Why Use Balancing Act?

Each local government is unique and has its own reasons for wanting to connect with residents on financial issues. Based on work with hundreds of professional managers and elected officials, here are some of the goals that we hear the most:

AN ACCESSIBLE, COMPREHESIVE YET SIMPLE WAY TO DEMONSTRATE FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Many local governments make financial information available online to residents. At its most basic level, PDF's of annual budgets, CAFR's, and other documents can be easily downloaded. An increasing number of governmental organizations are also using data visualization tools to graphically display this information. While it’s critical to share this information, the documents and online visualizations are complex and offer little or no explanatory information for the user. Using these documents minus any context or education may lead to the opposite of the intended goal of building trust.

CREATE UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT FOR TOUGH DECISIONS THAT NEED TO BE MADE

Public officials are often criticized by the public, who often speak from a narrow perspective and with limited factual and historical knowledge. Simulations have the power to put the public in your shoes and asks what they would do with the real-world constraints you face and the competing demands for scarce resources. Simulations bring would be critics to a more realistic place where they can become joint problems solvers rather than critics lacking information. The public may not always agree with you, but they will at least better understand your decisions and respect your rationale for making them.

INCREASE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND TRUST

When it comes to local government, residents want services provided efficiently and effectively, and, when they take the time to communicate with staff or elected officials, they want to know that someone is listening. Two-way communication with residents is essential so that when tough challenges arise there will be greater capacity for constructive dialogue and less uninformed ranting. Interactive simulations provide an easy way to get informed input on priorities and stimulate creative ideas to improve programs.

Why Balancing Act is the right tool for you

  • Easy to use with embedded help text, pre-loaded descriptions and a simple onboarding process
  • Customizable online simulation page with unique URL and ability to upload your own logo
  • In-depth, aggregated data reports on resident budget priorities, including qualitative feedback
  • Optimized for the complexity of public budgets—not simply a discussion forum
  • Constantly-growing catalogue of background research, best practices and standards that you can include as you wish
  • Hosted on our servers