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The budget identifies and justifies the costs of a project or initiative. It should be consistent with objectives, activities, strategies, and other aspects of the Work Plan as well as with future funding plans. Funds for budget items may come from a grant, an applicant, and other sources.

The budget presents itemized costs and their basis. It must be specific, detailed, accurate, and justified. Some grant makers may allow applicants to adjust a proposed budget during negotiations or after notification of funding.

An itemized budget can use a four-column format: Item Cost Category, Grant (Requested) Funds, Other (Local) Funds, and Line Item Totals:

  1. Item Cost Category – a brief description of each budget item
  2. Grant (Requested) Funds – funds from the requested grant award
  3. Other (Local) Funds – funds from all other sources than the requested grant award
  4. Line Item Totals – sums of each line in Grant Funds and Other Funds columns
Item Cost Category Grant Funds Other Funds Line Item Totals
Category A
Category B
Totals

A Budget Justification explains the calculations and factors used to arrive at figures presented for each budget line item.

In ordinary practice, budget considerations loom large. They can drive an applicant’s initial decision to submit a grant proposal as well as impact every aspect of any proposed Work Plan.

Preparing Budgets:

In planning a budget for a proposal, several questions prove useful:

Personnel: What personnel will the project or initiative require? What will they cost? Who will pay for them? Do you have already established salary and wage schedules?

Fringe Benefits: What benefits will personnel receive? What will they cost? Who will pay for them? On what basis are the fringe benefits calculated? What do they include?

Travel: Will personnel travel anywhere? Who will go? What will transportation, lodging, event registrations, and per diem expenses cost? What will each destination cost?

Supplies: What supplies will the project or initiative require? How does the grant maker define supplies? What will they cost? Who will pay for them?

Equipment: What equipment will the project or initiative require? How does the grant maker define equipment? What will it cost? Who will pay for it?

Contracts: What contracted services will the project or initiative require? Who will provide them? What will they cost? Who will pay for them?

Other: What other resources will the project or initiative require? What will they cost? Who will pay for them?

Indirect Costs: What is your indirect cost rate? On what basis is it calculated? How was it established? To what categories of budget items can it be applied?

This post is one in a series about questions useful in planning competitive grant proposals.

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