Favour exchange

Image by sinisterbluebox from flickr creative commons

Times are hard for some and are likely to get harder still in the coming months. I know this because I’m self employed.

Recently I wanted the services of an animator for a little project I’m working on but knew that I couldn’t afford to pay someone the commercial rate for their services. Then I thought maybe there is a self employed animator out there who could do with some extra work but also needed some illustrations for a project they were working on You can see where this is going can’t you ? (By the way, if you aren’t following this yet, I can do illustrations.)

Then it hit me! If there was some kind of ‘favour exchange’ where people could go to swap their skills, then bigger projects could get kick started with very little funding needed. All we needed was some kind of database, a method of keeping track of who had done what with a feedback mechanism and maybe some kind of voucher system to use as currency.

Any scheme though would have to be fully thought out before it started so that contributors could be confident that it would take off and continue into the future. To do this requires the talents of someone other than me and Richard (as talented as we are!) as we don’t possess the necessary skills or experience.

At this stage, we’re looking to set up a meeting of interested parties to discuss the feasibility (of course it’s possible!) of such a scheme, the willingness of the steering group to put the time in and possible pitfalls to avoid. It might also be worth looking at grant funding for the initial push.

The suggested meeting date is January 21st (this is purely to get the ball rolling, the date can be changed to suit most people who want to contribute) at 8 pm on Google Hangout (if people prefer meeting in person, please suggest a venue).

Who’s coming?

Addendum: It would appear that others have had a similar idea and have already put something into practice. Thanks to those people who pointed me to this;



  1. Not sure I can do that date but happy to help. Just think about whether you wish to create a culture of exchange and reciprocity or one of generosity and giving? A bank is a bank whether it accounts for cash or time. Building a culture of generosity has much to do commend it.

    • Thanks Mike. I like the idea of a time bank because it minimises the extent to which overly-generous people are taken advantage of (they may not see it as being taken advantage of but I’ve seen this situation develop and it doesn’t help anyone in the long run). The idea of equanimity is central to a scheme that is sustainable.

      There’s also nothing wrong in principle with a bank. Credit unions and micro-loans are banks too.

      • Read the story below for a possible solution. Have a happy Christmas!

        • I am reading it, but it’s a long read.


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