Troy Shares Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The mission: To strengthen the Troy-area community by multiplying and deepening interactions among neighbors while providing an alternative basis for economic activity.

For more information, call 518-308-8097 or e-mail troyshares@gmail.com

How does it work?
Troy Shares is a time bank, facilitating service exchanges among neighbors in Troy, NY.  Members have access to an online, searchable database of offers and requests and arrange with other members to provide or receive a service.  Alternatively, members can call 518-308-8097 to speak to a Troy Shares Ambassador about exchange recommendations. When a member provides a service for another member, s/he earns one Troy Shares Hour (Hr) for each hour spent providing the service. The giver (member who provided a service) can then exchange each Hr s/he receives for an hour of service from another member.  Members give and receive in equal measure, keeping their accounts balanced.

New members receive 3 Hours for attending an Orientation meeting at which they will meet other members, learn about Troy Shares, and can arrange their first exchange(s).

What are Troy Shares Hours (Hrs)?
When you spend a mutually agreed-upon hour helping another Troy Shares member, one Hour is added to your account and subtracted from the account of the member who received the service. (Quarter- and half-hours can also be recorded.  Members round up their exchange time to the nearest quarter-hour.) Hrs are exchanged at a 1:1 rate for a service offered by another member of Troy Shares, provided the person is willing and available.

What services do members offer and request?
The services exchanged among Troy Shares members encompass many forms of skills and assistance including, but not limited to: animal care, tutoring, cooking, housecleaning, computer help, business guidance, hair cutting, gardening, taxi service, sewing, childcare, teaching crafts and hobbies, yard work, moving, etc.

How do members list and see the information of offers/requests?
Troy Shares has a website, of database-driven design, where members can input information, search offers and requests, and contact other members. (troyshares.org)
Each member has online access to edit their own information, and Kitchen Cabinet members have access to help edit any member’s information.  If members are unable to edit their own information, they may make requests, via phone or e-mail listed on the front, to add or change information. Please update information as necessary. The information gathered at orientations is often entered into the online database and communicated through the listserve and/or newsletter. (We are currently in the process of creating a paper directory. We are looking to have the directory updated and reprinted annually.)  

Troy Shares recognizes the varying Internet accessibility in our community and will always make accommodations for members without easy or consistent access.  Troy Shares only works when it works for everyone.

How do members record and report the exchanges?
Receivers are responsible for then reporting exchange information in a timely manner--within 48 hours. The giver and receiver agree upon the exchange time, rounded up to the nearest ¼ hour. Information to be included in the “report”:

  • Date of Service
  • Description of Service
  • Name of Giver
  • Name of Receiver
  • Number of Hours

There are three ways for Receivers to report exchanges.:

  1. enter it on troyshares.org
  2. email troyshares@gmail.com
  3. call 518-308-8097

With the online database, members are able to input and confirm exchanges and account balances directly on the Troy Shares website.  Once an exchange is entered the giver and receiver both receive an email of the exchange and their resulting balances.

Do I have to live in Troy to join?
If you live outside of Troy, you are welcome to join, however the distance may limit your exchanges. We hope to see Troy Shares grow in size and participation such that members will find a satisfactory variety of offers and requests in their own neighborhoods.  We also hope others will replicate the time bank model in other parts the Capital Region, creating the potential to link local time banks.

What about safety?
Each Troy Shares member is responsible for determining whether s/he is comfortable interacting with another member. We encourage members to meet other members in a public location (such as at one of our skill shares) prior to meeting privately.  Members must make references and credentials available upon request by another member.  We encourage members to check references of other members, especially for highly specialized and/or sensitive services such as childcare.

May minors join Troy Shares?
Membership is open to people of all ages.  

Parent or guardian approval is required for anyone under 18. The parent or guardian is fully responsible for determining if sufficient supervision is provided for the minor for any exchange. Parents or guardians may choose to allow minors to have their own Troy Shares accounts, or may share their own accounts with their underage children.

Is transportation time included in the exchange?
If a member is using his/her vehicle to provide a Troy Shares service (by driving another member, or running errands, etc. as part of the service) then the giver includes the transportation time in the exchange, as the transportation IS the service.  Troy Shares recommends that driving to and from a location to provide a service (for example, driving from your house to a member’s house to weed a garden) does not constitute using your vehicle to provide a time bank service.  However, TS recognizes that some exchanges may involve traveling long distances and/or carrying heavy materials, and therefore entrusts members to negotiate whether or not to include that travel time in the exchange compensation.  

When can I expect a response after I have contacted another member to arrange an exchange?
Troy Shares expects members to respond to e-mail and/or phone calls from other members within two days.  Members should be sure to indicate a preferred method of communication.

How do I inform members when I am unavailable (i.e. out of town, ill, etc.) for arranging exchanges?
Feel free to email troyshares@gmail.com or call 518-308-8097 as to your unavailable dates and/or times.

May members exchange goods in addition to services?
Troy Shares currently does not include the exchange of goods.  Members will negotiate costs if exchanges require materials.

What can I do if nobody is responding to my offers?
If a member finds few or no responses to offers, and therefore has difficulty accumulating Hours, Troy Shares makes the following recommendations:

- Examine carefully the list of services offered.  Is there an oversupply of a particular service offered?  Is the service you offer too specific or specialized to find people who need it?  Is the description of your offer clear?  Have you limited yourself to offering one service?

- Examine carefully the list of requests made by members. Is there a service people need that you can offer that you might not have considered?  Can you adjust your offer to more adequately meet the needs of other members?  

- Use word-of-mouth.  If another member loves the cake you baked, encourage that member to tell other members of your cake-baking skills.  Perhaps people do not yet know you are the next Betty Crocker.

If, after studying the list of offers and requests, making necessary adjustments, and spreading the word, you still receive no response to your offers, please contact us and we will work with you to help increase your participation in Troy Shares.  

What happens if I use up all my hours?
Troy Shares members have a 10 hour line of credit. That is, it is possible for you to go down to negative ten hours. When you spend hours you don't have, that is considered a promise to earn those hours in the future. If you need help finding a way to share your gifts, please contact us .

What is the organizational structure of Troy Shares?
Troy Shares began with a small group of members acting as the organizing body and calling themselves, “The Kitchen Cabinet.” The KC is open to all members. It takes work of all shapes and sizes to run this organization, and there is a job sure to fit any member interested in serving the community this way. Let us know of your interest!