Proposal budgets may be fairly simple or quite complex. Usually, the greater the amount of money requested, the more detailed the budget must be. Refer to the funder's guidelines for information on acceptable expenses and instructions on how to present the budget. Keep in mind the funder's grant range as you develop your program and prepare the budget. If the funder usually makes grants between $10,000 - $25,000, then it is wise to request an amount within that range. To request an amount outside the range reveals that you haven't researched the funder thoroughly.
Read through the proposal narrative carefully and note all expenses that will be involved to implement the project envisioned. Do some research to attach meaningful cost estimates to those expenses. If the funder requests a budget narrative, show how cost estimates were calculated and why each expense is necessary for the success of the project. Allow plenty of time for your VP or dean to approve your budget (along with the proposal narrative) before the due date.
You may find references regarding the following in the funder guidelines:
Some funding programs have a matching requirement, i.e., grantees must commit institutional resources according to a formula determined by the funder as a condition of receiving a grant. The matching requirement can be found in the funder guidelines. A funder may require cash, may accept in-kind support, or a combination. Matching funds requests must be approved by Dave Lyndgaard for academic proposals, or by the the appropriate VP for other proposals in advance of proposal submission. Make your request for matching funds early so as to avoid wasted effort in the event that your request cannot be granted.
In-kind support is non-cash, institutional assets that would have a cost attached to them if it were necessary to go outside the institution to purchase them. When crafting proposal budgets, it is usually advantageous to identify types of in-kind support, determine a reasonable cash value for those items, and include those costs in the budget. Examples of items that could be considered in-kind support for a project at SJU (depending on project specifics) include use of facilities such as meeting rooms, services such as publication design from the Communications and Marketing Service, or a percentage of salary for an officer who agrees to supervise a project but is not compensated for the additional responsibility.
Indirect Costs (AKA overhead or F & A [facilities and administration]) - This is an expense accepted by some funders to compensate the organization for the institutional costs that are incurred whether or not the project happens, but that support the project if it does occur. Examples of indirect costs are security, grounds, housekeeping, depreciation, etc. This expense is most common in government proposals. Many private funders do not allow indirect costs. Check the guidelines. If indirect costs are allowable, this portion of the grant proceeds generally goes to the institution to defray institutional overhead.
For assistance preparing a proposal budget, contact John Taylor at SJU.