Volunteering at a local community center. Mentoring an at-risk youth. Starting a book club. Helping your friend recover from drug addiction. There are many actions that create positive social utility that are currently uncompensated.
Enter Modern Time Banking. Volunteer activity and community engagement would be tracked by an app and seeded, initially, by the government. After that, local administrators would oversee the program.
You could earn time banking points through:
- Volunteering at a local shelter
- Participating in a town fair
- Coaching little league
- Fixing a neighbor’s appliance
- Working with those recovering from opiate addiction
- Tutoring a local student
and a range of other activities that make your community stronger.
We’ve seen the power of these awards systems to drive behavior through online communities, “free sandwich” punch cards, and special status (e.g. Yelp Elite, Foursquare mayors, etc.).
Signing up for an account would allow you to track your running tally, along with an “unspent” total. As noted above, you could offer time banking points to a neighbor for watering your plants or taking your mail in while you’re away. But there could also be specific promotions where you could trade in your points for special experiences, such as tickets to a local ball game or meeting with a government or civic leader.
There are many things that we want to see happen as a society that the market doesn’t recognize or reward. We need to create a new way of both measuring and rewarding positive behaviors that spurs people to give to and ask more of their neighbors. We could create an entire parallel economy around social good that spurs incredible levels of activity and reconstitutes the fabric of our society.
Problems to be Solved
- Americans spend less time interacting with their community.
- Americans feel disconnected from their neighbors.
- American rates of volunteering have steadily declined over the past decade.
- For “soft” policy initiatives such as fighting obesity, there’s no individual incentive to engage with the initiative.
- Social cohesion
- Human capitalism
- Increase civic engagement
- Increase volunteer rates
- Provide incentives to engage with your neighbors and community
- Make serving the community fun
As President, I will…
- Create a new time banking app to track points awarded and traded for helping your community and neighbors.
- Empower local communities to define what activities they’d like to promote through the use of time banking points.
- Donate all my points to the top-earning high school students in each state.
- Set time banking points prizes for a visit to the White House and a meeting with me and/or fun civic-minded local celebrities.