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FAQs / Member Handbook
August 21, 2011 — 20:35

Our time bank will evolve over time as we develop partnerships and as members suggest refinements. Your suggestions will help Tampa Bay Time become an increasingly creative, meaningful and rewarding program.


What is Tampa Bay Time (TBT)?

Tampa Bay Time is a community skills exchange, also known as a “time bank.” We offer what we do well and ask for the help we need, large or small. We also save money while expanding our circle of friends. TBT is a member of Time Banks USA, an international network with members in 22 countries on 6 continents. Time Banking is a social change movement based on five values:

  • Assets: We are all assets.
  • Redefining Work: Some work is beyond price.
  • Reciprocity: Helping works better as a two-way street.
  • Social Networks: We need each other.
  • Respect: Every human being matters.


How does Tampa Bay Time work?

When you help a member you earn an hour’s credit for each hour you give in service. You can then exchange your hours for services from other members. Your hour is equal to every other person’s so the rich don’t get richer and the poor don’t get poorer in Tampa Bay Time. We extend trust and reciprocity across social, economic, ethnic and linguistic lines, weaving community one hour at a time.


What policies and procedures do I need to know about?

By joining Tampa Bay Time you agree to abide by the guidelines published in this member handbook or FAQ. This agreement may evolve over time as we develop partnerships and as members suggest refinements.

• I will not accept or offer money for services.
• I will have lots of fun meeting people and making friends.
• I will respond in a timely way to offers, requests, and alerts.
• I understand that I am solely responsible for my transactions.
• I will participate in Tampa Bay Time at my own risk and will not blame the organization or its coordinators for any decisions or exchanges that I make.
• I will take special care when contracting for child or elder care or work around the home.
• I will take full responsibility for any accidents I cause to myself or others.
• I will take full responsibility for other people’s property that I may use.
• I will be careful who I recommend as my membership may be affected by their actions.


How do I join?

  1. Set up an account.
  2. Make an annual donation.
    Scholarships are available and sponsorships are encouraged.
  3. Have an entrance interview with a Tampa Bay Time representative. Email a coordinator to set up an interview in person or by phone. Attend a time bank event to meet other members, get your questions answered, and start making exchanges. Check the calendar for listing of upcoming events.
  4. Once your membership is activated, log in to post your Services Ads (by clicking on the Offer and Request icons). Make friends, have fun!

For more information, for help with your application or using the online system, or if you want to get more involved with the time bank, please contact a coordinator (coordinator@tampabaytime.org).


What is the TBT membership fee and what is it used for?

This year’s fee of $20.00-$50.00 per person can be met in several ways. It covers website expenses, access to the time bank software, training and office expenses for coordinators. The sliding fee also allows us to offer scholarships, please be a generous as you can be.


How do I get started?

1. Log in, complete all the items within your profile, including posting a picture of yourself.
2. Post as many requests as you wish.
3. Post as many offers (skills or services) as you want to provide.

Remember: Time banking is based on reciprocity. Members should ask for as much help as they offer so that the system thrives and the whole community benefits.

4. Be clear about your skill level–novice, professional, experienced but uncertified, etc.
5. Communicate clearly your hours of availability.
6. Participate only in exchanges that you feel comfortable with and that fit your schedule.
7. If you receive a personal request, respond even if it is only to say that you cannot help.
8. Decide which member will record the hours (both will receive confirmation).


How can I earn TBT Hours by helping Tampa Bay Time?

You may earn TBT Hours by helping in many ways:

1. You earn TBT Hours simply by joining TBT:

a. Filling out the application (1 TBT Hour)

b. Supporting TBT financially. Our sliding scale is $20.00-$50.00/person (1 TBT Hour)

c. Completing your member profile. Let other members know more about you in the “About Me” section (1 TBT Hour)

d. Adding your picture to your profile to help others remember who you are (1 TBT Hour)

e. Posting two Offers AND two Requests (2 TBT Hours)

f. Attending an orientation (2 TBT Hours). You can earn additional hours when you attend future events also!

g. Making your first exchange within a week of joining (1 TBT Hour)

2. Members also earn TBT Hours by strengthening the local community:

a. Moving your money to a local bank or credit union (2 TBT Hours)

b. Referring new members (2 TBT Hours each)

c. Attending a TBT event (variable)

d. Joining a task force or working group (variable)

e. Performing leadership tasks (variable)

f. Taking TBT event pictures & post on our Facebook fan page:
www.facebook.com/tampabaytime (2 Hours)

g. Being a tech-buddy for someone who needs help (variable)

h. Holding a TBT potluck to introduce new people to time banking (4 TBT Hours)

Note: The work of recording TBT Hours is done by members who document the TBT Hours they earn themselves (or ask for a “tech buddy” to help them with this task). TBT has no paid staff; all work is currently paid in TBT Hours. Email coordinator@tampabaytime.org to let us know how you’d like to earn TBT Hours by helping the community grow.


How do I record the hours I earn helping Tampa Bay Time?

a. Once you are logged in, click on the tab “Hours.”

b. Fill in the following blanks:

– Number of Hours
– Select the date of the exchange
– Fill in to/from how many members (enter 1)
– Select category (Help Tampa Bay Time, and service

c. Check your entries and click RECORD TRANSACTION.


How do I communicate with other members?

Tampa Bay Time members communicate at by email, on the phone, in person or on our Facebook page. Most use several methods to stay in touch and stay informed:

1. Website: www.tampabaytime.org
2. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tampabaytime


Can you give some examples of offers and requests?

Give precise information in your requests and offers:
1. OFFER: I will be your phone Buddy and help you learn the Community Weaver software.
2. OFFER: Cooking. I do organic, vegetarian, sugar-free cooking. I will prepare and deliver a meal for 1 to 8 people. I’d like 2 days’ notice.
3. OFFER: Carpentry. I have experience with carpentry and home remodeling/repair. I have tools and can work alone or assist with your projects.
4. REQUEST: Garden work. I need a group of five or six to sheet mulch my garden (lay cardboard, spread mulch, do some watering). I have the organic materials, but need a wheelbarrow and pitchforks. Let me know if you can help.
5. REQUEST: Diet and nutrition. I need to reduce my cholesterol. Will you work with me to suggest recipes and plan menus 2 or 3 times over the next month?
6. REQUEST: I need rides to the grocery store and permaculture meet-ups.


How do I receive a service?

1. Login with your user name and password.
2. Click the “Give and Receive” tab, then browse “All Offers.”
3. Contact the offering member to arrange an exchange.
4. Be very clear about
a. The date, time and location where the service will be provided.
b. How long the service will take plus travel time to and from the service site.
c. Who will provide the tools required.
d. The parts, supplies or ingredients needed (receiving members pay for these).
e. Which member will report the hours (both receive confirmation).
5. When receiving rides, reimburse mileage at the IRS rate.
6. Mileage is the only dollar exchange allowed due to IRS regulation of time banks.
7. For help, email neil@tampabaytime.org.


How do I offer a service to a requesting member?

1. Discuss the details (date, time, materials needed, cost, etc.) and ask how long the requesting member thinks the service will take.
2. Contact the other member if you will be late or need to change the time.
3. When the service is complete, decide who will report the hours; both members will receive email confirmation.
4. If you can’t provide the service, thank the person for calling and if possible suggest a member who might offer it.
5. If you need help, email coordinator@tampabaytime.org.


Do you have any other advice for making exchanges?
1. Be sure not to assign a dollar value to exchanges (that will create issues with the IRS).
2. Be clear about expectations. Make sure both of you understand the task before starting.
3. If the provider cannot meet your standards, be flexible and polite.
4. Dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
5. Don’t forget to record your hours.


What rights do Tampa Bay Time members have?
Every Tampa Bay Time member has the right:
• To be treated with dignity, care and respect.
• To earn one TBT hour for every hour of service provided.
• To spend TBT hours on services offered by other members.
• To save TBT hours in a personal account for later use.
• To donate TBT hours to other members or groups.
• To have privacy and confidentiality maintained.
• To be treated fairly.


What responsibilities do Tampa Bay Time members have?

Every member of Tampa Bay Time has the responsibility:
• To abide by all policies and procedures on the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page .
• To assess the competence and trustworthiness of those you make exchanges with.
• To respect the privacy and confidentiality of other members.
• To avoid assigning monetary amounts to transactions.
• To be prompt and keep scheduled commitments.
• To be accepting of guidance and instructions.
• To have fun and share your experiences!
• To treat others fairly.


Can you explain more about the hours members earn?

Every hour of service is equal, regardless of the service given. It is just as important to receive as to give. Without equal participation the system doesn’t work. TBT hours are not redeemable for cash. Any dollar exchange would cause TBT exchanges to be taxed.


What if I work a partial hour?

For fractions of hours, round up to the nearest quarter hour: 52 minutes earns one TBT hour; one hour & 10 minutes equals 1.25 TBT hours. Record exchanges as soon as possible.


How can I get to know other time bank members?

Check out our online calendar under the “CALENDAR” tab in our navigation bar. The Tampa Bay Time Bank will schedule picnics & potlucks and will sometimes have tables at other community events. Dates for potlucks are set by the hosting members. Please consider earning TBT hours by hosting. It’s a great way to meet others and build the TBT community in your area.

TBT will also host joint events with non-profits, churches, neighborhood associations, and other community groups like Transition or Permaculture. If you know of an event and would like to earn hours by making arrangements, email coordinator@tampabaytime.org.


How is my confidentiality protected?

All members agree to protect the privacy and confidentiality of other members. Member information may not be shared outside the time bank. Member emails may not be added to mailing lists without permission.


How can I ensure that my exchanges will be successful?

Each member is responsible for meeting and screening those who offer services. This is particularly critical in the case of child care, elder care and work around the home. Members are also responsible for screening drivers with whom they ride.

Tampa Bay Time does not guarantee any transaction, nor will Tampa Bay Time be held responsible for any injury to persons or damage to property that occurs during transactions. If you have security concerns, we recommend that you pay for a full background check.


What if I forget to follow a procedure?

Departure from any of the above policies and procedures will result in a conversation with Tampa Bay Time. Repeated departures may result in canceled membership.

Reminder: The content of this agreement may evolve over time as we develop partnerships and as members suggest refinements. Your suggestions will help Tampa Bay Time become an increasingly creative, meaningful and rewarding program.

Thank you for helping build a caring community!

And remember, if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable!