Budgeting for Engagement

Considerations When Building a Budget for Public and Patient Engagement

1. Compensation for Public and Patient Partners' Time/Energy/Contribution

Compensation may include:

  • A fixed service income hourly/daily
  • An honorarium for attending a meeting or workshop;
  • In-kind compensation or a gift - this can include something that will help empower patient/public partners or help them on a journey to recovery (e.g. tuition for a course, yoga/meditation classes, or updated software for their computer);
  • A donation to a charity of the patient/public partners’ preference; or
  • The patient/public partner may decline payment. 

Make sure to have a conversation with patient/public partners about how they would prefer to be compensated for their time, energy and contribution. 

 2. Care Attendants and/or Caregivers

Some people with lived experience of a health issue(s) may require a care attendant and/or caregiver to attend with them which means factoring in compensation, food, travel and accommodations for them as well.

 3. Transportation

  • Bus
  • Taxi 
  • Car mileage
  • Trains
  • Flights
  • Ferries
  • Luggage costs

 4. Parking

Preferable to have parking passes on hand so people don’t have to pay out-of-pocket or hold meetings/workshops in places that offer free parking.

 5. Caregiving

If public and patient partners have to hire babysitters or put children/grandchildren in daycare in order to attend meetings/workshop.

 6. Interpreters & Translation Services 

For public and patient partners whose first language is not English and/or for patient/public partners who are living with a hearing impairment.

 7. Audio/Visual Equipment 

If public and patient partners are living with a visual impairment or a hearing impairment they may require additional equipment to support and facilitate their participation.

 8. Rental of Accessible Meeting Space 

Some public and patient partners may be differently abled and require wheelchair access or other accessibility options for participating in meetings and workshops. Ensure that the locations chosen are accessible for people of all abilities. Think about safe spaces – this may mean meeting/holding a workshop somewhere in the community vs. at a hospital or university setting.

 9. Accommodations

Hotel rooms for people traveling a distance to attend (people with lived experience of chronic health issues may not be able to travel a long distance in one day – ask if they need accommodations for the evening).

 10. Food/Beverages

It is important to provide food for people at meetings and workshops. Consider potential dietary restrictions and think about healthy snacks and meals.

 11. Printing 

Think about costs of materials to print out, as well as any materials/supplies you may need for your participatory approach.

 12. Elders/Counselors/Supports 

Payment for Elders, counselors or other supports to attend, which may include gifts like tobacco.

 13. Gifts for Speakers (if you are holding a workshop) 

This includes everyone who shares their stories and knowledge with the group. 

 14. Professional Facilitator

Consider if you need a professional facilitator to help keep the conversation going, as well as if there are difficult subjects to discuss.

 15. Conference Fees, Accommodation and Travel

If the opportunity arises for public and patient partners to attend and/or present at a conference on behalf of the research team, make sure that registration, flight, accommodation, ground transportation, food and compensation for lost wages/contribution of time while attending is taken care of in advance and that patient/public partners do not have to incur any out-of-pocket expenses.


 To learn more, check out our blog post: Budgeting for Patient Engagement in Health Research


Downloadable Budget Tool

This free budgeting tool comes in an Excel spreadsheet format and guides you through the process of creating a budget for public and patient engagement and the key considerations that should be made. The file can be edited, saved, and produces a one-page summary that is easily printed or exported for use in funding applications.

Visit our 'how-to' blog for guidance in using this tool: Medium.com/KnowledgeNudge

Online Budget Calculator

This online calculator can be used to take a quick look at the potential costs of a public and patient engagement strategy. The results cannot be saved.

Visit the online calculator