How Do You Involve Your Community In Budgeting?
Help your community see beyond dollar signs.
The first thing your community needs to understand is it’s not about numbers—it’s about services. What does the community want and need to know about? How is it going to be funded? We need to focus on simplifying the complex details of government budgets into an understandable document.
Always start with authentic conversation. Be authentic about the limitations of your budget; help residents understand why you can only spend a certain amount on projects and what defines a project as a priority. Engaging in genuine conversation is a must, and holding a public hearing will to say you spoke to the community is not going to not cut it.
As the budget conversation continues with your community, let them see “behind the curtain.” With public record, nothing is actually hidden, but by allowing residents to see the more intimate details of budgeting, their perspective may change to find value in the decisions being made. Again, think services, not numbers.
As the budget process wraps up, let the community know if you used their feedback. Remind them you asked for their input and show them how you did or did not use it. If they know their input had influence on a decision, accountability and trust will result.
Could your improve your community involvement in the budget process? If you’re looking for guidance give us a call. We can give you a few tips to get your budget engagement process going in a better direction.