Grant Budgeting

August 5, 2022
min read

A grant proposal budget is specific to your proposed project or program. This budget would outline your intended expenditures if you were awarded the grant funding. 

The grant budget is essential to your grant proposal because it shows the grantmaker precisely the purpose of the desired funding. While making a compelling written justification for your funding request may be valuable, having a solid budget outlined will give a clear picture of your intentions. 

Not only is drafting a budget an exercise in financial responsibility for your organization. It’s also necessary to help funders see your organization as worthy of the funding, especially in comparison to other organizations that could also put the funds to good use.

How to Write a Grant Budget in 4 Steps

1. Review grant guidelines

Before you get started writing your grant budget, make sure to read and understand the grant proposal guidelines. It would be best if you were confident that you knew the critical requirements within the grant. Some things to look for as you read through the grant guidelines are:

  • Eligibility: funders will often list the characteristics of their preferred awardee. This section will list details such as geographic location or type of organization they intend to fund. You are unlikely to receive funds if you do not meet these eligibility requirements.  
  • Grant amount: when researching funding opportunities, experienced grant writers pay attention to the fund size. The fund size must resonate with your project needs and goals.
  • Limitations: many grants may also list what the grant funds cannot cover. Pay close attention to these allowable uses and restraints for the grant funds. Do not submit a grant proposal that includes any requests for funds outside of the permissible expenditures or scope of the grant. 

2. Work with Your Team to Estimate Realistic Costs

Once you understand what information you need, it’s time to gather data. It will help you come up with accurate numbers for your budget. And since grant budgets require a few line items, you’ll want to call on your team members to help track and verify realistic costs.

Realistic costs supported by actual data are essential for you and the funders. Inflated prices will make your organization appear wasteful, signaling that you aren’t efficient in your operations.

Program managers are fantastic resources to start making lists of everything you’ll need, staff, supplies, services, and space to run a program. Accounting can help you estimate associated overhead costs. And some internet sleuthing can help you nail down the costs of supplies or services if you haven’t purchased them before.

Wherever you can, use historical reports and pin down actual data to show you’re not pulling numbers out of thin air or making wild guesses about costs.

3. Show The Funder Exactly What Their Grant Will Cover

After calculating your costs, your team agrees to its accuracy and authenticity. You can be sure funders can trust you with the big cheque.

For example, if your program will cost $40,000 and you’re requesting 20,000 from a foundation, you can show funders how you’ll allocate their money and where you’ll use matching funds.

Including this level of detail helps demonstrate your knowledge of the funder’s requirements. Suppose a specific grant doesn’t cover overhead costs. In that case, you can show how you’ll pay for those without touching the funds. It’s also an excellent way to show how you’re putting matching funds or other revenue to cover the total cost of a program if a grant doesn’t provide for everything.

4. Check Your Work

A simple mistake could mean the difference between receiving funding and being denied. No matter how confident you are in your numbers, double-check your calculations and ensure your budget is error-free.

Once you are sure you have dotted all of your ‘i’s’ and crossed all of your ‘t’s’,. Give your grant budget and narrative to someone else to review for errors or inconsistencies. 

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