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Creating Your Budget: Why Wait?

May 19

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Monday, May 19, 2014  RssIcon

Recently, I’ve come across some proposal development scenarios where the applicants were scrambling at the last minute to construct their project budgets and subsequent budget narratives.  It seemed that these pieces were being treated as an afterthought, and as a result the documents reflected as much, with missing line items, incorrect calculations, and poor supporting documentation.  It’s not exactly certain how these poorly conceived budgets will impact the review process, but it stands to reason that if an applicant cannot provide sufficient or accurate budgetary information, a grant reviewer has only to conclude that the applicant most likely isn’t in a position to effectively manage grant funding.  Budget and budget narratives are crucial components to almost every grant application and they should be treated with as much care and consideration as the main project narrative.  Here are some quick tips on how to ensure that your proposal’s budget and budget narrative get the attention they rightly deserve.

  • Construct a preliminary budget before you even being writing your application.  Often times the grant guidance document will contain sample budgets and template form that can help you pull together your preliminary budget.
  • Make sure if your organization requires you to involve folks from finance or the business side of things that they are part of the preliminary budget construction and subsequent budget finalization.
  • If your budget contains equipment get a vendor quote right away.  It can take some time for a vendor to prepare a quote, so the sooner you can make that request the better. 
  • Have someone within your organization, but an outsider to the project run all the calculations in the budget to ensure validity and rerun the calculations at least one more time, ideally two more times.
  • If a budget narrative is required you’ll want to have the person or persons who are checking over your budget to cross check it with the budget narrative to make sure that the documents are synchronized with each other.
  • Many times budgetary numbers find their way into the project narrative and they can wind up just about anywhere, so it can be very easy to miss a number completely or include an erroneous number.  To combat this, you’ll want to cross reference the budget, budget narrative (if required) with the project narrative to make sure that those numbers are consistent with one another.  It is suggested that this process is repeated at least twice before finalizing your application.

 A little bit of preplanning, checking (and rechecking!), and cross referencing can go a long way to alleviate those nagging, possibly grant-destroying budgetary issues.

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