By: Mandy Potts, MBA
When applying for a grant, a budget and budget narrative is often required to submit along with the rest of the proposal. This section of the grant proposal package helps explain and, more importantly, justify the numbers in the proposed budget. A strong, supported and well-written budget narrative helps convince the people in charge that the grant application your organization submitted is the best use of their money.
Here are some steps to writing a compelling budget:
Step 1. Review the funders goals and refresh yourself with the foundation’s primary commitments and the language it uses to express them.
Step 2. Review the guidelines and see if there are specific questions needed to answer in the narrative or if there is a specific template to use. Some funders allow the use of Common Grant Applications Forms. Some funders ask for a letter of intent or letter of inquiry for the permission to apply for funding from their organization.
Step 3. Create a clear budget narrative that justifies the projected costs for the proposal’s project. The narrative explains why each specific cost is necessary and reasonable to achieving the proposal’s goals. Be as specific as possible and list the actual cost of each item, estimate only when necessary.
Below is an example of a budget breakdown:
Salaries and Benefits (FTE required to complete the project)
Other (things outside the above categories such as education or training)
Indirect Cost/ Administration Fee
= Total Budget
Bonus: Include a matching contribution. Some funders require a match (see funder guidelines or ask as this is a major factor for some). Some funders just like to know they are not solely responsible for the cost of the project and like to share the load with others.
Step 4. Use the same language as the project narrative to ensure a smooth, one-voice narrative.
Step 5. Use descriptive words. Be inspiring. Encourage them to think beyond and imagine new possibilities by partnering with your organization. Make the funder FEEL for your organization’s mission and WANT to see it succeed.
Step 6. MOST IMPORTANT! Never give up. Grant writing is competitive, yet, there is plenty of funders willing to invest in good projects and good organizations. If you do get rejected, ask the funder for feedback so you can improve your narrative. Rejection serves as a vital function in the path to growth and acceptance.
Rising Business Consulting, LLC has helped secure grant funding over $55M in federal, state and local funders. No grant is too small or too big! Call RBC today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and see how we can help you Rise Up!