Setting up a Time Bank

Some Pointers to Setting Up a Time Bank

If you are an organisation, individual or small group interested in setting up a Time Bank, here are some notes to help you think about what it involves.

If you have any queries you would like to discuss having read these notes, please contact Marion Findlay, Edinburgh Time Bank Network coordinator:


Telephone: 0131 225 0630


1.           Find a core group

Form a small steering group of 3-5 people. These might be friends, neighbours, workers from local organisations etc. It might be that as you advertise for Time Bank members, steering group members also emerge. 


2.           Funding

Decide whether funding will be required. Think about computers, publicity, premises, telephone, stationary, other expenses eg for events.

Identify potential funding sources.



  • How realistic is it to proceed with a Time Bank with no funding?
  • Does your group need to be constituted to apply for funding?  
  • Can your group continue to work towards establishing a Time Bank while waiting for funding?


3.           The Time Broker

Identify someone to fill the Time Broker role. This is an important role and some Time Banks have floundered because it has not been possible to recruit anyone.

It is the Time Broker’s role to:

  • Reply to enquiries
  • Meet up with potential members, ensure their suitability and apply for references
  • Match up individual requests and offers
  • Encourage members to spend their time credits and ask others for help
  • Set up and maintain members’ time credit accounts
  • Raise awareness of and promote the Time Bank to local groups and organizations



  • Could members of the steering group or other members have the capacity to divide the role up between them?
  • Do you need to wait for funding to recruit a paid Time Broker before the Time Bank can progress?


4.           Recruiting members

Recruit members by word of mouth, holding stalls at local events, posters, local websites, etc.  

Time Banking UK suggests 12 people as a suitable number of members to have for tasks to be exchanged.

A typical process to become a member:

1. Person contacts Time Bank

2. Person invited for a chat

3. Application form, “Wants and Needs” form completed and references taken up.

4. Members’ handbook issued



  • How will potential members contact the Time Broker?
  • Will the person be invited in for a chat?
  • What are they going to be asked?
  • How will their suitability be assessed?
  • What if they are deemed unsuitable?
  • Who will apply for references?
  • How will people’s skills that are being offered and sought, be recorded?


5.           Time Bank launch – process, forms and admin        

Note: It has been found that in some cases individuals are not ready to go straight to offering their skills to other people or asking for people to help them. It has been necessary to organise social events or group activities so that people can get to know each other and begin to build some trust.

A typical process to exchange skills:

1       Member identifies a service / skill they would like to engage

2       Member contacts Time Broker and members are put in touch.

3       Member(s) report back to Time Broker            



  • How will people be put in touch with each other?
  • How will you know if the task has been carried out satisfactorily?
  • How will time credits be recorded?
  • How will available skills be publicised?
  • Is it necessary to use Time Online or can another system be devised?



6.           Forms and documents

No need to start your timebank from scratch! Please feel free to use our templates and resources to get your timebank started.

Please click here to access our resources page.