, the cost of administering the program would have been high- but, now- it’s easy. Some communities charge a cash membership fee- but, with the help of East End Community Services, where Kate now works, they are able to offer it with free memberships.

If your church is a non-profit- and you do community outreach, think about joining. If you are a member of a non-profit that does any kind of community volunteer work- join. If you like helping people- join.

The really interesting part comes from being a part of a community of volunteers who meet monthly for the pot-luck. It’s here, where you meet others who are offering their services- and you can find out who you want to spend your time dollars with.

This is a great way to fill in your professional schedule- and meet people you might not be able to work with using normal dollars. I plan on offering a limited numbers of seats to my www.websitetology.com seminar for time dollars. I’ve got a client who is a psychologist who isn’t set up to take all insurances- who may grow her practice this way.

I hate gardening- and weeding. I love helping people with marketing. Well worth a trade for a few hours a week. In some communities- dentists and doctors have joined.

Here’s a video- and a link to the homepage: https://hourworld.org

and a link to a PBS piece on it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business-july-dec10-maine_11-17/

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Why not this year? – EsratiAlexKate ErvinDavid EsratiDave C. Recent comment authors
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Dave C.
Dave C.

This is a nice post. Good to hear about positive things happening in our community.

A cardiologist’s time is worth more than, say, a person that cleans houses. Is there any way to resolve this?

Kate Ervin
Kate Ervin

Again, it’s voluntary, and though some established time banks do have folks like doctors or accountants offering those services, that’s not the focus of what we’re trying to achieve here. If we can get someone to mow our overgrown neighborhood spaces and then they in turn can have someone cut their hair, then great. Even though Esrati’s marketing time might be worth more in the monetary economy than my weed pulling, it might just be easier for me (someone that lives a couple blocks away) to just accept his request online and do it than for him to hire a full blown landscaping company. Am I going to weed his yard without this? Probably not. But knowing that he’s organizing soccer for the neighborhood or making a logo for our timebank makes it a no-brainer.

Kate Ervin
Kate Ervin

Also, it has great potential for people who offer a service professionally to let potential paid clients try out their service as an introductory offer. A massage therapist who offers a first visit for time credits would be more likely to get my return visits than someone who didn’t.

It also can help people develop their talents and perhaps start a traditional business down the road. If I wanted to create a portrait painting business, I probably could, but it’s not something I’m currently putting effort into….but would I do a few portraits for time dollars? Absolutely. A good way to keep my skills going.

I have no interest in totally replacing the monetary economy, I just see this as a complementary system for balancing some of the ways the traditional system is failing us.

Dave C.
Dave C.

As a viable economic system it leaves a bit to be desired, but as a way of connecting people within a community it sounds pretty good.


It amazes me anyone could downvote this.

It’s not a new economy model. It’s community.


[…] “community service” back into my neighborhood- working with Kate Ervin and her amazing Dayton Time Bank, doing a neighborhood soccer program, and still hanging green basketball nets for anyone who calls […]