Many people leave the grant budget section for last. They spend time on the narrative, carefully crafting a compelling story, but the budget gets put on the back burner. So how do you write a budget for a grant?
How do you write a budget for a grant?
It’s important to pay attention to this aspect of a grant; funders will want to know how you’re spending their money. The budget is a line-item breakdown of where every dollar you’re asking for is going. And it also shows the other income your organization and/or project are bringing in to support the ask as well.
Organizational versus project budget
Depending on the grant application, you may have to supply a project budget, organizational budget, or both. These terms are fairly self-explanatory: A project budget shows the line-item costs (and sources of funding) for all aspects of your project. These items may include staffing, equipment, supplies, rental space, advertising, etc.
The organizational budget shows the same line items, but on an organization-wide scale. This will include all staff positions, office space and related costs, overhead, and all program costs. On the income side, you’ll need to show a breakdown of grant funds, fundraising event income, donations, sponsorships, and in-kind giving.
Follow the grant guidelines
Most of the time, grantmakers will provide a list of line-item categories they want you to include in your budget. Many even give you a budget template to use. If that’s the case, stick with what they provide. Otherwise, create your own line-item categories based on what makes sense for your organization, and for the grant.
Direct versus indirect costs
This is one of the most important things to understand when you’re learning how to write a budget for a grant. Here’s a thorough breakdown of direct versus indirect costs in a nonprofit budget.
Align your budget and grant narrative
Here’s one final tip to make your budget as strong as possible: make sure your budget and your overall grant narrative align, and that they tell a consistent story. We have a whole post dedicated to aligning your grant narrative and budget.
Learn more about our grant writing services here.