The Peoples’ Budget is a customizable web-based budget simulator game designed to give citizens a better idea of the process of delegating government funds. In order to design the game, municipal agencies or civic organizations first input a budget outline and set minimum and maximum thresholds for each office, department, or any other recurring expense in the game that participants must adhere to. Pictures and descriptions are added to each expense so that participants are informed about its purpose while delegating money and will learn more about the inner workings of government agencies. Quick polls can also be added to ask participants customized questions for more specific insight into an area of the budget.
Once the game is designed, it should take a player, on average, 10-15 minutes to play. Each participant is logged in via Facebook, Google, or e-mail to keep results reliable. They first start with a certain amount of funds that they must delegate to each government office and expense. In order to complete the game, they must submit a balanced budget and fund all expenses in the specified threshold.
After a number of participants have played the game, agencies and organizations can access the analytics tool that tracks engagement and participant results in order to find general trends in the budget distribution. This data can be downloaded into detailed reports as raw data or infographics.
A video introduction to The Peoples’ Budget can be found here.
The Peoples’ Budget was created by the Participatory Budgeting New Orleans campaign of the Committee for a Better New Orleans.