Tree of Plenty TimeBank FAQ

So, the Tree of Plenty Time Bank is like barter?

Yes and no, it does work similar to a Barter System. However, barter takes many forms; there is the one on one trade, or bartering though a Barter System, and is based on a cash value. The Tree of Plenty TimeBank Time Dollar is based on time, with no relation to market value and it is not a direct trade between two people. If a Tree of Plenty TimeBank member gives an hour of their time they can receive an hour of anyone else's time within the Tree of Plenty TimeBank member community. And unlike barter, the Tree of Plenty Time Bank Time Dollar is non-taxable!

How much does it cost to be a member of the Tree of Plenty TimeBank?

Members: Membership dues are $30.00 cash and three (3) Time Dollars per year. This helps with the expenses, and the CIMA insurance (this insurance covers our members in case they are injured while providing or receiving a service), in addition to funding our programs.

However, the Tree of Plenty TimeBank wants to make it possible for everyone to be a Member. So, for anyone that finds it difficult to pay the $30.00 cash dues, please contact the Tree of Plenty TimeBank and we will work out a way for you to pay the cash dues with the Tree of Plenty TimeBank Time Dollars instead.

Non-Profit Organizations: A donation of $30.00 cash and three (3)) Time Dollars per year.

There are no fees of any kind when a Member gives or receives a service.

What services can I get?

Our members provide almost any service imaginable; anything from office cleaning, accounting, computer support services, health care, dog walking, legal advice, cooking, accounting, sewing, computer services, home repair, tutoring, gardening, photography, and the list keeps growing. Everyone has valuable skills to share.

Who can become a member of Tree of Plenty TimeBank?

Anyone, and everyone, located anywhere on planet earth and beyond. Our membership is open to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Everyone has a valuable skill and knowledge that is useful to others. All new members must attend an orientation session to help familiarize them with the software, and understand how the Tree of Plenty TimeBank operates.

How do I keep track of my Time Dollars?

You can log your Time Dollars, search for services available, etc., using our online software, which was developed by fellow member Stephen Beckett. Accessing our online software is simple and easy, and will be covered in your orientation. We also have other members that will assist members who have difficulty accessing or navigating the software.

Do I earn Time Dollars using my free time?

Time Dollars is not just something to do when you have free time, but something that frees up time for you, giving you more time to do of the things you enjoy. Many of the services that the members of the Tree of Plenty TimeBank provide are things they do every day or would like to spend their time doing more of. You may already do office cleaning, accounting, computer support services, health care, dog walking, legal advice, cooking, accounting, sewing, computer services, home repair, tutoring, gardening, photography, and go to the store for groceries. Why not help someone get theirs who may not have the mobility you do?  You already walk your dog, why not make a doggie date?  It doesn't really take extra time, and it can be fun! Maybe you've always wanted to learn another language, but could never afford a private tutor. Or maybe you've been meaning to repaint your room, but frankly have no idea what you are doing. We all know chores go quicker with a helping hand, and working together can feel like play!

How much is a Tree of Plenty TimeBank Time Dollar worth?

In the Tree of Plenty TimeBank a Time Dollar is equal to one (1) hour, and everyone's time is equal no matter what the service. We value time. When it comes down to it, time is all we have. We value people. Everyone has value, everyone's time is equal, everyone has something to offer. The real economy is people. We value work. We value the work it takes to make healthy children, a healthy community, a sustainable future. At first glance, it seems crazy that someone is paid the same for web design and pulling weeds, but this turns out to be the core of what makes the Tree of Plenty TimeBank really work. Everyone’s time is valued equally – just like it is inside a family. We don’t think you wouldn't ask your brother/sister to give you two hours of dog walking for every hour you spend fixing their computer.

Can I use the Tree of Plenty Time Bank Time Dollar for things other than services?

No, that is one of the reasons the Tree of Plenty Time Bank Time Dollars are tax-exempt. It is very important to remember that we want the Tree of Plenty Time Bank to keep their Time Dollar tax-exempt for you, and we should never make an equivalency between a Time Dollar and regular dollar. If you are interested in acquiring merchandise in exchange for your time or merchandise, you should check out www.TreeOfPlentyCoOp.com

I make a lot of money, why become a member of the Tree of Plenty TimeBank?

We recognize that the world takes all kinds, and all kinds of knowledge. The more we have simply means we have more to give. The Tree of Plenty TimeBank is a way to spend more time doing the things you love for others while spending less time doing the things we don't. We should love what we do regardless of how many plaques we have on the wall or letters come after our name.

I own a business, why should I get involved?

The Tree of Plenty TimeBank provides a unique way to gain experience and expertise as well as expand an entrepreneur's client base. Participating in the Tree of Plenty TimeBank does not exclude you from participating in the money market economy, it's complimentary to it. Many businesses use the Tree of Plenty TimeBank for some visits or portion of their time, which has allowed them to keep busy engaging and expanding. The Tree of Plenty TimeBank strengthens local community relationships which strengthens the community's economy in general. Our members provide hundreds of services in all walks of life, anything from office cleaning to accounting or computer support, services that can be especially useful for any business, and saves them from spending their cash for these services.

Can I trust the Members of the Tree of Plenty TimeBank Bank to come into my home?

Tree of Plenty TimeBank does not reference check or do background searches on our applicants/members.

The decision to provide and receive services is the responsibility of the participants based on a relationship of trust, mutual support and respect. We encourage all participants to use common sense and safety measures to protect their person and personal property. For instance, ask for and check references, do not allow unknown persons into your home without having another friend or family member present, search online for information regarding a person offering professional services, and interview/meet with all participants in advance. For services requiring unsupervised contact with finances or vulnerable people (youth, elderly, disabled), or driving, you may want to use background checks and references.

What if a Member of the Tree of Plenty TimeBank falsely bills me for service that I did not use?

The Tree of Plenty TimeBank is built on mutual respect and trust and this type of thing is very rare, if ever. If you think that another Member has billed you in error, or made a mistake and debited the wrong member’s account please contact your Coordinator at once.

Can a Member go into debt with their Tree of Plenty TimeBank account?

Having a negative balance is not a big deal in the Tree of Plenty TimeBank. After all, people must receive for others to give. We ask that individuals not go farther than 10/15 hours into debt, however this is flexible and situation dependent. Therefore, we look to each neighborhood or group of neighborhoods to have a Coordinator who lives in the area and has personal knowledge of the people involved and their situations. People who have a history of earning lots of hours are generally allowed a bigger debt limit. Generally, not much will happen other than a call from your Coordinator to remind you that you will need to earn some hours before you can start spending them again. The Tree of Plenty TimeBank has a special Community Fund where members may contribute to that are set aside for community projects or to help members who are going through a difficult period.

So, you are a volunteer organization?

Not in the conventional sense. We believe in Reciprocity (it's one of our core values), not in separating providers and receivers. We all have needs, but we all have value and something valuable to offer the community. Rather than asking "How can I help you?", we ask "How can we help each other build the world we both want to live in?" By working together, we accomplish so much more.

Some of us can remember a time when family members lived close by each other and we knew most of the people living in our neighborhoods. Some of us have only heard about it.

Helping each other out was a given, something we did for each other every day. From watching someone’s kids for a few hours, dropping off meals for a sickly neighbor to potluck suppers and barn raisings, communities were full of families and friends helping each other.

Few people would disagree that times have changed, and few of us have family members nearby or neighbors we know well enough to turn to for support. There are so many things we do that would be more efficient, fun, and meaningful when shared.

For professionals like doctors, lawyers and business people, the Tree of Plenty Time Bank is a way to give back to your community without having to go someplace else on someone else's schedule. For example, you can just set aside 10% of your appointment calendar for Tree of Plenty Time Bank members.

Even better, the Tree of Plenty Time Bank helps you gain extra time because down the road, you can use the Time Dollars you've earned and have someone else do something for you that you can't fit into your schedule or simply don't know how to do!