Summary Best Practices for Inclusive Participatory Budgeting
Christina Plerhoples Stacy, Martha Fedorowicz, Becca Dedert
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Localities across the US and abroad are implementing Participatory Budgeting (PB), a process through which residents are asked to propose ideas for how to spend a set amount of funds before voting to determine the winning projects. Although municipal governments often implement PB as a method of increasing civic engagement and elevating community voice, historically excluded residents must be intentionally engaged throughout the process to achieve these goals. This fact sheet highlights the following best practices for increasing inclusion to ensure all residents’ voices are lifted through the PB process:

  1. Dedicate adequate funds to PB projects and to planning for PB activities
  2. Use funding sources that can be spent on things other than capital projects
  3. Prioritize engaging people with low incomes, people of color, and other historically excluded people
  4. Pay people for their time
  5. Provide many options for discussion and voting
  6. Combine PB with broader education about the city budget and opportunities for prioritizing larger budget issues
  7. After voting is finished, follow up with community members on all decisions, on next steps, and to debrief on their experiences with PB
  8. Track and monitor your goals around outreach and inclusion
  9. Once you have successfully piloted PB in your city, craft legislation that ensures PB will continue over time
Research Areas State and local finance Taxes and budgets
Tags Community engagement Equitable development Structural racism in civil society and civic participation
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center Research to Action Lab
States New York
Cities Rochester, NY