How to Use CHI’s New Public and Patient Engagement Budgeting Tool
A Downloadable (and Printable) Excel Tool for Creating a PE Budget
Download the tool for free (in Microsoft Excel format) by visiting our PE Budgeting page. You can also use our web-based online calculator to take a quick look at potential engagement costs (note the online version cannot be saved).
The George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI)’s Public and Patient Engagement (PE) team developed this tool to provide guidance in budgeting for meaningful and inclusive patient and public engagement in health research. The spreadsheet incorporates considerations addressed in Carolyn’s blog on Budgeting for Public and Patient Engagement.
What is the tool?
The budgeting tool is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, consisting of 4 worksheets/tabs:
1) The main Budget Builder worksheet, which guides you through the overall process of developing your engagement budget;
2) The Compensation Builder worksheet, which helps determine how patient and public partners will be compensated;
3) The Inclusivity & Accessibility worksheet, for additional supports and considerations for patient and public partners who may be differently abled, and;
4) The Budget Overview worksheet, which summarizes your engagement costs. The summary can be printed and/or used in grant and other funding applications.
How do I use the tool?
As mentioned at the top of this page, begin by visiting our Budgeting for Engagement page on CHI’s website, and downloading the Excel file (see image below).
After opening the Excel file, you can begin answering the budget questions in the empty white boxes provided. Fields that are grey are automatically calculated values, based on your answers.
Any questions that do not apply to your specific situation can be left blank (except for the preliminary questions, which are required).
We recommend you begin with the Budget Builder worksheet.
The remainder of this article will walk you through how to use the tool. We recommend downloading the tool and following along as you read the remainder of this post.
WORKSHEET 1: Budget Builder
Answer the questions in order, beginning with Section 1. Preliminary Questions.
Section 1. Preliminary Questions
These three questions are required to determine your costs for related activities, supports, etc. and can be changed at any time should you decide to change the number of meetings, duration of meetings, or number of attendees per meeting.
If you are unsure of costs for any of the following questions or items, you can leave these blank and move on to the next question. You will still be able to come back and add in additional items at any time.
Section 2. Engagement Activity Costs
This includes considerations of compensation, refreshments or meals, facilitation services, support services, and other potential needs for authentic and meaningful participation. The first question (2.1 Compensation) in this section refers you to the Compensation Builder worksheet, to determine how your patient and public partners will be compensated for their time, energy, and expertise. Click the blue hyperlink to use the Compensation Builder to complete this question (can be done immediately, or after completing the rest of the questions in the Budget Builder worksheet).
Other questions in this section ask about general meeting needs, as well as accommodations for patient and public partners who may be differently abled and require additional supports to be fully and meaningfully involved in the engagement activities — these have hyperlinks to the Inclusivity & Accessibility worksheet.
Both the Compensation Builder and Inclusivity & Accessibility worksheets have blue hyperlinks to return you to the main Budget Builder worksheet at any time.
Section 3. Meeting Costs
In this section, you should include potential costs for meeting locations or venues, any equipment required, and any additional meeting costs — there are sections to enter notes about of these additional costs under questions ‘3.3 Disposables’ (titled ‘NOTES’) and ‘3.4 Additional Meeting Costs’ (titled ‘ADDITIONAL COST 1/2/3’). You can edit these fields for your own reference, but they will not appear in the Budget Overview summary.
Section 4. One-Time Costs
This section is for additional one-time costs such as sponsoring a patient or public partner to attend a conference, course, or other activity; pay for a research or engagement coordinator; purchase required software or hardware; and other needs for inclusive and meaningful engagement. You can edit the fields titled ‘ADDITIONAL COST 1/2/3’, but these will not appear in the Budget Overview summary.
5. Contingency Fund
While the questions in this spreadsheet are intended to help research teams consider as many possible needs for conducting inclusive and meaningful patient and public engagement, input from patient and public partners will ultimately influence the engagement process. For this reason, we strongly suggest incorporating a contingency fund to ensure all activities are responsive to the needs and desires of patient and public partners.
These funds are only to be used for engagement activities, and only where partners have identified the opportunity to add unexpected value to the impact of engagement (e.g. additional meetings, supports, or activities), or where unexpected circumstances require additional spending (e.g. replacement of equipment or materials due to damage or theft).
Once you have completed the appropriate sections in the Budget Builder worksheet, you will be provided with ‘Total estimated patient and public engagement costs’, which will also appear in the Budget Overview worksheet. If you have not yet done so, move on to the Compensation Builder worksheet to determine how (and how much) you will pay your patient and public partners.
WORKSHEET 2: Compensation Builder
Compensation refers to paying patient and public partners for their time, energy, and expertise. Note that this is NOT the same as reimbursement (covering expenses incurred by partners because of their participation in the engagement activity). Reimbursement is addressed in the Budget Builder worksheet.
There are different ways you can compensate patient and public partners, but note that (in Canada, at least) these may all have tax implications that will impact individual patient and public partners differently depending on their circumstances. All forms of compensation may be considered income by the Canada Revenue Agency and need to be reported accordingly. For more information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/personal-income/amounts-that-taxed.html.
There are three primary ways in which patient and public partners may be compensated. First and foremost, the decision of how to compensate partners should be determined through dialogue with the individuals receiving compensation and their personal preferences. This may include non-traditional compensation, charitable donations, or declining compensation altogether.
1. Fixed Service Income
This refers to an hourly/daily rate for involvement of patient and public partners in engagement activities, and includes related calculations based on the numbers entered in Section 1. Preliminary Questions in the Budget Builder worksheet. This form of compensation is most appropriate if multiple, shorter duration meetings are planned for the engagement activity.
2. Honoraria (One-Time Payments)
This refers to a single payment for patient and public partner involvement, based on the number of partners entered in ‘Section 1. Preliminary Questions’ in the Budget Builder worksheet. This form of compensation is most appropriate if only one or two meetings are planned for the engagement activity.
3. In-Kind Compensation
This refers to one-time payments that are not offered in the form of cash or a cheque — this could include, but is not limited, payment on behalf of a patient or public partner for a course or conference registration, purchase of a product or software for a patient or public partner, or some other form of non-traditional compensation. This form of compensation is most appropriate if only one or two meetings are planned for the engagement activity, and if this is the preferred mode of compensation by partners.
Once you have completed one of these sections, use the hyperlink to return to the main Budget Builder worksheet.
WORKSHEET 3: Inclusivity & Accessibility
This worksheet addresses additional considerations from the Budget Builder worksheet including ‘2.5 Communication’, ‘2.6 Caregiving’, ‘2.8 Travel’, and ‘2.9 Assistance’. The majority of these accommodations ask that you enter an hourly rate, and calculate the estimated totals based on the duration and number of meetings you entered in ‘Section 1. Preliminary Questions’ in the Budget Builder worksheet.
A. Interpretation & Translation Costs
This section is related to ‘2.5 Communication’ in the main Budget Builder worksheet, and should be completed if any or all patient partners require interpreters or translators to fully and meaningfully participate in the engagement activity. Question A.1 asks how many interpreters/translators are required for each meeting — some patient or public partners may require these services where others do not, or one interpreter/translator may be able to serve more than one partner at a time. However, if you are unsure, it is best to budget for one interpreter/translator per partner requiring these services. If there are no partners who require these services, you can leave this section blank and skip to the next, or return to the Budget Builder worksheet.
B. Childcare & Caregiving Costs
This section is related to ‘2.6 Caregiving’ in the main Budget Builder worksheet, and should be completed if patient and public partners require childcare or caregiving for adults (such as elderly or ill family members) in order to attend and participate in engagement activities. Note the compensation figure does not already take into consideration these extra expenses. You can enter the number of patient and public partners requiring childcare and those requiring caregivers as separate numbers.
C. Costs for Travel from Rural and Remote Locations
This section is related to ‘2.8 Travel’ in the main Budget Builder worksheet, and should be completed if any patient or public partners need to travel from remote locations (or if researcher teams need to travel to remote locations) to fully and meaningfully participate in engagement activities. This section includes questions about how many individuals will need to travel, as well as accommodation and travel costs (including travel companions where needed, although many airlines will make accommodations).
D. Costs for Partners Who May Be Differently Abled
This section is related to ‘2.9 Assistance’ in the main Budget Builder worksheet, and should be completed if any patient or public partners require special assistance (in the form of a personal care attendant or assistive devices) to fully and meaningfully participate in the engagement activity. For more information on these types of accessibility services and products, visit the Independent Living Resource Centre ( https://ilrc.mb.ca/ ) and Canadian Assistive Technology’s list of disability resources by province at https://canasstech.com/pages/resources.
Once you have completed the appropriate sections, use the hyperlink to return to the main Budget Builder worksheet.
WORKSHEET 4: Budget Overview
This worksheet provides a summary of the estimated costs based on the information you provided in the Budget Builder, Compensation Builder, and Inclusivity & Accessibility worksheets. This one-page summary is intended for export or printing and can be used in grant and other funding applications.
A Living Document
The Public and Patient Engagement Team at the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation recognizes that the considerations provided in this tool are not exhaustive, and there may be other needs, supports, or engagement materials that should be considered by research teams. If you have suggestions for additional information or links to useful resources to be included, please contact Carolyn Shimmin at email@example.com.
Please check the PE Budgeting page each time you go to use the tool in case an updated version of the spreadsheet is available.
About the Author
Trish Roche is a knowledge broker with the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI). Her primary interests lie in advancing the science of knowledge translation and patient engagement, with a particular interest in the realm of basic biomedical science. Find her on Twitter @TrishMcNish.