Without a doubt creating a feasible budget for your grant application is the most difficult part of the whole process. Not because writing a budge is difficult. I mean let’s face it, whether we realize it or not we’ve all had budgeting practice over the years. Maybe saving up for a short-term future purchase like a ‘new-to-you’ car or a longer-term endeavor like taking care of the bills every month. Anytime you decide that your revenue will be divided into future segments BAM! You’ve got a budget. So why do I say that budgeting for a grant proposal is hard, well simply put it’s what will make or break you. It is the corner stone of your application and ultimately your project. Read on fellow grantees to become budgeting experts…
Step 1 The costs of your project
By now you know what you want to do and the big picture of what you need money for. Now let’s break it down into smaller parts. Remember our ‘Afternoon Calm Yoga’ class example in the last Blog post? The big picture is we need money to start an afternoon yoga class. What are the smaller parts? Let’s start with the costs or expenses. There will be fees involved: Yoga Instructor; music; room rental; advertising fees. There will also be equipment needed: yoga mats; radio or sound equipment; yoga blocks or other accessories. You should also calculate admin expenses (that’s your salary). Most grantors realize that the people working hard to generate the revenue for the project should be properly compensated. That said there is usually a percentage cap of admin expenses ranging from 5 – 25%. Here’s a what an expenses table might look like in your grant application.
Here’s how you do it. Let’s assume your project is an afternoon yoga class every Thursday for 1 hour for 2 months. If your Yoga Instructor charges $30 per hour, then do the math $30 x 8 weeks = $240. At this point you decide how much of that the Grantor will provide and how much of that you’re willing to provide. Try advertising if the ads cost $75 each and will appear once a week. You’ll see in the table above that you’ve projected and amount that your organization will be responsible for (% by you). Grantors want to be sure that you’re investing in this project as well as them. Do this for all of your expenses. Your table will likely be much larger than mine, but that’s fine. The more detail you can give the better.
Step 2 – The revenues of your project
When I get to this point, most people get confused. They say “What d’ya mean – we want money from these guys?! That’s the only revenue.” Well chum, I’m here to say NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Grantors don’t want to put all of their eggs in one basket any more than you do. You need to show them that you’ve considered other revenue options. Have a look at the table below. Assuming this application is going to Grantor A.
This table seems a little complicated but it’s not. Your expenses from above should balance with your revenues. You know from expenses table you’re asking from Grantor A $1635 as a revenue. You just fill the rest of the table in with what ever other revenue you have confirmed or your planning (projected). In this example our organization has to fund raise for another $112.50 as well as confirm another $112.50 from their pocket.
The trick to making this work is to make sure you have all of your expenses in place as well as all of your revenues. Then you just make sure your revenues equal your expenses. As in the example above expenses = $2060.00 and revenues = $2060.00.
Last bit of advice is to get all of the paperwork ready before jumping into your budget. Get a written estimate from your Yoga Instructor and your room landlord; print equipment costs from their source etc. The same goes for the revenues. If you have confirmation of revenues make sure to have hard copies on hand.
That’s it – happy calculating and good luck.