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Proposal Budgeting Basics

Budget Elements

The typical elements of a budget include a list of expenses, as well as support and revenue.

When you begin to assemble the budget, it's helpful to prepare a worksheet that includes a list of all personnel and non-personnel expenses related to the operation of the project. Consider any new costs that will be incurred if the project is funded (i.e. temporary employees or consultants), as well as any ongoing expenses for items that will be allocated to the project. Non-personnel costs might include items such as travel, equipment, office supplies and postage.

Personnel items might include salaries and benefits. Full time employees who will be assigned to work on the project should be included in the budget at the appropriate percentage of time. For example, if the administrative assistant plans to spend 20 hours of her 40 hour work week involved with a project that is expected to last one year, you may budget for 50% of her total salary for the twelve-month period.

Be careful not to put "Other" on a line with a substantial amount next to it. Remember that funders want to look at a budget and see that it is a reasonable representation of costs for your program. Make sure that "Other" does not take up too high a percentage of the total. A small amount, however, is perfectly reasonable.

Your list of budget items and the calculations you have done to arrive at a dollar figure for each item all should be summarized on worksheets. These can be essential when you need to remind yourself how the numbers were developed, when you are writing the proposal, and, at a later stage, discussing it with funders.

 

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