Get Involved with Participatory Budgeting
Volunteers are essential to the success of PBNYC!
Looking for a new way to get involved with your community, meet new friends, and bring some great new projects to your neighborhood? Come join us as a volunteer!
Volunteers run the entire operation from generating ideas, to developing projects, to seeing project ideas through their final place on the ballot.
Even if you’re new to PBNYC, volunteering can be a great way to connect with your community and get to know some of your fantastic neighbors through the process.
How Can You Get Involved?
1) Give your idea!
During the PBNYC process, community members can submit ideas for projects to improve their community. This process kicks off in the fall at the “neighborhood assemblies.”
2) Become a budget delegate.
Once ideas are submitted, small teams of volunteers research ideas submitted by community members. These volunteers, known as “budget delegates,” talk to community stakeholders, assess needs, tour spaces, research feasibility, and make a lot of important decisions about which projects will make it to the final ballot.
Becoming a “budget delegate” is one of the best ways to see PBNYC in action from the inside out.
3) Help set up events, talk to new voters, or staff a poll-site.
We’re always hoping for an extra set of hands to help us do outreach, set up events, and make sure PBNYC events run smoothly. It also takes a big effort to get the word out to as many voters as possible leading up to vote week.
Our volunteers run this process from start to finish.
What’s it like to be involved in PB?
Your neighbors give you the answer in their own words:
Max Drury and Alissa Schwartz – Mother and Son Budget Delegates
Max at age 13, helped win a $225,000 renovation for his younger sister’s elementary school. Here’s his family’s PBNYC story, as told by his mom, Alissa:
I didn’t choose this path. Max did. Three years ago, I was asked to facilitate a brainstorming session, Max came along, and this year wanted even more. He told me, “I want to join a delegate committee.” This was some serious leveling up. I was intrigued by Max’s interest though, and together we joined the education committee.
Together we researched projects, met with the principals of The Brooklyn New School and The Brooklyn School for Collaborate Studies, crafted a proposal for the studio, tweaked it, and then delighted in seeing it become one of the final education projects on the ballot.
We did it – our project won! Max and I high-fived and whooped and jumped up and down in joy. People told Max that his persuasive speaking helped win their support. We were pumped!
Ben Jones and Bess Hauser: Environment Committee Facilitators
Ben leads District 39’s Environment Committee. Bess was facilitator last year, and this year sits on the District Committee.
As facilitators for the Environment Committee, we work with a team of volunteers who take ideas generated by the community and turn them into tangible proposals to enhance and improve our shared places and spaces. The Environment Committee focuses on projects that make our neighborhood cleaner, greener and more beautiful. In the past we’ve won funding for a community composting facility in Gowanus, street-side gardens, bioswales, and tree pits on key corridors in the District.
At the end of the day, it is the passion, creative thinking and teamwork of the PB Environment Committee volunteers that brings each proposal to the ballot box. As facilitators, we’re just there to make sure that we know how to get there, and that everyone is on the bus for the ride!
Neil Reilly: District Committee Member
As a member of the “District Committee” of PBNYC veterans, Neil and the rest of the committee guide our process and make important decisions about how PBNYC will run:
Just like other PBNYC bodies, the District Committee is composed entirely of volunteers. I joined the committee in Year 2 (fall 2012) after serving as a delegate on the Transit Committee in the inaugural year. Other folks join after serving as committee facilitators or rock-star outreach volunteers.
The District Committee’s main function is to ensure the process upholds PBNYC values. We give feedback to delegate committees, organize outreach events, and tweak the process itself—all with the goal of meeting our commitment to district-wide equity and broad participation.
One example is when last year we decided to lower the voting age to 14. We’ve also brought PBNYC to seniors— holding voting events at senior centers district-wide. This year, we proposed including ballot projects that support local organizations in addition to the standard capital projects.