How to kill your Participatory Budgeting in 3 steps

Were you forced to be a Participatory Budgeting (PB) organizer and it’s killing your life without any reward?

Are your citizens demanding a PB process in your city/district but you’re against it and want to see it fail fast?

If you just said yes to any of the former questions please leave! You are not welcome!

The following problems however are of the most importance to those who believe in PB and want to see it work.

  1. Don’t have politician support

Although PB is a process by the people for the people, citizens enjoy seeing the support of their elected officials.

Everyone likes a blessing! And your citizens are no different. They want their mayor (or whatever) to be present and tell them it is ok for them to make choices.

Remember when you were kid and looked up your shoulder to get your parents’ permission? Or when you get positive feedback from your boss? That is the feeling. Citizens know that they’re doing something they’re encouraged to do and are appreciated for doing.

Their significance feeling will rise… and so will your popularity.

  1. Don’t promote

“Far from sight, far from heart”

And you want PB to be in citizens’ hearts right?

Use all means possible to promote your process since the beginning. Create tools so that citizens themselves can help you promote and take on some of the promotion costs.

Be creative! Remember that some of the best publicity stunts ever didn’t cost a lot of money but were made out of creativity.

With Participare for example we created an easy to use share feature in order to promote people to use all kinds of social media around their projects, or the projects they support.

  1. Restrict participation

Have you ever tried to score in a soccer goal with 100 people in front of you?

Making participation easier should be your most important goal for every year. Don’t put barriers such as channel, gender, etc. If someone interacts with your city/district in some way, then should he have a saying? That’s your call!

If you can’t reach them, let your proposal proponents do that job for you!

If not everyone can come to in-person sessions to vote, allow them to do that from their sofa at home, at the hospital or at the day care center! Yes, some of them can’t even walk but they are still citizens and they have a saying!

Writen by César Silva @ ChangeTomorrow

You can reach me at

This blog is a place of experience and thoughts sharing around democracy, participatory initiatives and citizen engagement.

This blog reflects the thoughts of ChangeTomorrow team, its guest bloggers or interviewers.

ChangeTomorrow is a provider of Participatory Budgeting solution called Participare and a spinoff of portuguese market leader WireMaze.

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