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The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from A to C. Its context is the United States of America.


ABSOLUTE PRIORITY: An area of focus that a government agency, as a grant maker, requires without exception as part of an applicant’s proposal, and that if it is absent prevents a proposal from being reviewed, scored, or ranked. It is one of three common types of government agency funding priorities. Also see: Competitive Priority and Invitational Priority.


ACTIVITIES: Logical sequences of actions or steps to be undertaken to accomplish one or more project objectives by applying specific identified resources and strategies to solve a problem or to meet a need within a pre-defined span of time.


ALLOWABLE COSTS: The cost categories or discrete line items that a grant maker permits or encourages an applicant to include as part of a proposed budget. Also see: Unallowable Costs.


ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REPORT (APR): A yearly document that a grant recipient submits to a grant maker, as required; commonly, it includes a description of project accomplishments, a statement of progress towards attaining project objectives, and project budget information. It is also called an Annual Report.


APPLICANT: The organization or individual that seeks a grant by submitting a proposal (or an application) for funding. It will be legally responsible for properly managing the funding if a grant is awarded. Also see: Fiscal Agent.


APPLICATION: The total formal document or package that an applicant submits to a grant maker. It describes a proposed project and its budget and it usually forms the basis for a grant award; often used as a synonym for Proposal.


ASSURANCE: A legally binding declaration signed by an applicant and commonly included with its application, which certifies that the applicant does comply with specific requirements of a grant maker and/or will comply with them if a grant is awarded.


AWARD NOTIFICATION: A formal, written, physical document that a grant maker typically mails to an applicant; it informs the applicant that it will receive a grant, and it indicates the amount of the grant award and the start and end dates of the grant period. It is also called a Notice of Grant Award (NOGA) or a Notice of Award (NOA).


BUILDING RENOVATION GRANT: A grant of funds intended to be used to repair, renew, or construct one or more buildings or parts of buildings; informally, it is also called a Bricks and Mortar Grant.


BUDGET: The total estimated cost of all project activities; alternatively, a plan for expending funds in a grant award. A budget often may incorporate both revenues (also called income) and expenditures.


BUDGET ITEM: A single element in a proposed budget; it includes a brief description and an amount per project year. Also see: Line Item.


BUDGET JUSTIFICATION: A brief description or explanation defending items in a proposed budget, particularly all those items that reviewers may find questionable.


BUDGET NARRATIVE: A brief description or explanation of some or all of the line items in a proposed budget; it is often used as another term for a Budget Justification.


BUDGET PERIOD: The time-span that any given budget covers, usually any 12 consecutive months, such as a grant maker’s fiscal year. Also see: Grant Period and Project Period.


CAPACITY: A measure of an applicant’s present and future ability to implement and sustain an initiative or project that it proposes for external grant funding.


CAPACITY-BUILDING GRANT: A grant designed to create or expand an applicant’s ability to provide services, often of a magnitude and scope similar to those funded through a proposed grant, after that grant expires. Alternatively, a grant intended to create or expand an applicant’s ability to operate more effectively or more efficiently or more sustainably.


CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE (CFDA): The compendium of all domestic grant programs and other forms of assistance for all federal agencies in the United States of America; CFDA program descriptions provide critical information for potential applicants for federal grants.


CATEGORICAL GRANT: A grant awarded by a federal agency to an eligible entity, such as a unit of state or local government, for a specific purpose, as defined by law or regulation.


A later post will cover entries in this Glossary starting with letters C to D.



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