Phase 4: Distribution

This phase spans the full duration of the distribution of cash for your pilot. During this phase, which includes the collection of both quantitative and quantitative data, you begin to see the results of all of your planning and work to design a program that can achieve your goals. Qualitative data, via storytelling from your recipients, can be an important way to socialize your pilot with press, elected officials, and other community members via articles and events. This is an excellent time to establish the framework for pilot impact and outcomes and engage a broader discourse locally around direct cash.

This is also a time to continue to focus on educating and inspiring the broader community around the growing movement for federal policy. Designing opportunities for engagement, direct action, and community-building can continue your progress towards the goal of creating widespread support for basic income in your city.

Key Questions to Ask

  • What are different kinds of support and community-building we can offer pilot participants (and potentially their families)?
  • Official data / pilot results will take years to analyze and report. How can we share participant stories and experiences of the pilot's impact with the broader community during distribution? How do we ensure participants don’t feel obligated to tell their stories as part of the program?
  • How can we continue to engage with the broader community during the pilot, to connect the program to the broader movement and feel inspired to advocate for state and national programs? Specifically, how do we build public awareness and political will for basic income among justice-impacted people?
  • What are the messages that we need to cultivate with the public to prime our community for shifts in thinking that will likely happen during the final phase of the pilot?
  • In what ways is participant input being captured that lends itself towards collective and community healing?
  • How do we apply lessons learned during the launch and early phases of distribution as quickly as possible to better serve the program and its participants?

opportunities for engagement

The Power of Storytelling and Narratives

In the Distribution phase, your team needs to focus on solidifying your pilot's messaging and framing and start pushing this out to local, state, and national audiences. Make sure to keep a consistent message and use recipient and broader community members’ stories as the building blocks. When focusing on the functionality of the program, engage in an iterative process that includes checking in with recipients, adjusting as needed, and continuously listening/observing.

Below are different goals for each of the key community groups you will likely engage with during the Distribution phase, and some strategies and resources for you to achieve these goals. As always, please reach out directly to Income Movement to discuss these ideas further. For a full list of reports and resources that are part of the compilation, click here.

Community Groups

Pilot Administrators and Partners

Pilot Participants

General Community Members

Your Team & Local Partners

Successfully weave the stories of recipients and broader community members into the framing and messaging around the pilot.

As a pilot organization, your team will be entering the space around poverty and the social safety net as a narrator. It is incredibly important to use that platform to center the voices of your target demographic to shift the pervasive negative narratives that stop basic income policy from becoming a reality. Using the same language across organizations creates one unified message that people feel is coming from every direction when they dig into the discourse around direct cash programs. To be connected to people doing great work in this space contact Income Movement.

Discuss as a team any issues that arise that cannot be solved by simple troubleshooting to decide on the best course of action.

No matter how much planning your team put into the Design phase, there will most likely be issues that need to be solved by coming to a consensus on the right course of action.


Create a timeline for media engagement that utilizes the stories of recipients and broader community members and start promoting.

Timing your engagement with press and the broader community at important benchmarks for your pilot can make a big impact on excitement around the pilot and on getting involved in the larger movement for basic income.


Have consistent, regular check-ins with recipients to make sure everything is running smoothly and meet with those who are experiencing difficulties.

This is the longest stretch for your pilot and it will undoubtedly run into a few issues. It is important to identify those issues quickly and include the voices of the recipients when trying to solve them.

Consider creating a Storytelling Cohort of pilot recipients that gives them space and opportunities to be part of narrative change work by sharing their voices and experiences with the broader community.

A Storytelling Cohort ensures you root your work in the experience of your recipients and gives them agency and decision making power for how their stories and experiences are used as you socialize your pilot. A space to share their experiences with current economic systems and the impact of direct cash in their lives gives them the opportunity to have impact in both policy design and the cultural narrative shift needed to challenge the harmful, false narratives that perpetuate discrimination and marginalization of our community members.


Broad Community Members

Connect with individuals or a group that would be interested in taking part in a storytelling experience.

Giving space to collect the stories of impacted community members that are not part of the pilot does several things including: (1) establishing a baseline narrative to compare the differences in recipient’s stories, (2) keeping the broader community engaged around the pilot and basic income and (3) centering the voices of people who are impacted most by poverty in your community when discussing policy.

Invite people to a regular update meeting to update the broader community about progress with the pilot and make space for questions.

This is a way to keep the broader community engaged around your pilot and excited about its role in the larger movement for basic income. The frequency of these meetings should be based on the length of the pilot and feedback from the broader community. Try to include something short and fun for people to do at the event.

community resources

Best Practices & Tools

The way in which cash payments are disbursed can have many implications for the recipients and their trust in the pilot program. Prioritizing the recipient’s autonomy, valuing their time, and ensuring that the payments can be accessed without additional fees should be top of mind in this phase. During the Distribution phase, it will also be important to communicate regularly with recipients and stakeholders to keep them abreast of any program developments or updates. If you would like to access the full list of community engagement activities click here.

Stakeholder Engagement

Connecting with the broader community, press, and policymakers will continue to be important in this phase as you collect recipient stories and preliminary findings. These can be used for shifting narratives and illustrating important design features that could be utilized in policy.


Research Methodology

Once launched, the research team will now be able to start collecting data and monitoring the program's implementation. Because pilot programs produce both quantitative and qualitative data, it is important to utilize mixed methods research to determine the holistic impact of the cash payments on recipient outcomes.


Framing Communications

A primary focus during this phase is working with and developing storytelling skills with volunteer recipients. A group of compelling storytellers and a media repository of their stories will be vital when sharing about the pilot and doing work to shift the narratives around poverty.