Running a Timebank
Managing your Workload
When you have to manage a variety of jobs it can be overwhelming, sometimes having the right time and management technique that suits the situation can help you out.
When you have lots of the same thing to do over and again, think about how you can aggregate and automate these jobs
Communications and Networking/Engagement
Regular communications are a really valuable part of building your membership. Email is a good place to start because it is easy and it is everywhere.
Newsletters can look great and be enjoyable. Here’s a fantastic template to begin with.
Nearly all timebanks interviewed for this project use Canva to create graphics for their newsletters. Many also use Mailchimp to manage their mailing list and design (and send) the newsletters; these are described, along with other options to choose from, below.
How often will you talk with your members?
Everyone has a different level of engagement so you want to target your audience. Most timebanks are engaging in a weekly post with some opting for a monthly mail out.
No one likes SPAM
Your timebank platform will auto-generate some email. Make it communicate - don’t let it become imprersonal and spammy. Here’s some examples
Sending mail is big business and there are a lot of different providers.
Mailchimp, Mailgun and SendGrid are commonly used because they have low entry costs for small volumes.
💡 All of the bulk email suppliers have bracket pricing models that are based on number of emails being sent and sometimes the number of people in your address book. Shopping around will get you the best deal.
If you are using WordPress for your website you can easily connect to Mailgun and SendGrid using a plugin dedicated to that purpose. Your web developer will think that is a piece of cake. Once you have your WordPress website setup with a plugin, you can control your email marketing from your own website. There’s WordPress plugins for MailChimp too.
MailChimp provides a user portal that gives you complete control of the bulk-mail process. The portal is fairly complex but the main tasks are covered in this guide. There are a lot of moving parts to become familiar with. Start out by watching some beginners video guides.
Starting out: a Page or a Group?
You want to get this right at the beginning. This video provides a great explanation of the main differences and the reasons for deciding to go one way or the other.
Do you want to set up a facebook page or a facebook group?.
Facebook has received some negative press, and is being abandoned by some especially in younger generations. Other tools that provide similar functionality of Facebook Groups include Mighty Networks and many people are turning to group chat tools like Telegram and Signal (ironically, even Whatsapp seems a more popular choice, even though it is owned by Facebook).
Growing Up: getting your community engaged
How do you increase Engagement with your Facebook community? This is a core question for every group coordinator. This video addresses Engagement on Facebook.
Getting and keeping people engaged varies with each social media platform. If you are using Instagram you may want to start developing an Instagram Strategy.
Social Media Tutorials
Social Media Examiner is a Youtube channel that provides marketing advice.
These videos are produced in the USA for wanna-bee influencers and work-from-home-millionaires. All teasing aside, the tutorials contain good advice and strategies, which are bundled into very slick buy-me-now packages.
Community groups can learn a lot from these marketing techniques. You have to make changes to be relevant to your group but the underlying methods remain the same. And that includes the buy-me-now messaging. Your “product” is different to theirs but you still want to have people knocking on your door to join and participate.
Getting good software can be one of the most difficult challenges. There is plenty of software, and you get what you pay for. We’ve collected some links, descriptions, and information about different types of software into a spreadsheet which you can use as a starting point.
One of the standouts was that everyone was using Canva.
Here’s an example of how we’re using Canva to create Newsletters.
Put policies in place for your workplace. Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment that encourages and fulfils them. This sample staff agreement discusses those things.
As a coordinators, everything will fall into your lap. You will be responsible for keeping your timebank sailing. Just what is involved? Checkout the Wellington Timebank coordinators manual. You may want to adjust it to suit your situation.
Coordinators need help. For some of you, that means learning to share the workload. Volunteers should be happy to abide by the rules that are set by your organisation. Asking them to commit by signing a volunteer agreement such as this agreement or this agreement makes that explicit and allows you to specify what is required of them.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. You have to look after them. Having a volunteer introduction / guidebook that they can refer to and learn from is a great way to do this.
You also have to consider their rights and privacy, even though they are willing to donate their time and energy, they may not want to be the poster-child for your group. Providing them with the option to allow or refuse the use of their image in photographs, in print or online is important.
Protect your board members
One approach to making timebanking ‘safe enough’ for all is to include a waiver in your onboarding process that makes sure that your board members aren’t unecessarily on the hook for something that would be better upheld as a “self-responsibility” of the timebanking members involved in, for example, any given exchange.
This topic can become complex, so if you have hesitations, here, try getting in touch with other coordinators about this through the timebank network. Coastal New Brighton’s policies (around liability) are a good example.
Monthly meetings and organisation
Think that building a team of volunteers is hard? Wait until you try to find a time when they will commit to meet for an hour!
When2Meet and Doodle provide online services for scheduling meetings.
Calendly is another that is highly recommended for calendars and scheduling.
Loomio offers a workspace for discussion and decision making, bringing together conversations, information, opinions, proposals and outcomes in one place
Your Office Setup
Unless you are lucky enough to have an IT team that provides all of these things, you will need to think about which set of plain-old-business-suite tools you use. We take a look at the three biggest in the game in Tools for your workplace
If you need backup, file storage, or file transfer services for all of the amazing things that you are creating, take a look at Tools for the Organisation
Need more support? Contacts
Connect with timebanks around the country to seek further support. You can find many of them on the TimeBank Aotearoa New Zealand page (there’s a contact address listed there as well).