grant budget

Aligning your grant narrative and grant budget

The grant budget is often a sticking point in grant writing, whether for a foundation or a large federal grant. Inexperienced grant writers may work on the grant budget toward the end of the writing process. But at that point, the deadline looms and the writer is tired of looking at the same material again and again. The grant budget can fall through the cracks.


It’s important to make sure your grant budget and your proposal narrative are on the same page. Make sure they tell 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 is true even for items you’re not directly asking to be funded by the grantmaker; each element of the grant budget should have a logical link back to the proposal. This shows your proposal is well developed from start to finish.


Things like rent and utilities are fairly obvious in most cases. You need to define other areas clearly, too. For example, you may need to explain why you’re including some of the Executive Director’s salary in a program grant budget. Maybe she spends 20 percent of her time on programs and needs 20 percent 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  proposal body.


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


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