Aligning your grant narrative and budget

Budgets are often a sticking point in grant writing, whether for a foundation or a large federal grant. They tend to be worked on towards the end of the writing process, when a deadline may be looming or the writer’s eyes are simply tired of looking at the same material again and again.

But it’s important to make sure your budget and your proposal narrative are on the same page, telling the same story. It should be abundantly clear to the funder why you’re budgeting for each expense and how that relates back to your program. This holds true even for items you’re not directly asking to be funded by the grantmaker; each element of the budget should have a logical link back to the proposal to show how well thought out your proposal is from start to finish.

Things like rent and utilities are fairly obvious in most cases. But you may need to explain why a portion of the Executive Director’s salary is accounted for in a program budget; maybe she spends 20% of her time on programs and needs 20% of her salary covered by the grant. That’s logical, but don’t assume the grant maker can infer that.  You should come right out and say it, either in the budget narrative or the grant proposal body.

Before you turn in the grant, look at your narrative and budget side-by-side, making sure everything is consistent.

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