Hints for Successful Timebank Exchanges

By Sherry Kule
Enrollment Support. Assistant Coordinator

Dear Time Bank Members,

I’m so happy I become a time bank member back in December 2012! It’s July 2014 and I continue to make 2-4 exchanges weekly. I have an extraordinary amount of fun and success time banking. I would like to share with you how I do this just in case you haven’t had the chance to make your own exchanges yet, are not sure about how to make this work for you, or want more success with it. Much of this is common sense and I’m sure you know most of it already. Basic business networking skills and experience also come into play.

We have great members and I am amazed at how nice they are. Some will go way out of their way to make an exchange and I truly appreciate this.

I couldn’t believe it until I counted the hours I exchanged (once you login, click on the “Statement” icon). I was ‘member gone wild!’ last year, getting almost everything I’ve wanted for a long time with tasks started, in progress or completed. I exchanged 107 hours with TBT members within the months of April and May 2013.

I also maintain my hours in order to have enough for exchanges. I offer community activity to the Tampa Bay Time Bank, helping with Enrollment Support to other members, as well as my own offers. I invite new members to join (earning 2 TBT Hours) who will appreciate this amazing concept and/or have the skills I would like for an exchange and/or for other members to enjoy, in order to fulfill their requests. I have had three potluck orientations at my house (each worth 4 TBT Hours).

For anyone interested, I would like to share with those looking at time banking as a way to add abundance to their lives:


  1.  I keep in mind time banking is about building relationships and I work at it. I am interested in our members and potential members – and what they are about too, not only about what I can get.
    1. For each request being fulfilled during an exchange with a member, I give instructions ahead of time (depending on the exchange) or when we meet. I let my goal be known – the outcome I want to achieve for the hours agreed upon.
    2. I am appreciative and not highly critical of the work being done. I don’t expect a poor result but if the member is not a pro, I don’t expect 100% pro work. I get great results nevertheless!
    3. If the member has made a mistake in painting, landscape work, mending, shelf installation, computer work, housekeeping, – whatever the exchange may be, I remind myself I am exchanging valuable hours, not cash; the error can most likely be corrected. I find a polite way to explain what I am looking for as the desired result and nicely work it out.
  2.  I had to bite my tongue and be nice one time re: work not up to par.  It will pay off and I will continue to exchange with that member who possesses other great skills I will want for another exchange.
  3.  If I don’t have another member available with that important or rare and needed skill just yet, it may pay off to keep the peace until I have someone else lined up.
  4.  I am not obligated to exchange with every member.
  5. Especially Good Points to Consider:
    1. Some members have unique and valuable skills for exchange so I go out of my way to ensure they are happy during and after the exchange. Exchanging with TBT members is not the same as hiring a paid contractor whom I may have to fire for a poor job.
    2. I may email a thank you note for a great job done, happy to know them, etc.
    3. I gave one member chicken soup because she didn’t feel well but arrived anyway to fulfill for me what was an important Request.
    4. I taped a member’s requested two night movie special for her to watch while doing my mending, for two separate visits.
    5. I offered one hour travel time each way. This member drove to exchange with me, so I offered it with the hope to see her again for the same exchange. It came back again.
    6. I offer gasoline reimbursement of $5-$10 when the driving time isn’t local. I remind myself how much that service would ordinarily cost me and am happy to pay the mileage.
    7. I schedule exchanges that are convenient for the both of us.
    8. I invite guests to orientation events whose skills I need, that our members want or who will benefit as members.
    9. I find that members have other talents and skills they didn’t write in their Offers and Requests but were mentioned in potlucks or their “My Bio” in their member Profile. By getting to know them at potlucks and while doing work for TBT, I learn more about them.
    10. I respond quickly to member’s Requests and I agree to do this per our TBT Terms of Use ~ We all did. These are simply good manners. If I am not able to make the exchange with a member (e.g., distance too great, time didn’t work out, etc.) I will let them know nicely and quickly. That way they won’t have to wonder if I received their Request and I will know to search for another member in order for the exchange to take place.
    11. I keep my Offers & Requests updated on the website and delete the ones fulfilled. I date them far enough into the future so they don’t expire and always have at least two of each posted.

I gladly contribute my time to help TBT because of the generous gift of time bank hours and the opportunity to make exchanges. I do not take this privilege for granted. I am making new friends, helping others get what they need and want, building community, and sharing this unique and innovative concept.

It has been fun tackling work I didn’t want to do with the help from TBT members. Many are new friends with a shared purpose.

Wouldn’t it be nice to create an abundance of skilled and talented members so we always have the exchanges we need, and to keep our newly invited members happy too?

I hope you have fun with time banking. This is about building community – something I hadn’t experienced for a long time until I was invited to join the Tampa Bay Time Bank.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or for more information: sherry@tampabaytime.org,  727.543.9933