How to Start

How to start a Participatory Budgeting process in your community

Successful campaigns for participatory budgeting, or PB, require a variety of tactics and lots of perseverance!

If you are an elected official please see our report on Next Generation Democracy.

If you are an administrator or staffer please see our new Plan a PB Process Guide.

If you are a student, check out the PB in Schools Guide.

If you are a community organizer, check out the Organizing Toolkit.


Here are a few steps to get started:

1. Learn about PB.

You can start by watching our Intro Video and reading our Organizing Toolkit, Planning Guide, or PB stories.

2. Connect with existing organizing efforts.

Dozens of cities already have ongoing campaigns to bring PB to neighborhoods and schools. Cities that already have PB, like New York City and Chicago, are working to expand and deepen the process. Take a look at the map below to see if there are existing organizing efforts that could use your help.

Blue pins: elected officials advocating for PB. Red pins: community organizing efforts. Purple pins: both elected official and community organizing. Green pins: efforts to expand existing PB processes. View PB Organizing in a larger map. Click on the pins or contact us for more information on any of the efforts above.

3. Identify and Contact Your Local Elected Officials. 

Successful campaigns to start PB require support from elected officials who control budgets. And the best way to get them on your side is to speak with them directly.

Try to set up a meeting with your representative, and contact us if you need support!

Click here to contact local elected officials in your city and county.

Try to set up a meeting right off the bat, and feel free to contact us if you need support!

4. Get resources when you need them

PBP has years of experience planning, designing, and implementing PB, and out of our depth of experience we’ve developed free and client-facing flagship support materials and communities, including: