So you are now ready to ask for money in your application. At this point, many applicants start to feel a bit giddy and begin dreaming about pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
However, getting the budget right is critical. There is no room for sentiment. A logical and well-supported budget must be prepared. But most people get it wrong.
Getting it right will demonstrate your professionalism and strengthens the assessor’s belief in your capacity to execute the project. So, where do you start?
Include the whole budget
Start by working through your activity list to determine which activities will have costs attached to them.
The whole budget includes both your contribution to the project, the grant amount and any other contributions from your project partners. The budget should show both cash (eg capital, loans, sponsorship) and in-kind (eg volunteer time, borrowed equipment) contributions to the project.
Show how the value of in-kind items has been calculated. Donated materials and equipment can be valued at the cost to buy items new, or hire costs. Labour should be valued at the going hourly rate.
Remember to also include:
- Annual audit
- IP protection
Show value for money
Grant-makers want the biggest bang for their buck. This means they want to see great results, cost-efficiency and your cash contribution.
Contributions from other sources (including your organisation) are generally expected. Sometimes minimum co-contributions are stated. If you fail to meet minimum co-contribution requirements, your application will be rejected. Even where minimums are not stated, it is good practice to show at least some contribution from other sources, as this demonstrates commitment to the project.
For instance, if the grant offered is $4,000 and you to put in $4,000 and your project partner puts in $4,000, then they are getting $12,000 worth of project for their $4,000 investment. Value for money can also be demonstrated by ongoing and sustainable project work, beyond the project application.
Make sure that you don’t overstate or understate the size of the budget. Avoid making up an amount to look impressive. Some people ask for less than they need, in the hope that they can just get started. This strategy will get you into trouble when you cannot finish a project, or do a second-rate job.
Some ask for more than they need in the hope that they can use a Ferrari or Lear Jet for transport. Or they expect the costs to be negotiated down. However, applying for funding is not a negotiation. Grant makers know if your quotes are realistic. If you inflate the budget, they will see through it.
All items in the budget should be justified and quotes should be obtained.
Dos and Don’ts
Mistakes in the budget can cause your application to fail. Here are some common issues:
- Check funding limits: stay within the minimum and maximum.
- Eligible items: read the guidelines to make sure your costs are allowed.
- Include all costs: if you don’t, you may not be able to complete the project.
- Make sure the budget is accurate and adds up. Factor in administrative overheads.
Grants may be taxable. If you are concerned about this, then talk to your accountant.
You should also be clear on your GST status. Some grants are increased to compensate for the GST. The guidelines will indicate whether you should include GST in the budget. If you are unsure, then do not include GST.
Fuel Tax credits – closes 30 June
Sustainable Industry Initiatives – closes 01 July
Australia-Korea foundation – closes July
Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program – closes 18 July
Around the nation
NSW Riparian Management Assistance Program – closes 1 July
VIC Smart Water Fund opens in June
QLD Business & Industry Transformation Incentives – closes 13 June
SA Broadband Development Fund – closes 30 June
TAS Tasmanian Innovations Program – closes 27 June
WA Farm Water Grants Scheme – closes 30 June
NT 2008 Melaleuca Awards announced 18 June