Role V. Admin

The Admin role is not just for introverts, but it is for people who get joy from keeping things neat and organized. As long as you keep your Time Bank small and informal it doesn’t take much money or admin time to run. The admin collects the dues, pays TimeBanks USA the annual membership fee, and whatever incidental expenses come up for printing brochures and flyers and running potlucks.

The member-led neighborhood Time Bank is essentially a club with dues and a petty cash account. It is not an incorporated entity. There is no liability insurance because you know everyone and you trust your neighbors not to sue you if something happens while you are doing them a favor.

We recommend a sliding scale of $40-10 for membership dues. Also we believe that all members should donate at least two Time Dollars™ per quarter to their Time Bank. These are just suggestions. It’s your Time Bank and your coordinator team decides what dues make sense for your Time Bank. Requiring a Time Dollar™ co-payment has the double benefit of lowering the cost of running the Time Bank and making the Time Bank more member-owned. Having the members feel a sense of ownership over their Time Bank is essential for long term survival and fund raising success down the road.

After a few years, the start-up leaders often get restless for bigger challenges. Members get a deeper sense of the value of Time Banking and want to make it a bigger part of their lives. They often want more members in the Time Bank to create a wider array of services. They may want to start projects that partner with other organizations and help those with fewer advantages. They may also want volunteer insurance ($5 per member), background checks ($8 per member), and a paid staff person to organize events and be readily available ($6,000-40,000 per year). All of these add to the Admin’s role.

Here’s a breakdown of what it might cost to run your Time Bank with the different Community Weaver licenses:

Cost of Running
A Time Bank with Community Weaver Mini Membership
35 members Affiliate Membership, 35-500 members Affiliate Membership with Part time Staff
Fees to TBUSA
Annual Membership fee $99 $500 $500

Other Potential Costs
Extra Costs per member* $10 $10 $20
Staff $6,000

Costs Per Member Breakdown
10 Members $19.90 NA NA
20 Members $14.95 NA NA
35 Members $12.83 $24.29 $205.71
50 Members $20.00 $150.00
75 Members $16.67 $106.67
100 Members $15.00 $85.00
150 Members $13.33 $63.33

* Extra costs per member could include things like office supplies or paper products for potlucks.

It is very tempting at the beginning to charge very low membership dues because the expenses are so low when members do everything. Be careful not to set dues too low. It is VERY difficult to raise them later and there are always expenses that you haven’t anticipated.

As you can see from the table, adding paid staff takes real money and that means fund raising. If you raise funds, you’ll probably want to incorporate as a non-profit entity (a.k.a. 501(c)(3)) so donors can get a tax deduction for their contribution. We have a book of fund raising event ideas that is specifically geared towards Time Banks. We also have Time Banks grant writing book that contains “best of” paragraphs from many past Time Banks grants. Both books are available from TBUSA for $50 each (they are also included with Affiliate Membership).

Fund raising can and should be fun. This is especially true for Time Banks because their fund raising events serve a dual purpose of “raising community” as they raise funds. For it to be fun, the fund raising coordinator must be a coordinator not just a good asker. More on this in the fund raising books…

As these greater aspirations manifest, email or call us at TimeBanks USA and we’ll help you in taking those next steps. We have training classes and a network of consultants to help you through the next level of complexity. Remember you can lower the cost of a paid coordinator by sharing the cost among several neighborhood Time Banks.