Invitations matter - a lot. The way a person is invited into a space, a process or a software tool determines how they behave in or with it.
Do not underestimate the importance of clear invitations and onboarding, because these initial behaviors set an important precedent for all future behaviors and the culture of the group.
Designing the onboarding experience
From the moment a new member of your organization is invited into your collaborative budgeting process, it is important to think about what experience you would like the members to have and which behaviors you want to support.
Money can be a sensitive and emotional topic for many people. Only a small number of people traditionally engage in budgeting processes, which means that this topic may be outside of the comfort zone of the majority of group members. Hence it is important that people don't feel intimidated by the initiative and feel safe enough to jump in (and not be afraid to fail!).
There are some key elements you may want to include in your onboarding toolkit for new users. Here is a list with links to examples from existing Cobudget groups:
Links to examples of successful proposals | see example
Communication channel or group dedicated to onboarding
Questions that will help you design your onboarding experience:
Who would you like to participate in your participatory proposal process?
Is this an open process or invite only?
Are you targeting people who already feel comfortable developing and pitching ideas and making financial decisions, or is your objective to bring in people who are new to this?
How easy should it be to participate?
What type of behavior would you like to encourage - competition or collaboration between proposers?
Don't be fooled: even if your target audience is very knowledgeable about these topics, basic onboarding is always needed. No matter how much expertise your users may have, being clear about the steps for joining is important and will have a big impact on the level and quality of engagement you can achieve.