Fund My Neighbourhood

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  • 2018

  • Digital Design
    Web Design and Development

Designed By:

  • Department of the Premier and Cabinet (South Australia)

Commissioned By:

Department of the Premier and Cabinet (South Australia)

Designed In:

Australia

Fund My Neighbourhood is one of the biggest participatory budgeting projects ever run, empowering South Australians to decide how $40 million is spent. Locals nominate improvement projects that they would like to receive government funding in their local area. The community then votes on which projects the government should fund.


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  • The challenge was to design and custom build an online voting tool that allowed people to vote for projects in their local area, that couldn’t be exploited or gamed, and provided everybody in the state with equal opportunity to influence the results of the program. Voting needed to be quick and easy to ensure wide participation. But the integrity of the program was also crucial, and we needed to encourage people to carefully consider how the grant money was spent - this is a key aspect of Participatory Budgeting. Most importantly, all voting data had to be secure and accurate.

  • Two distinct voting journeys were created, creating a clear and robust user experience. A ‘smart map’ restricted users to vote for projects within 5km of where they lived. In regional areas with lower populations, this distance expanded to display at least 30 projects. A map view allowed people to easily locate projects in their neighbourhood, via pins centred on their address. A quick-vote journey displayed all projects in a list, ordered by proximity to the voter’s address. Voters saved their preferred projects in a shortlist before ultimately deciding which projects they wanted to see funded and submitting their vote.

  • In 2017, South Australians allocated $20 million of public money through Fund My Neighbourhood. More than 2,500 applications were received, and more than 33,000 South Australians cast almost 122,000 votes. The program had significant social impact, successfully motivating many people to participate in improving their communities. Around 130,000 people visited the website during the program’s voting period, suggesting an impressive 25% conversion rate from ‘visitor’ to ‘voter’. Notably, two-thirds of users who started the voting process finished, demonstrating the effectiveness of high-quality user design. 204 projects were funded, including improvements to parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities, environment and arts projects.

  • The Fund My Neighbourhood website was custom built specifically to meet the objectives and needs of the program. This included the structure of the site as well as custom forms and workflows to assist with the efficiency of running such a wide-reaching program. During the applications phase, users were able to view their project submissions in a ‘preview’ mode, which offered crucial insight for applicants who would not have known what to expect from a first time grant program. Eligible projects then automatically flowed through to the public voting phase. During the voting phase, user prompts assisted voters through the voting process. This was a great way to maintain the integrity of the process by not oversimplifying the system, while at the same time making it as user-friendly as possible to involve a diverse range of people in the decision-making process. Two factor authentication, primarily through text message, was introduced to stop people voting more than once, and people were required to support between 3 and 5 projects. For successful projects, a user dashboard was created to link multiple people to a project to store information and maintain updates on the progress of projects as they are delivered.