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One area of our work will be directly focused on sustainability for timebanking.

Presently only theories and recommendations are available to define what makes time banks successful. Our research section highlights academic research into the critical success factors, organised around particular themes. However, there are some key lessons to be drawn, and as our work develops and our knowledge deepens we will be using this section to communicate best practice.

The potential of time banks has been proven, but a framework for time bank sustainability will assist in our long-term success.

1. It is clear to us that we are increasingly seeing a convergence between ‘timebanking’ and ‘time banks’ Organisations are increasingly incorporating timebanking as a methodology to achieve their mission rather than thinking about time banks as a stand-alone option. We feel that as time goes on we will continue to see independent time banks working alongside other organisations who are timebanking to collectively create a timebanking infrastructure.

2. Time banks are more likely to succeed if: they adapt to their local situations, create a strong local presence, secure adequate funding or are based in a local organization, offer incentives to participants and develop the social side of the project. (Seyfang, 2002).

3. As Lee (2006) makes clear:

  • Be Passionate: if you believe in what you’re doing, so will others. Enthusiasm is infectious – we can motivate others, they can motivate us.
  • Give your members the opportunity to be fully involved
  • Have a vision – it helps you to focus your ideas
  • Communicate well – in different ways for different audiences. Start where they are (not where you are)
  • Some money is needed so don’t ignore it!
  • Work with others to spread the ideas/the passion/ the timebanking messages
  • Know where you’re going and take everyone with you

4. A sustainable time bank not only receives continuous funding and community support,but also successfully creates active social networks (Lee, 2006). 

5.  Some final lessons:

  • Carry out a baseline audit to understand the community’s resources and needs, before designing the time banks, could improve sustainability.
  • Use timebanking as a tool, rather than a stand-alone project leads to the creation of sustainable time
  • Follow community development principles by using a clear design process which encourages local people to articulate their goals: plan, act, evaluate
  • Design the time bank around collectively negotiated goals
  • Understand that there are a range of models
  • Acknowledge that the time broker cannot do everything
  • Analyse and work with the four factors of sustainability: sustainable participants, sustainable coordinators, sustainable structures, sustainable funding.



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