Participation Design Strategist

  • Full Time
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Applications have closed

Website PBProject The Participatory Budgeting Project

Job Title: Participation Design Strategist
Participatory Budgeting Project
Brooklyn, NY
$67,500 with health insurance for the fellow, professional development funds, and relocation allowance
Start Date:
August 1 or September 4, 2018

The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is a nonprofit organization that empowers people across the U nited S tates and Canada to decide together how to spend public money. We create and support participatory budgeting (PB) processes that deepen democracy, build stronger communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective. Through our work with partners i n over 26 cities, we have engaged over 320,000 people in deciding how to spend over $200 million. Our organizational practices embody the values of community, democracy, equity, inclusion, and transparency. We believe that more people deserve direct contro l over the public budgets that impact their lives. Learn more at

We are seeking a Participation Design Strategist to work in PBP’s Participation Lab, one of our three program areas. The Lab evaluates, researches, and develops tools and practices to make participatory budgeting and democracy work better. The s trategist will work closely with other staff and partners to develop and test strategies th at improve PBP’s services and PB processes. Through this work the strategist will identify and help implement design solutions that enable participatory democracy to grow and scale, and that advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in civic participation. This will include close collaboration with government and nonprofit staff, community leaders, and user design experts.

This position is great preparation for those interested in a career in the nonprofit or public sectors, including in user experience des ign, human centered design, public participation, civic engagement, program evaluation, service delivery, or public administration. This is a new position that expands PBP’s capacity to make data – informed design decisions as well as to keep pace with the i ncreasing volume and diversity of communities excited about deepening local democracy. Th e position is based out of our Brooklyn, New York , office and reports to the Executive Director, Josh Lerner, PhD.

Key duties and responsibilities:
The strategist’s r ole will vary from project to project based on need, experiment and research design, and other considerations, but will include:
• Crafting a research plan of interviews, focus groups, and/or field observations to understand PB process implementation and ide ntify opportunity areas and new ideas for change;
• Developing iterative experiments, collecting data, and analyzing the results to identify design solutions that make PB easier, more effective, and more impactful;
• Shaping and acting on change strategies tha t start small and soon, but lead to long – term impact at scale;
• Developing and implementing experimental approaches for our clients to prototype new practices of civic engagement;
• Designing internal tools or processes that address strategic and organization issues and foster new ways of working; and
• Shaping PBP’s perspective on participatory process design.

Our ideal candidate is interested in learning quickly and finding new, testable solutions to big challenges, like how to sustain civic engagement. The strategist should know how to find insights from a wide range of inputs and where to push to learn more . The strategist should also be passionate about building systems that advance social change and make government more equitable by making it directly responsive to people whose voices are often underrepresented. Candidates should be eager to learn new skills, but also able to demonstrate the following experience and competencies:

• PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences;
• Comfort with and preference for an iterative, nimble approach to projects ;
• Excellent communication and teamwork skills, including the ability to effectively contribute to and help lead a highly collaborative and democratic organization;
• Ability to balance the often competing needs for rigor and timeliness in data and analysis products;
• Research and/or work experience in program evaluation or related activities, such as interviews, observations in the field, or quantitative data ;
• Strong computer skills, including demonstrated proficiency with Google apps and Microsoft Office;
• Experience working in and/or with nonprofits, governments, and community organizations preferred;
• Experience producing written instructional products geared toward a non – academic audience is a plus ;
• Familiarity with graphic design, user experience/interaction design, or digital survey development a plus;
• Familiarity with participatory democracy, political organizing and/or community organizing is ideal; and
• Ability to travel approximately six times per year across the U nited S tates .


• Information on the Mellon/ ACLS Public Fellows Program:

• All applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application System (
• Application deadline: March 14 , 201 8, 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time