Pilot Community Engagement Program

A hub of resources and tools for basic income pilot organizations and leaders to use in building successful pilots that maximize opportunities for deep community engagement.

Photo by Rod Long

Engage your community

Supporting Pilot Success, Building Towards Policy

The first goal for the PCE program is to support guaranteed income pilot organizations in developing long-term community coalitions in support of basic income. When a pilot ends, a thriving basic income community must remain to advocate for expanding the pilot to broader policy. Income Movement’s primary focus as an organization is to build grassroots coalitions in the fight for basic income. Through events, workshops, activities, direct action, and more, we help pilot organizations educate their partners, participants, and broader communities around the idea of basic income and connect the program to the national movement to fuel long-term engagement within and beyond the pilot.

The second goal of the program is to bring together in one curated experience existing tools, resources, and best practices produced by the pilot community to help organizations find what they need as they do their work. There is a wealth of information and learnings within the community, and the Toolkit section of the PCEP is designed to provide a framework for accessing them. These are a flexible set of resources to support the building of thoughtful and effective programs while providing the space for each to stay true to their unique vision. While Income Movement may be hosting and organizing the Toolkit, it is intended to be shared, utilized, and expanded upon by the greater community of pilot organizations.

Access Toolkit

Increasing Impact

Broader Pilot Goals and Framing the Work

Collectively, the guaranteed basic income pilots that are happening across the United States are working towards specific goals. Below is an exploration into these. Not all pilots focus on all goals, and the decision you make regarding which goals are a priority for your pilot will likely have significant impact on the design of your demonstration.

Give money to people, now
The movement for basic income acknowledges the suffering and struggle that our current economic system wages upon millions of individuals in our society. Basic income pilots offer the opportunity to help people during the long process of passing legislation. While we are fighting for economic justice, pilots allow us to inject direct cash into communities and have an immediate, positive impact on individuals and families across the country.

Inform state and federal policy
There are two different ways that pilots can inform and influence policy: first, the data can illustrate the impact of direct cash across geographies and demographics to legitimize it as a national policy. The second is the ability to test and model systems for implementation and distribution in order to create policy guidelines and potentially develop the pipelines necessary to increase access to direct cash. Identifying gaps in data and designing a pilot to help address these can be an important goal to set for any organization wanting to distribute cash to their community. Similarly, understanding existing questions around pipelines for distribution can help when choosing a partner for that part of your pilot. Unique debit cards, auto-deposits into bank accounts, and other options have different impacts on access for different demographics. Documenting issues, highlighting wins, and bringing these findings together with data from other pilots can help in the design of broader policy.

Pilot Goals


Give Money to People


Inform Policy

  • data illustrating impact
  • implementation and pipelines

Build Support for Basic Income

  • grow local grassroots & coalitions
  • gather stories for narrative change

Build widespread support for basic income
To sway Congress to pass basic income legislation, we need a majority of activated, engaged constituents pushing their elected officials to support it. Without this, we will fail to reach policy. The PCE Program is designed to support pilots in building deeply engaged community members towards this goal. Pilots also have the opportunity to elevate the voices and stories of everyday people to fuel the narrative change necessary for widespread public support for direct cash policy. At its core, basic income challenges strongly held beliefs around deservedness, the definition of our social contract, the idea that we live in a meritocracy and that those who live in poverty are there because of their own poor choices. Pilots are a unique opportunity for participants to share their experiences with our current economic system and the impact direct cash has on their lives. To learn more about this, read Why All Guaranteed Income is Narrative Work by Insight Center and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.

from discovery to analysis

The Pilot Lifecycle



3-12 months

This is the earliest phase of the pilot lifecycle, when an org determines the viability of running a pilot in their community. Information gathered during this phase will inform design.



3-12 months

This is a critical phase for a pilot, when informed strategy fuels the decision making for all aspects of a pilot, including funding, research, distribution, community engagement, benefits impact, and more



3-6 months

This phase includes the application process and initial data collection, participant selection process, initial onboarding of all participants, and first months of distribution where troubleshooting occurs.



12-36 months

This is the full duration of your pilot's distribution of payments to recipients.

Upon completion, some organizations running multiple pilot cohorts return to the Discovery Phase in prep for launching a new effort.



12-24 months

The final phase includes data analysis and report creation, then socializing the results with the community and press. Orgs may share best practices with the pilot community and nurture local coalitions towards longterm advocacy.

The model above shows the lifecycle of a guaranteed basic income pilot. We have identified 5 phases to pilot implementation. Moving through these phases looks different for each organization, and there is often an iterative relationship between them. For instance, you might be in the Design phase and realize that a decision you have made no longer makes sense, so you must go back to the Discovery phase to explore alternative approaches based on the new information you have. Though these phases are not rigid, they can be helpful when discussing processes and connecting your pilot goals to design opportunities for increased impact and efficacy. We have used the lifecycle phases as an organizing structure for the Pilot Guide and Toolkit. Within each phase, you will find an initial list of questions to consider, the tools and resources to increase engagement, along with guidance and tools curated by the Income Movement team and submitted by pilot organizations.

Access the Toolkit

Our toolkit is designed to support and enhance a pilot’s community engagement efforts as an extension of Income Movement’s work in building the broad coalition of grassroots advocates for the movement for basic income. It is a resource guide that offers a curated experience with key processes, best practices, research, and resources.

To access the toolkit, click the link below and get started.


thank you pilot community

A Collective Effort

This guide and toolkit is an effective and efficient way for pilots to come together and create a more unified movement for direct cash. Income Movement has worked with amazing pilot programs from across the country to help formalize the process for creating and conducting pilot programs. The integration of deep community engagement into the process will have a ripple effect across the U.S., leading to state and national policy at an exponential rate.

We would like to extend a personal thank you to all the pilot organizations and thought leaders that have contributed to this toolkit including but not limited to: Economic Security Project, Magnolia Mother's Trust, San Diego for Every Child, Just Income, Denver Basic Income Project and more. If you would like to see the full list of resources incorporated from the community click here.

If you are in any phase of creating a pilot, be sure to join the Guaranteed Income Community of Practice (GICP). GICP is a community coalition of pilot organizations centered on sharing knowledge and best practices. If your organization is interested in providing feedback to this toolkit, sharing best practices to include as a resource, or partnering with Income Movement on community engagement for your pilot, please fill out this form.