When you’re seeking grant support for a complicated five- to 10-year program, developing the budget can be challenging. Take a five- to 10-year program plan, throw in two or three collaborating organizations as sub-recipients, pile on a required annual matching contribution, and you’ll find yourself in a swamp of numbers you must somehow sort into an easy-to-understand financial plan.
“You’ll have to detail and justify the costs for every year,” said Barbara Floersch of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles. “While you can show sub-recipient costs as a lump sum in your organization’s budget, the complete package must also include detailed subrecipient budgets and budget narratives for each year.”
First, as with any budget, both you and your sub-recipients must figure out the line items you’ll need, set the value of each line item, and build in appropriate indirect costs. “Most budgets vary from year to year so be sure to consider these two questions,” said Floersch.
If the funder provides forms, use them. If the funder provides instructions, follow them. But if you’re left to design the budget yourself, the guiding principles are accuracy, clarity, specificity, and justification. “With this sort of monster budget, you’ll be developing a budget package composed of numerous components,” said Floersch. For example, the budget package might include the following:
Because a budget package for a long-term, complicated program will be quite extensive, Floersch suggests numbering the pages consecutively and providing a table of contents.
Plan the budget as you plan the program. Keep copious notes and ask sub-recipients to do the same. If you’ve based line-item costs on estimates, organize those estimates so you can locate them quickly if the funder has questions. “When you’re working on programs of this magnitude, you’ll likely be working in a large team,” said Floersch. “It’s highly effective to designate a subcommittee of the team for budget development and packaging.” © Copyright 2020, The Grantsmanship Center
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