TimeBank Santa Cruz Handbook


  • Our Mission
  • Our Vision and Values
  • What TimeBanking Is
  • What TimeBanking Is Not
  • Five Core Values
  • How TBSC Works
  • How to Join TBSC
  • How to Use TBSC
  • How to Offer a Service
  • How to Request a Service
  • Rights, Responsibilities and Requirements
  • Guidelines
  • Legal Agreements


Our Mission:

The mission of TimeBank Santa Cruz is to build community resilience by trading services hour for hour among our members.

Our Vision and Values:

Our intention is to strengthen our community's resilience by creating a network of service exchanges wherein members share skills, talents, work and time. This network will improve our present quality of life and prepare us for challenges in a changing economy.

What TimeBanking Is:

TimeBank Santa Cruz is a mutually supportive social network designed to create trust and meaning in our lives through the exchange of our time, skills and talents.

What TimeBanking Is Not:

TimeBanking is not a marketing platform for businesses. It is not appropriate to offer services with the intention of reaping paid employment from the interaction. TimeBanking does not deal in commodities or capital. TimeBanking is not a barter system.

TimeBank Santa Cruz (TBSC) endorses these Five Core Values:

1. Assets: Every person in the community has the capacity to contribute to the wellbeing of other members of the community. We all have something to offer.
2. Work: Those who carry out truly essential tasks (such as raising healthy children, keeping communities safe, and caring for others) need to be validated and rewarded.
3. Reciprocity: We need each other. Giving and receiving are the basic building blocks of positive social relationships and healthy communities.
4. Social Capital: Belonging to a mutually supportive and secure social network infuses our lives with meaning and creates opportunities to build trust in one another.
5. Respect: Respect entails accountability. Responsible behavior fosters accountability and promotes social justice.

These Core Values were crafted by Edgar Cahn, the Founder of the TimeBanking movement.

How TBSC works:

When you provide a service for another TimeBank member, you earn one TimeCredit for each hour you spend providing the service. You can exchange your TimeCredits for services other TimeBank members offer. You use the TimeBank website to keep track of TimeCredits earned and spent.

How to Join TBSC:

Fill out and return the application found on our website. After we have reviewed your application, a Profile will be created for you on the TimeBank database. Each member's Profile lists their Offers and Requests. You will be able to edit all information in your Profile once your Membership has been confirmed.

Our Applicant Acceptance Policy has been developed by our Advisory Board in consultation with our local Coordinators and the national consortium of TimeBank Coordinators who guide us. We strive to be as inclusive as possible. We accept almost all applicants but we do not accept every applicant.  

Required Orientation Session:

Members are required to attend a one-hour Orientation Session prior to joining. Orientations will be scheduled by appointment. Member Dues on a  Sliding Scale of $25 to $50 shall be paid prior to joining. Dues can be paid by cash or check or through PayPal and are non-refundable.
Checks are payable to TimeBank Santa Cruz. Dues are tax-deductible. We are a registered 501(c)3 public charity nonprofit corporation. Options are available on a case-by-case basis for those without the ability to pay dues. Please contact us to discuss. 

The TimeBank is a social program with potential to create significant social benefit locally. It costs money to run social programs. Member Dues are used to coordinate and maintain the TimeBank. Your contribution will be used to pay stipends for staff, to pay software and website hosting fees, to purchase outreach materials and to cover phone and office costs. Your account may be suspended for failure to pay Dues or for having an incomplete Profile. There is no provision for Members whose accounts are suspended to use accrued TimeCredits. Only Members in good standing can exchange services.

TBSC will hold regular potlucks and other social events so that members can meet face-to-face and share information and resources. These get-togethers are for current and prospective members alike, so please come and bring a friend. As a member, you will earn TimeCredits for the first Mixer you attend plus your travel time to and from your home.

Please check our website at santacruz.timebanks.org or Facebook Page at facebook.com/timebanksantacruz for announcements and events.

TBSC offers a unique opportunity to explore new models of organizational development. The infrastructure of TimeBank Santa Cruz will evolve over time. As the TimeBank grows, we will likely have sub-committees such as Events & Outreach, Administration & Sustainability, Member Care, and Communications. The content of this Handbook may change over time as members make suggestions for improvement. Your ideas and comments are important in helping the TimeBank Santa Cruz to grow as a creative, meaningful and rewarding program. Contact us at santacruz@community.timebanks.org.

How to Use TBSC:

You can contact other members and be contacted through our website using your Profile Username. You decide what personal information you want to share. Members only see your Username and the general area in which you live. You must respond to Offers or Requests within 72 hours. As a courtesy, we ask that you respond within 48 hours. We ask that you be specific about your needs and abilities. Members are asked to come to a clear agreement about each exchange before the exchange begins.

How to Offer a Service:

Post Offers on your Profile. Consider offering services that you enjoy and that come easily to you. Choose a brief and direct title that concisely conveys what the service is. Capitalize the principal words of the title.

Include these details in your Offers: date, time, location, distance you will travel, tools, materials needed and their cost. Estimate and communicate the amount of time you expect the service to take. If things change, keep each other informed in a timely manner.

You may include your round-trip travel time in your total service hours.

Always arrive on time; contact the person receiving the service as soon as possible if you will be late or need to cancel.

When you have completed the service, promptly log your TimeCredits earned, preferably within 48 hours. Both parties should reach an agreement before the hours are recorded. In case of disagreement, or with any questions, the Coordinator may be contacted. Hours are rounded up or down to the nearest quarter hour. You will be able to view your TimeCredit balance when logged onto the website.

Here are two example of Offers:

Cooking: I have a lot of experience with organic, vegetarian, gluten-free cooking. I will plan, prepare and deliver a meal for 1- 8 people. I’d like to have 2 days notice.
Music Lessons: I'm a self-taught jazz pianist and I love teaching adults and children 12 years and over, beginning and intermediate levels welcome.

How to Request a Service:

Post your Requests on your Profile. Consider requesting services that you need help with, cannot do or want to learn. Be as specific as possible about what you need. Include the location, the amount of time required, if there is a deadline, whether or not you can help and if you have the materials and tools needed. You provide or purchase any materials needed for your Request.

If you don't receive any responses to your Request, you have three options:

  1. Ask the Coordinator to mark your Request as an alert which will highlight it as urgent.
  2. Contact members who offer similar services to see if they might fulfill your Request.
  3. You may want to reword your Request for clarity. Include a specific deadline or timeframe.

When your Request has been completed, check to make sure that the Member providing the service has logged the hours correctly.

Here are two examples of Requests:

Yard work: I need someone to help me prepare my flowerbed for winter by weeding and adding mulch. I have a bad back and won’t be able to help.
Ride to the airport: I have a flight on Wednesday, April 2 at 5 p.m. leaving from San Jose. Would need to leave Watsonville by 1 pm. Will reimburse you for fuel. Small suitcase.

Rights and Responsibilities:

Every Member has the Right to:

  • Be treated with dignity, care and respect.
  • Earn one TimeCredit for every full hour (or fraction thereof) of service provided.
  • Spend TimeCredits on services offered by other members.
  • Save TimeCredits in a personal account for later use.
  • Donate TimeCredits to other Members.
  • Have privacy and confidentiality maintained.
  • Be valued and treated fairly.

Every Member has the Responsibility to:

  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of other Members.
  • Respond to all TB communications within 48 to 72 hours.
  • Keep scheduled commitments and follow through.
  • Provide quality service.
  • Be accepting of guidance and instructions.
  • Use your legal first and last name as both Profile name and Username.
  • Attend an Orientation Session prior to joining.
  • Pay annual Member Donatins within 30 days of their Due Date.
  • Keep your Profile current with a recognizable photo of your face, a Bio, an Offer and a Request posted at all times. Your Profile will be 'hidden from view' if it is not current.
  • Ask that your Account be put on hiatus when you are too busy to participate.
  • Understand and accept the Member Removal Policy.

Member Removal Policy:

Respect for Each Other: We are dedicated to providing high quality service in a professional, courteous and respectful manner. We expect you to treat our staff with the same courtesy and respect. If these guidelines are not followed, we reserve the right to refuse to enroll and/or to dismiss any member from the TimeBank without explanation.

TimeBank Santa Cruz reserves the right to refuse Membership to anyone without explanation. Members may be removed from the TimeBank at the discretion of the Coordinators. TimeBank Santa Cruz has no provision for non-members to earn or spend TimeCredits that may have been accrued prior to dismissal. TimeCredits in a dismissed Member's account are forfeited upon dismissal. Reasons for dismissal include but are not limited to:

  • Not responding to communications. If you do not get a response from another Member, contact the Coordinator. After two complaints of non-responsiveness, the Member will be contacted and may be de-activated.
  • Theft, fraud, misuse or abuse. These behaviors will not be tolerated and the Member will be removed. Posting inappropriate Offers and/or Requests is a misuse of the TimeBank. The Coordinators shall deem what is inappropriate.
  • Violence, harassment or other disrespectful interactions. We rely on all Members to report any inappropriate behavior, be it directed at you or observed by you. Any infraction may result in de-activation of account.
  • Lack of participation. If a Member has had zero transactions within six months, she will be contacted by the Coordinator. If the Member is reachable, her offers and requests will be reviewed and adjusted. If the Member is unreachable after one email attempt and two phone attempts, the Account will be de-activated.


For the TimeBank to work, receiving services is as necessary as giving. Please do both.

Appreciation for another’s best efforts is also important. There may be situations when the service provided does not meet your expectations. No service is guaranteed. If there is a true problem, please contact the TBSC Coordinators.

Respect other Members' homes, their belief systems and personal boundaries. If you smoke, ask for permission. Refrain from using alcohol or illegal drugs before or while performing a service.

Represent your abilities accurately. Use the agreed-upon time to provide a service and renegotiate if more time is needed.
Don't feel obligated to provide a service. You can say “no” at any time with simple “Sorry, that won’t work out for me.” Please respond to Requests even if you will be declining to offer service.

TimeBank Santa Cruz does not check driving records; therefore, it is the responsibility of each member to screen drivers. Anyone who provides driving services is expected to have a valid driver’s license, carry auto insurance, use seat belts, follow driving laws, and maintain his/her car to a standard of safety. Be prepared to show your Driver's License and proof of insurance when they are requested. If requesting transportation, be sure to ask to see those documents before the Exchange begins.

It is not customary to ask for compensation for fuel used to provide services within Santa Cruz County. You may arrange for hard cost reimbursement for out-of-county services such as trips to the airport.

TimeBank Santa Cruz does not perform background checks on any of its members at this time. It is the responsibility of each member to meet and/or screen members offering Child or Elder Care.

The TimeBank community must protect the privacy and confidentiality of its Members. Do not share any Member information outside the TB community. Emails or addresses may not be added to any mailing lists without the express permission of the Member.

TimeBank Santa Cruz will not be held responsible for any injury to persons or damage to property experienced while involved in service exchanges.

TimeCredits are not redeemable for cash or commodities.

Legal Agreements:

I understand that TimeBanks USA and Time Bank Santa Cruz shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by information contained on this web site or any other Time Bank resources.

I understand that I will receive messages from other Members of TimeBank Santa Cruz through this web site. Notification of such messages will be sent to the email address I have registered with. I also understand that I will receive newsletters, broadcasts and alerts for TimeBank Santa Cruz from the Coordinators through this web site.

Since any agreements shall be made by and between parties involved in this transaction, TimeBanks USA and TimeBank Santa Cruz will not be held responsible and will not assume any liability for claims, damages, or any other consequences which may arise from this arrangement.
I hereby agree the duty, responsibility, and liability that is inherent with TimeBank Santa Cruz exchanges shall remain as it would be if the parties were not part of any TimeBank. I agree to leave intact the normal remedies and cause-of-action available to these parties in the event of any unforeseen circumstance. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless all parties who facilitate or participate in TimeBank exchanges.

I agree to abide by the core values, rules, and guidelines provided by TimeBank USA and TimeBank Santa Cruz for proper and courteous behavior. I pledge to proceed with good intent towards being of service to others in my community and treat others in the TimeBank with respect and kindness.