Build a Project for Participatory Budgeting

Explore your tool options for creating a participatory budgeting project.

Written by Kira Hartley
Updated over a week ago

Every government organization should consult with its community when allocating budgets. This will ensure the population's needs are met and provide valuable insights into community priorities.

EngagementHQ is planning a built-in participatory budget tool, but we have put together several options for you in the interim. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list; you may find other solutions better suited for your consultation.

We have built this demo project to help you explore budgeting options. The demo includes some content ideas and several consulting methods with your community.

What to include on your budget project

As with all projects, you should carefully consider what content you include in your project description. You must help your community understand the budget and what the community will be able to influence. Here are some ideas on what you can include:

  • Introduction: briefly and concisely introduce what the project is doing and why you want your community to participate.

  • Explain the budget: describe what your community can influence in the budget.

  • How to get involved: Provide instructions on how your community can participate. This may include links to each method you use or instructions for participating online and offline. You should also explain how you will use their feedback.

  • Widgets: some suggested widgets are the Key Dates, Documents, Timeline, FAQs, and Who’s Listening widgets.

There are several options for different tools. When selecting, keep your community in mind; do you have a large young population who might prefer voting on ideas over a survey? Or maybe you want to gain the community's sentiment or priorities for several proposed capital works projects in the budget.

Whichever tool you use, remember to include instructions on how participants can contribute and what you will do with their submissions.


The Newsfeed is a great way of presenting information to your community in small, digestible amounts. You can list the service areas within your budget and provide a brief description of what is happening within that service area.

If your consultation asks people to prioritize proposed capital works projects, you could also use the news feed to list each proposed project, provide important information, and include any associated costs.

This option is purely informational, and we recommend including it regardless of which engagement tool you select. The content you provide here will help your participants make an informed contribution to your consultation.


You can use three survey questions to help your participant prioritize funding, but you should also include demographic questions if you don’t require registration.

Your options are:

  1. Checkbox with conditional dropdown question: Create a checkbox question with each service as an option. You can limit the number of options participants can choose. For each option, create a conditional dropdown question with your ranking options (1-3 or low-high, for example).

  2. Ranking question: list all service areas in your options, and the participant must assign priority to all options.

  3. Likert question: List the core areas as statements and provide high, medium, or low priority options. Participants will need to rate each option on a scale of low to high.

When writing your questions, tailor them to your consultation and how you want your community to contribute. For example, if you use a Likert question, you can create the most appropriate scale for your consultation.


There are two ways you can use the Ideas tool for budgets:

  1. Use the scheduled voting feature with preset admin ideas. Participants can vote for or comment on ideas and indicate their priorities for funding.

  2. Allow participants to post ideas and use the voting feature to understand areas of concern. This version of the tool should only be used at the beginning of the consultation and is only helpful if you don’t already understand what services you should fund.


As a visual-spatial tool, Places can indicate where proposed major works or redevelopments are planned. You can use this tool for information only by adding pins and information where you already have development planned. Ensure you hide the pins after an admin places them so participants cannot contribute.

Alternatively, you can allow feedback so participants can use preset pins to indicate where they believe major works are needed. In this scenario, you’ll need to create a pin for different categories (Road Work, Park Redevelopment, Facility Improvement, etc.). You can also include some follow-up survey questions for ideas of what they believe needs to be done.

Granicus Service Package

Granicus also offers two templated form solutions. This is a paid service in which we provide templates and assist with building and implementing the content.

We offer two templates:

  1. The respondent has a maximum and minimum spend and must select which services they want to fund; they must be within the max-min spend to submit.

  2. The respondent has a set budget and can choose how to allocate funds to each service. They must balance the budget to proceed.

When the consultation ends, we will build you a custom dashboard to help with reporting and analysis. If you would like to find out more about this service, you can contact your Customer Success Consultant.

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