FAQ 2017-03-23T11:49:27+00:00
What types of services are available? 2016-05-16T11:11:06+00:00

The services that are provided are dependent upon what our members are willing to share with each other, and therefore vary as new members join us and the availability of our members. That said, there is a wide range of offers of different types of services on a regular basis.
You can see the types of offers that are posted right now in the timebank here – they change depending on member availability and new members joining.

Why does Cowry Collective need member dues if they are a non profit and a timebank? 2016-05-16T11:27:04+00:00

We have operational costs, which include things like supplies and facility rentals for events, website fees, printing, postage, etc. We ask everyone who joins the timebank to pay an annual fee of $25 for individuals and $50 for organizations. For those who have trouble paying the $25, we ask that you contribute 3 hours of your time to help out with administrative tasks in the timebank (making phone calls to members, helping with outreach, making flyers for events, etc.)

Can I exchange products, or goods, in addition to services? 2016-05-16T11:12:54+00:00

Yes, some members exchange things like meals, produce or miscellaneous items. In most cases the hours exchanged should be the amount of time it took to make the product. In cases where this is not applicable, members can work out an arrangement they both agree on.

What if I feel like I have nothing to offer? 2016-05-16T11:13:28+00:00

You would be surprised at how many people share this feeling. We all have something to offer. Simple, everyday activities are the majority of what is exchanged in the timebank. Furthermore, do you have a hobby? A passion? That is something to offer too. One does not need to be a “professional” with specific skills to be in the timebank.

Can someone’s account balance be negative? 2016-05-16T11:14:38+00:00

We have a ten hour negative hour limit for individuals. We encourage members to always be earning enough hours for what they want to spend them on. Hours can be donated from a member who has extra hours to give to a member in need too.

What if I feel uncomfortable about someone I am exchanging with? 2017-03-23T11:49:29+00:00

We strongly believe in safety first. We like to think of Cowry Collective as a community of trust, and problems rarely arise, but of course many exchanges are with people you’ve never met. If anything goes wrong or feels strange during an exchange report it to the coordinator so we can be aware of it. If you feel uncomfortable during an exchange, or when you first meet the person, trust your instincts and tell them you’d rather not do the exchange after all. If they complain about having made plans, tell them they will still earn the hours agreed upon. Then report the incident to the coordinator. Don’t hesitate to back out if you are feeling apprehensive about any part of the interaction – better safe than sorry and we will understand.

What is a Time Credit? 2016-05-16T11:15:37+00:00

A time credit (or cowry) is equal to one hour of service. After the first hour is complete, time credits may be counted in quarter hours from there on. In the event that a service lasts less than an hour, for record keeping, one entire time credit will be credited.

How do I earn or spend Time Credit? 2016-05-16T11:16:02+00:00

To earn a time credit (cowry) you must do an hour of service for another Cowry Collective member or member organization. To spend a time credit, you must have a Cowry Collective member complete an hour of service for you.

Can I hold a small group class? 2016-05-16T11:16:26+00:00

Yes, you can. This is a great way to share skills with other timebank members. The instructor should receive as many time credits as the time spent on the class and preparing it plus one time credit per hour for every student who attends class . Each student should give the amount of time they spent in the class. For example, if you teach a cooking class to five members for one hour you would earn five time credits in addition to the time for class preparation. This is done a little differently than regular exchanges, and we can help you with recording hours.

What about hard costs like gas, ingredients, or materials? 2017-03-23T11:49:29+00:00

Things that cost real money like gas for rides, ingredients for cooking, or materials for repairs, should be paid by for the person receiving the service. Whether you buy the materials up front or pay the service provider back is up to the two of you. If you both agree, it’s also possible to add an extra time credit in exchange for the materials, but the default is to pay cash.

Is there a minimum age requirement in the Cowry Collective Timebank? 2016-05-16T11:17:56+00:00

No – timebanking is inclusive of everyone – young and old, everyone has something to offer. Youth can offer services for navigating the computer and internet, yard care, pet sitting, crafting, volunteer projects, and more. Youth accounts can be linked to an adult in their household or a mentor through the ‘guardian angel’ feature in hOurworld.

Can I give Time Credits to someone else? 2016-05-16T11:18:30+00:00

Yes. If you are aware of a need that a member has to receive a service, but they are unable to earn time credits themselves, you may donate time credits to them. Contact a coordinator to receive help with this.

Should I tip a member for good service? 2016-05-16T11:19:22+00:00

No. Rather than give a tip, “pay it forward” instead by giving excellent service to another member!

Do I have to report my service exchanges to the IRS? 2016-05-16T11:21:28+00:00

No. All of the services that you exchange through the timebank are not taxable. Click the links below for more information.

What is the difference between timebanking and bartering? 2017-03-23T11:49:29+00:00

Timebanking is not bartering because:
• It is not tied to a cash value
• It is based on the currency of time, so one time credit = 60 minutes.
• It is not generally an exchange, like barter, between two people, but between a network of people. You may not earn and spend with the same person. You might, but you might not. It is not a contractual agreement, but recognized as a friendly favor.
The Cowry Collective Timebank is a member of hOurworld, an umbrella organization that provides tools, software, and support for timebanks worldwide.