Taking off

Phase 3: Launch

This phase usually takes several months and includes the application launch, participant selection process, initial onboarding of all participants, and first months of distribution where troubleshooting occurs. This phase will include your first point of contact for many of your community members - some pilots receive applications for more than 20X the available slots. The design of the application process and all communications should help establish trust with the newly engaged.

This is an opportunity to differentiate your pilot from the often dehumanizing programs led by the public sector.   Remember, previous to this phase, all broader community engagement has been to either educate folks about the pilot and basic income, or learn from the community for the sake of pilot design. It is during this phase of the program that the community is divided into two camps: recipients, and non-recipients. Not being chosen as a participant can be a devastating experience for many applicants. Design a process and communication strategy for this phase that addresses this by helping set expectations ahead of the application process, communicates their status / role thoughtfully, and provides additional opportunities for engagement with non-recipients (events, experience sharing, etc.).

Key Questions to Ask

  • What does an application and recipient announcement process look like that builds trust with the broader community and pilot participants? How do we design a thoughtful process that anticipates and alleviates the disappointment of community members not chosen to participate?
  • How can we design the pilot application process to balance the need for an easy application process with the need for gathering robust data?
  • How can we and trusted partners support the community through the application process via education, tech support and more?
  • What does an inclusive process look like for creating and translating the written communications that are being shared with participants?
  • What are the various channels for communication with applicants, and which is most appropriate at key moments to help us maintain trust and gather feedback?
  • What does the onboarding flow for participants look like and how many people do we need to support them as they join the program and receive their first monthly payments?
  • How do we protect the privacy, safety and overall health of participants through the launch process?

opportunities for engagement

A Time to Establish Positive Relationships

The Launch phase is a time to see your pilot’s design in practice. Each of the community groups that are part of your pilot will engage in this stage of the process differently: for community partner organizations, they might help with events and activities surrounding the application process; for many general community members this will be their first time learning about the pilot, sharing the opportunity with their community and applying to participate; pilot participants will be interacting with the administrative side of your program for the first time,  receiving their first payments and sharing their experiences.

Below are different goals for each of the key community groups you will likely engage with during the Launch 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.If you would like to access the full list of community engagement activities click here.

Community Groups

Pilot Administrators and Partners

Pilot Participants

General Community Members

Your Team & Local Partners

Maintain positive processes with partners around program iteration and application and launch problem solving.

There may be issues that arise during the launch phase that are beyond technical issues and need to draw from expertise from your partner coalition towards building consensus around a solution. Lean on the skills and experiences of your partners to ensure you protect and support the recipients and the broader community during this time.

Establish a strong coalition of organizations to nurture positive community interactions and communications.

The Launch phase is the first time that many individuals and groups of people will first interact with the pilot program. The organizations you have partnered with can help outline strategies for socializing and communicating information with potential participants, and establish contingency plans for if people feel overwhelmed, defeated, or let down through the process. Finding times to celebrate and share positive energy across the broader community is also a priority.


Establish with recipients that they are contributors to the pilot and the movement working towards broad implementation.

This will be your first interaction with community members as recipients of the pilot. Connect them to the broader work happening in the policy space and communicate that they are more than participants, they are contributors to the information needed to inform human-centered national policy. Find opportunities to connect with recipients that are fun, positive and establish a sense of community.

Broad Community Members

Invite community members to a launch event where they can learn more and receive support through the application process.

Having a launch event with on-site support can make the process of applying feel less daunting to interested community members. Including an engaging activity can also get people excited about the movement for basic income and see how this pilot fits into it.

Anticipate and provide support for community members not selected for the pilot to encourage continued support for the program.

Utilize your partner coalition to create a network of other services and resources that non-selected community members can access. Applicants are most likely applying because they need help, make sure that when you inform people that they have not been selected that you are able to offer them other services or resources that can help.

community resources

Best Practices & Tools

Engagement and trust play a big part in this phase of the pilot lifecycle. Below are different resources to consider as you bring awareness to your program and lay the foundation of trust for your target demographic and your broader community. For a full list of reports and resources that are part of the compilation, click here.

Stakeholder Engagement

During the launch phase, engagement with press and the general public becomes important to create excitement around the pilot and inform a larger audience that the application process is open.


Demographics Targeting

Sourcing and enrolling is a process that requires early trust-building with potential recipients. To combat the understandable skepticism recipients might have about a “free money” program, the launch of your pilot should prioritize ease and transparency in the application process and take into account the lived experiences of the target demographic to avoid burdensome paperwork or invasive questions.


Human-Centered Design

Complimentary programs or wrap-around services should be considered and put in place for recipients and applicants. In most cases, including these services will improve outcomes for your recipients. Additionally, making these services available to non-chosen applicants can increase the trust the larger community has for your organization.