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How nonprofits can leverage online budget consultation

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Much like municipal governments – school boards, labour unions and residents’ associations must ensure that their directions match the preferences and needs of their membership. While in-person consultations and annual meetings are important and effective tools for reaching consensus, there are many limiting factors such as time, travel and knowledge that can hinder participation in these events. With an online consultation, your organization can quickly and easily collect input from your members to help guide your budget decisions.

Not every organization uses the same budget process or planning strategy. Fortunately, Citizen Budget is extremely customizable. Whether your organization needs to consult members on your annual budget, the budget for a single project or campaign or even another government’s budget or policy decisions, Citizen Budget can help you display this information and offer budget choices through a user-friendly, interactive interface that effectively communicates the impacts of the respondent’s choices in real-time.

Some ideas for a Citizen Budget consultation include:

  • A student union asks undergraduate students to re-allocate a portion of their student fees to better support or create new programs and services
  • An environmental NGO challenges members of the public to balance the environmental and financial costs of proposed government policies
  • A local councillor solicits feedback on how to spend their discretionary spending budget in their municipal ward
  • A school board consults parents on what capital expenditures a grant should go towards

Since launching Citizen Budget in May 2011, our expertise and understanding of what makes a great online consultation has grown dramatically. Having successfully run eight municipal consultations, we are eager to identify ways in which Citizen Budget can help other kinds of organizations engage their membership and create easy, meaningful and fun consultations! If you would like to explore how Citizen Budget can help you achieve your engagement goals, please contact us at info@opennorth.ca.

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