Table of Contents:
- Participant Contribution
- Pass-Through Costs
- When Your Hours Get Out of Balance
- Reciprocity or Fairness
- What Do I Have to Offer?
- What Can I Receive
- The Ethics of Time Bank Exchanges
- Complaints, Disputes, and Mediation
- Many-to-One and One-to-Many
Welcome to Lane Service Sharing Network, or as we like to call it LSSN (pronounced Listen). Through this project we are co-creating a New Economy that allows us to approach work from a place of passion and joyous service to one another rather than out of a sense of obligation, and where we meet many of our needs through the service of our fellow community participants rather than by purchasing from businesses to whom we may have no connection.
How does this happen? Participants request and offer services. When one participant does a service for another, the receiver enters that service in our online database, and the giver receives time in hours (however long their service took) in their account – hours which can be used for any other available service in the LSSN community. The receiver is charged the same amount of time in their account.
While the general goal is to strive for balance in our giving and receiving, your “hours balance” is just a guideline. Positive balances are not “better” than negative balances. What is important is that you are able to get what you need and to use your gifts to serve your community.
LSSN can improve the quality of your life, reducing the need for money and obligatory paid work, and increasing connection, gratitude, and service. Simultaneously, you are building a powerful community where our skills, goods, and services enhance life for all, and builds a rich network of cooperation where we have the people and resources to do great things.
Each participant of LSSN pays a yearly Participant Contribution of $30 per account (person, household or organization). This is simply your share of the monetary costs it takes to make LSSN happen
If you absolutely cannot make a monetary Participant Contribution, you can contribute 3 hours (begin with negative 3 hours balance) instead. For those who pay the participation fee either in money or in time during your first year, there is a special bonus for getting involved. If you both give and receive at least an hour of time in your first 60 days as a participant you receive a 3 hour bonus.
A PERSONAL HELPER
When you become a participant you will be assigned a Participant Helper. They will be available for any questions you have or help you if need, including aiding you in figuring out what to give or what to ask for. Don’t be shy about calling them.
AN HOUR IS AN HOUR…
As participants of LSSN, We honor each person’s time, and each hour spent is considered equal whether you are doing brain surgery or cleaning gutters. Here are some details as to how that works out practically:
- Enter your time in increments of ¼ hour
- It is not only the time you spend with the receiver that counts, but also time spent in preparation. Let’s say you have been asked to make a garden plan for someone. You interview them, you spend time researching the plants to meet their needs, you draw up a map of their yard, and then you present the plan. You can ask for time credit on everything you have done, not just the time you have spent with them.
- If you travel more than 15 minutes one way to do the service, you can ask for travel time.
- There will be gray areas; the important thing is that the giver and receiver have agreement beforehand on either exactly how much time will be counted or in what manner it will be counted.
- Sometimes you may receive goods that require time to create as well as cost money for materials. For instance, an artist may ask for 6 hours plus $30 for materials. We call this a pass through cost.
PASS THROUGH COSTS
Whenever someone does a service and needs to spend money for supplies to complete that service, the costs of those services are passed along to the receiver.
For example, If you sew someone a set of curtains, the receiver pays for the cost of the material and then you contribute the time to sew the curtains. Pass through costs can only be passed along for expenditures that are for that specific service. For example, an acupuncturist could pass along the cost of needles used for a session, but cannot pass along the cost of a part of the monthly rent for their office, or a small percentage of the cost of their education at Acupuncture School.
WHEN YOUR HOURS GET OUT OF BALANCE
Our desire is that participants of LSSN are in balance with themselves and with our community. It is not necessary for your hours to perfectly balance out. But if you reach a balance of + or – 15 hours, we will ask you to have a conversation with us.
If your balance is -15 or below, we will check in and see what you are offering and if you could use help letting others know what you have to offer; whether you are giving in ways that just aren’t showing up in our system; and whether you are going through a short term crisis and could use some support from our Community Chest (link).
We are less concerned whether your hours are in exact balance, and more concerned that there are ways you are both giving and receiving with others in the community. We want to support you in making that happen. If we request a conversation with you and you do not respond for a period of time we may freeze your account.
If you have a balance of +15 or higher, we will check in with you, make sure you feel in balance with your giving, and if you have any needs LSSN could help fill. Your Participant Helper may help and connect you with services to meet your needs. There are no consequences if you continue to keep your balance high. We just want to make sure you feel in balance with your LSSN experience.
RECIPROCITY OR FAIRNESS
You may have noticed that while we are interested in balance, we are also somewhat loose about it. Our philosophy can be explained by the difference between fairness and reciprocity.
Fairness, with an idea of absolute equality between people in all ways, is like a whining 7-year old – “Mom, how come Johnny’s cookie is bigger than my cookie?” The basis of this kind of fairness is the idea that there is a limited amount of what we want and more for someone else means less for me. That doesn’t fit the reality of a grateful, connected community, where most people will give of their excess. In this reality, if someone in our community gets something extra, it is probably good for us.
Gifts tend to move around the circle.
There is no way to create a system that is entirely “fair” in all situations in how we trade time. In reciprocity, we do our best. But what is truly important to us is not absolute equality, but that needs get met, and that each person finds a way to give back according to their talents and life situation.
If you are not getting needs met in LSSN, that is important. If you can’t find a way to share your gifts and complete the circle, that is important. If the numbers are not completely fair, that is not as important. We will find a way to make it work. As long as we are living in reciprocity, we trust the process.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO OFFER?
As you imagine what you want to give, to do for others in LSSN, let’s start by imagining 3 circles that intersect in the middle. One circle is what gives you joy and fulfillment. The second is what you are good at. The third circle is what others want and need. We are aiming to get as close as possible to the center where all 3 overlap. You won’t always be able to find the perfect fit, but aim for the center.
Here are some examples of different types of services you can offer:
Your professional skills
These are the kinds of skills you may do in the world for money. With LSSN you will be doing these skills for people and a community you care about, free from many of the limitations you have at a “job”. All you will be doing is giving your gifts to serve.
Some of you may already be giving these gifts in a regular job. Doing more may feel like burnout. If this feels like pure drudgery, don’t do it!
But there are some other options. You can do this skill to a limited degree. You may be a massage therapist who feels like you can only give one LSSN massage a week. Great! It is possible as you get more involved and receive more from others that you will feel inspired to give a bit more. Maybe even let go of some of your “work”, so you can do more for others in your community. Listen to your boundaries and respect them. Never do things that feel like drudgery or burnout for you
These are skills that make a difference for others that are not as easily “marketable.”
One example is you might be great at “fixing up” your friends. A valuable skill – but you don’t want to start a matchmaking service. So you might offer this skill to the people in the LSSN community. You become the community “yentl”.
Or maybe you are great at negotiating the medical system, and supporting others as they do the same. The options are endless. What do others really want and need that you can do?
Something you enjoy that you have never quite wanted to turn into a business
Creating a business structure around something you enjoy can be a lot of work. It can take the joy out of a way you really like to serve. You could perform that skill for your community at LSSN.
For instance, say you love to cook intricate meals for others, but don’t want to start a restaurant or a food cart. Every Monday you can cook a big meal for your community. You can ask a pass through cost for the ingredients and cook a beautiful meal. Folks might have the option to eat with you or pick some up on the way home from work. They’ll be getting wonderful food cooked with love. Again, this is one example, the possibilities are endless.
Do something that saves people time – many people, though they may not feel financially secure (almost no one does) may be relatively money rich, but time poor. Many folks in our culture, especially but not exclusively parents, experience extreme time poverty. They may never feel like they have a moment to relax or a moment of reflection to really sink into quality time with the people they care about. This makes us poorer as human beings. So if you have more luxury around time, do something that saves people time. You could do people’s grocery shopping, provide child care, ferry their kids from one activity to another, etc.
Goods and resources – goods and resources can count as time. Maybe you are a crafter, and offer your art as a small cost for materials, plus time. Maybe you make homemade soap, or a special natural fertilizer. How much time it takes for things made in a batch may not be as simple, but let’s work it out together. More Details on Goods and Resources
WHAT CAN I RECEIVE?
Money Savers – You can ask for services you pay for now, that you can receive through the LSSN community. Every dollar you save means a dollar you don’t have to make at work, that can eventually free you from having to do some of the “work” that is not your highest vision and fulfillment. You may enjoy the process of purchasing some of the services in your life. We don’t need to replace these. The goal is to receive what you need in ways where you enjoy not only what you receive, but the process of receiving it.
There are probably some services that would feel better if you received them from participants of your community. Dropping your kids off at daycare might not feel as good as leaving them at the house of a community participant who may well become a friend. You might get a good feeling from giving a massage to someone whose fixed a friend’s gutters two weeks ago. Same with getting your car fixed by someone who receives gifts from people you know and have exchanged with. There is a feeling of reciprocity that just feels good as we receive from folks in our community.
Time Savers – If you are one of the many people who feel like they do not have enough time in their lives, get help from your community. What are things that take your time, but you get no fulfillment from? It can be as simple as cleaning, transporting, shopping, handy chores, etc. Ask for help from your LSSN community participants
What do you dread doing, or are really bad at? – Our modern life is set up so that to run a household you have to have or pay for about 40 skills, from chef to accountant, electrician to counselor. Even in a couple there are often some of those tasks you both dread, or that take forever because neither of you are very good at them. (No one is good at everything, that is why we need community!) For single people this is an even larger issue. Stop doing those things you loathe! There is someone in your community who at least will not be bothered by those tasks, or may even enjoy them.
What would really make your life feel great?! – Really think about this question. There may be services that would really enhance your life, but you have never felt like you could afford them or ask for them. Maybe a ride to the beach, singing lessons, a type of healing work you’ve been wanting to explore. Maybe you have a huge issue like insomnia or back pain that colors your whole life. Maybe a couple of folks with different types of skills and knowledge could work together and be your healing team. Ask for the things that would make the biggest difference in your happiness.
THE ETHICS OF TIME BANK EXCHANGES
An exchange starts when a person who offers a service and the person who needs that service connect. That can happen in person, at a LSSN event, or online when one party sees an offer or request that fits their needs. You will be notified when someone responds to one of your offers or requests. This is where LSSN exchange ethics start. If our exchanges are going to be meaningful, we have to be able to depend on them. And that begins with having responsive communication.
If someone contacts you via LSSN, please respond as soon as possible, preferably within 3 days. If you are busy, feel free to respond with something like this, “Sorry I am too busy to offer that service right now,” or “I am out of town right now, I’ll contact you when I return next Wednesday.” It is OK to not have the time to respond fully to a request, just don’t leave the person hanging. If you will be out of communication for over a week, please contact your Participant Helper or call us at 541-603-3142 and we will temporarily freeze your account so others will not contact you for that period.
When the offering person and the requesting person do make contact, excellent communication will help the exchange go well. Both parties should be clear on what exactly is being asked, when the exchange will be started and finished by, the skills and experience level of the offerer, how many hours they think it will take, and whether their will be a monetary pass through cost for materials.
Don’t assume the other person knows what you are thinking. Check it out and communicate.
When the exchange is finished, one of you, usually the receiver of the service, enters the agreed upon number of hours on the LSSN website. Share appreciation if that fits. If the service is not exactly what you expected, feel free to see if you can negotiate a way it can be exactly the way you want. This does not mean someone “did it wrong”. It is an opportunity for us to get better at meeting each other’s needs.
When you are requested to do a service always check in with yourself, and see if it feels right to agree to do this service with this person at this time. If it does not feel right, feel absolutely free to say no, even if you don’t have a clear reason. However once you have agreed to do a service, please follow through if at all possible. And if there is a problem completing the task, please communicate as soon as possible.
Saying no will not damage the trust we have with one another, but not following through, especially without communication, does damage that trust.
If there is a problem, always begin by communicating with the person involved. We encourage you to assume positive intent on the other’s part. Often people do not know how what they’ve done affected you and are more than willing to make it better.
If you have communicated with the other person and things are still not resolved, or you are not able to reach them to communicate, please contact your Participant Helper or call us at 541-603-3142.
COMPLAINTS, DISPUTES, MEDIATION
It is important to us at LSSN that you are able to count on participants to provide the services they offer. While we hope that every single exchange is a positive one, we also recognize that this is not the customary way of getting needs met in our society and as such, is something we are all in the process of learning. The Mediation Team is here to help you in making successful and meaningful exchanges. Feel free to contact the team with any questions or concerns.
Please contact your participant services team if you:
- have attempted to contact a participant regarding an offer or request they made, and they have not responded to you within a week
- have agreed upon an exchange, and the other participant has not followed through, and you have been unable to reach the person
Mediation Contact Info: 541-603-3142
If you have an exchange that does not meet your expectations for quality of service or communication, first figure out if there is a way to improve the situation now. If there is, ask the other person involved for what you want. (feel free to ask your Participant Helper or the Mediation Team 541-603-3142 for help at any point).
If that communication did not work, or the problem is not something that can be fixed at this point, please contact us and let us know. We will both attempt to find a solution that works for all involved, and pass on necessary feedback. It is a LSSN value that, except in the cases where there is danger or fear of harm, we will ask you to give the feedback to the person directly. We will support you in that process if you request that. Click for some tips on giving and receiving feedback
We do not see the feedback process as a “problem”, but as an opportunity to learn how to meet each other’s needs and communicate in a way that builds community.
The Mediation Team will keep track of feedback received, and in extreme cases, we may choose to suspend someone’s participant status. We expect this will be a very infrequent occurrence.
Lane Service Sharing Network (LSSN) does not do background checks on participants. We encourage all participants to use common sense and safety measures to protect their person and property. We offer a few suggestions and tips for evaluating risk:
- Potlucks and other LSSN events are a great way to meet and get to know participants in a safe environment.
- Read the participant’s profile at LSSN.
- See how many exchanges they’ve had.
- Ask for references
- It is your responsibility to verify someone’s license and insurance or to decide if you are comfortable with the provider’s ability to provide a service that does not require a license.
- Search online for information regarding a person offering professional services
- interview or meet with a trading partner in advance of the trade.
- Bring along a friend, family participant or LSSN buddy.
- Do not invite anyone into your home, your vehicle, or around your children if you are not comfortable, nor should you enter someone else’s home or vehicle if you are not comfortable doing so.
If there is an incident, please notify the appropriate authorities and then notify your Participant Helper when you can.
The Community Chest is a LSSN pool of donated time credits that is used to pay participants and community groups for helping with community projects. Community Chest credits can also be given to participants who for reasons such as illness or disability, are unable to earn enough credits to meet their needs. Use of the Community Chest credits is based on need and is at the discretion of the LSSN Community Chest coordinator or committee.
An individual LSSN participant might use the Community Chest if the participant has a sudden and/or temporary need for extensive help, such as after an accident or surgery. The support might entail light housekeeping, errands and rides to appointments. This would be offered for a limited period.
A LSSN participant suggests a community project, which the LSSN coordination team approves. Community Chest credits are used to ‘pay’ the participant volunteers in the name of the project. Those volunteer participants can choose to add the hours to their individual accounts, or donate all or part of them back to the Community Chest.
The Community Chest is funded various ways:
- For example, a participant teaches a class to 10 other participants. Each participant pays one credit for the hour-long class. The instructor spends two hours prepping for the class and one hour teaching, earning three hours on her account. The other seven hours are given to the Community Chest.
- A participant has excess hours and decides to donate them to the Chest, thereby ‘redistributing the wealth’.
MANY TO ONE AND ONE TO MANY
Not all exchanges will involve one person giving time to one other person. If you offer a class for two hours and 10 people from LSSN attend, they will each enter two hours for your class, but you do not receive 20 hours. You get only the time you spent, plus your preparation time. For example, you facilitate a 2 hour long workshop and 10 LSSN participants attend. The workshop generates 20 participant hours, with 7 of those hours (2 for the time leading the workshop, and 5 for preparation) going to honor the time you contributed. The difference of 13 hours goes into our community chest, which provides hours for time bank sponsored community volunteer events, as well as for participants who are going through a temporary life challenge.
If you have a work party and have 5 people help you move for 2 hours, you do give 2 hours to each person for a total of 10 hours. In some cases you may receive a professional service which requires a team of people to complete. Say you see a doctor for an hour visit and that requires not only the doctors time, but time from a medical assistant and a nurse. They can ask you for time that was spent by each person, so you might give 3 hours for an hour appointment. Consider this a professional work party.