Conducting an budget allocation exercise + 📹

Allow your audience to prioritize and select their favorite ideas. Shopping basket, tokens, valuta, participatory budgeting, budget game.

Stijn Zwarts avatar
Written by Stijn Zwarts
Updated over a week ago

In this video we show you how the ‘budget allocation’ participation method (or participatory budget, i.e. PB project), which can be used on its own or as a phase in your overall project timeline. We will ccover how to establish a budget and then facilitate participants selecting their preferred projects that fits within that budget. You can also give participants the opportunity to submit their own project ideas with an identified budget.


  • This tool facilitates thinking around how to balance priorities with available budget

  • The tool has an educational component: citizens see the challenges of allocating public budget

Extra info step by step:

You're ready to set-up a Participatory Budgeting project? Great! We'll get you going in 5 easy steps.

  1. Create a PB phase inside a project

  2. Decide which ideas you want to include in your PB exercise and assign a 'price' to each idea

  3. Set the participants' minimum and maximum budgets

  4. Collect the results

1. Create a PB phase

Once you've created a project, you can start adding phases. In most cases, a participatory budgeting project will have:

  • An ideation phase: in which users can post and vote for ideas

  • An information phase: in which you can take the time to discuss and consider the proposed ideas and decide which ones to include in your PB exercise

  • A PB phase: in which the users can select their top ideas - they can choose as many ideas as they want, as long as they stay within their budget. You can also require users to select an exact number of ideas, rather than prioritizing ideas using a budget.

You can add additional information phases where needed (e.g. at the end, to inform users about the results).

To create a PB phase, you simply select 'Conduct a participatory budgeting exercise' when setting up your project or project phase.

2. Decide which ideas you want to include in your PB exercise.

In the PB phase, participants can no longer submit their own ideas (as an administrator, you can always add new ideas).

You can either add your own pre-determined ideas to this exercise or you can use existing ideas that have been posted to the platform (e.g., from a previous phase). You can easily move an idea from a previous phase to include it in your Participatory Budgeting exercise, using the Input Manager.

Once you've made your final selection, you'll want to set a price for each idea so the users know how much it would cost.

3. Set the project budget

When you set up your project, you can decide what is the minimum and maximum budget that a participant has to work with.

For instance, you might require participants to select at least $5000 worth of projects (minimum budget) and up to $50,000 (maximum budget). If they exceed their budget, the participant will be prompted to remove one or more projects from their 'basket.'

You can also require participants to prioritise their top projects, instead of allocating a budget. To do so, set the minimum and maximum budget to be exactly the same. For instance, if the minimum and maximum budget are both '3 credits' and each idea in your PB project is worth 1 credit, the participant will be required to select exactly 3 ideas.

(Note: by default, your PB projects will be based on your country's default currency. However, you can request to change your currency unit to 'credits' or 'tokens' if you prefer a more generic unit. Please get in touch with to request this change)

4. Collect the results

Every time a participant selects a project to include in their basket, this is recorded in the back office in the project's input manager. You can see how often a project was selected in the 'picks' column - simply order the ideas by the number of picks to discover which ones were selected the most often.

Don't hesitate to reach out to if you have any questions.

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