The Silver Spring Timebank recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. As one of the founding members, I remember thinking, at the launch last January, that all the hard work was finally done! Our founding group of six had put in a lot of time the prior six months.
With the help of New Dream’s how-to resources, and some experimenting and planning, the team was able to set up a basic framework.
We learned from nearby time banks (thanks Greenbelt Timebank and Columbia Community Exchange), and received free and seemingly limitless support from hOurworld Time and Talents. Together, we created our mission, vision, exchange policies, and promotional and orientation materials all needed for the start-up.
But in the last year, as our founding circle expanded to include over a dozen individuals, we have put in more hours than any of us ever anticipated. We’ve done so with amazing energy and dedication because it’s been such fun hearing about the wonderful exchange stories like new puppy help, early morning rides to the airport, resume counseling, French lessons, and bike repairs.
Even more, we’ve happily given our time and talents to keep building the Silver Spring Timebank because we’re thrilled to see a community of new connections develop…one hour at a time.
During the first few months, our main focus was on getting new members. We partnered with community organizations that offered us space for orientations, and we organized potlucks and happy hours for new members to get to know each other.
Each month, the leadership team met and we congratulated ourselves on the growing membership: 25…50…75 members! We anxiously tracked the various exchanges, and always wished there were more! We posted member stories on Facebook and Twitter, and we “tabled” at community markets to spread the word.
A turning point came when over 15 people attended a monthly leadership team meeting in the late spring. The group was full of enthusiasm and ideas, but it was unwieldy, and so many voices made it hard to decide on next steps.
We realized then we had enough people and commitment to split up into teams. And then, individuals made their offers to help based upon their strengths, their gifts, and what they liked to do, just like timebanking offers, and those teams have been wonderfully successful!
We celebrated our first-year anniversary with 130 active members and hundreds of hours worth of exchanges. There’s lots on the agenda for the time bank’s next steps, and keeping the momentum going will be critical. Working on the strengths, interests, and gifts of the leadership team has been one key to our success.
Building connections within the team and within the time bank as a community has been energizing and is what truly excites us to keep growing the Silver Spring Timebank…one hour at a time…one year at a time.
Mary Murphy is on the Leadership Team of the Silver Spring Timebank and is a former New Dream Volunteer Coordinator for Maryland.