Q: How much is a Community Credit (CC) worth?
A: In order for our Time Bank system to remain tax-free we do not assign a US dollar value to our Community Credits. When exchanging goods in ORE like bread or a knit hat, the cost is still based on the number of hours the service takes to complete, with the cost of materials paid by the receiver. As a reference for calculating the benefit of a Time Bank system to the community in terms of economic activity, the value of a volunteer hour in 2006 was estimated to be $18.77.
Q: Is there a minimum age requirement in ORE?
A: No! We believe everyone, young and old, has something to offer. Youth can offer services for navigating the computer and internet, yard care, pet sitting, crafting, volunteer projects, and more! Please do take care however to exchange safely: meet in a public space with a parent or guardian nearby!
Q: Do I have to live in Montpelier to be part of ORE?
A: No! We chose the name Onion River Exchange because we encourage members of the communities outside Montpelier to be involved as well. We currently have members from all across Central Vermont.
Q: So you’re saying that an hour of acupuncture is the same as shoveling a driveway?
A: Exactly! Exchanging services in ORE is in no way meant to replace your going rate for your services in the cash economy. We encourage you to think beyond your chosen career or profession and offer your hobbies or specialties too!
Q: And what about going into debt?
A: Going into debt is 100% ok and even necessary to make our system work. The ideal balance is ZERO because our members should be providing as many services as they are taking. An exchange happens when one person receives a service (a negative transaction) and the other one provides the service (a positive transaction).
In the Exchange, it’s equally irresponsible to rack up tons of credits, as it is to go way into the negative. We’re all programmed to think of debt as bad: ORE needs your debt!
Q: How much does it cost to become an ORE member?
A: We ask for members to contribute an annual donation to help us pay our overhead: full-time staff, office supplies, etc. We ask individuals to donate $25, households $40. If you’d rather make your donation in time, we ask that you provide two hours of services to the Exchange–fundraising, outreach, office work, or help on a special project. Contact the coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to make a time donation.