Exhibit Generic Budget Form

Y IT

Y^

Y^

Y

IT

Line Item Description

Grant Request

Totals

Applicant

Partners

1

Personnel

2

Fringe

3

Travel

4

Equipment

5

Materials and Supplies

6

Contractual

7

Capital Expense

8

Other

9

Total Direct Costs

10

Indirect Costs

11

Total Costs

Some grant makers, usually foundations, have applicants use their own budget format. For those occasions, we have included an example of a generic budget form in Exhibit 15.1. Note that you may not need all the columns we have included. It will depend on what information the grant maker requires.

A. Line Item Description Column:

Line Items 1 through 8 are direct costs. Line items come in two types: expense categories and functional. Functional line items describe a specific type of expense, such as travel, printing, or the project director. Expense categories are general groupings of items without any specific identification. Most grant makers use both types on their budget forms, with travel being the most often used functional line item.

1. Personnel—Wages—salary and/or hourly.

2. Fringe—Cash cost incurred by employer over and above employee wages.

Fringe = personnel cost x fringe rate.

Obtain fringe rate from payroll personnel.

3. Travel—A functional line item with the function being, obviously, travel and all its associated expenses such as parking, tolls, tips, and meals. Another functional line item sometimes used is printing, though both travel and printing are contractual services.

4. Equipment—Items with a useful life span of several years (usually at least three but sometimes more) that also cost over a set amount (a common minimum is $500 but it's often more). The life span and cost are dependent on an organization's accounting procedures. Both criteria must be met. For example, a small audio cassette player may have a useful life span of five or more years, but it costs only $30, so it is not considered to be equipment.

5. Materials and Supplies—Items that do not meet the criteria to be equipment.

6. Contractual—Generally, the cost of services performed by individuals, organizations, or companies, though the expense could be for an intangible such as a royalty. The fundamental difference between contractual services and personnel costs is that payroll taxes are not withheld from the amount paid to contractors.

7. Capital Expense—Land, buildings, improvements, fixtures, and so forth. Equipment is a specific type of capital expense.

8. Other—At times labeled miscellaneous. This line item should always be zero. There are no expenses—absolutely none—that will not fit into one of these categories: personnel, fringe, equipment, material/ supplies, contractual, and capital expenses.

9. Total Direct Costs—The sum of all direct costs. In our example, this is the sum of line items 1 through 8.

10. Indirect Costs—Indirect costs = total direct costs x indirect cost rate.

Some grant makers require that equipment and capital expenses be subtracted from total direct costs before computing indirect costs.

11. Total Costs—The sum of total direct costs and indirect costs, Lines 9 and 10.

B. Grant Request Column

This column contains the amounts being requested from the grant maker.

Often, these are the only figures required by a grant maker, though it is well to keep in mind that there are always expenses incurred by an organization implementing a grant project.

C. Applicant Matching Funds Column

Matching funds can always be in-kind contributions unless the grant maker uses the precise phrase "cash match." Matching funds denotes inkind contributions. Only the phrase "cash match" requires the expenditure of cash.

D. Partners Matching Funds Column

When an applicant is required to produce a specific match, for example one-to-one, the project partners can be a source of matching funds (in-kind contributions). If an organization is truly a partner, they are doing something on behalf of the project. That "something" has a value. That value is an in-kind contribution to the budget of the project. Keep in mind that a person or organization that gets paid is not a partner. A person who gets paid would be an employee or a contractor, but not a partner. An organization that gets paid would be a contractor or a vendor, but not a partner. Discounts do not a partner make. In this case, a word—partner—means one thing in business and quite another thing in grant seeking. Don't confuse the two.

E. Match Totals Column

At times, a grant maker will ask to see the total of matching funds (inkind contributions) from all sources. A column such as this one might be used when a grant maker requires a specific percentage match. This column enables a quick and easy check of the matching funds against the project total.

F. Project Totals Column

The total cost of running a project is always, without exception, more than the grant request. A grant maker may not require an applicant to compute those costs, but they still exist. These costs are so real, in fact, that grant makers do not make large grants to small organizations. Small organizations do not have the resources (personnel or funds) to effectively spend large amounts of money. This truth goes down hard with almost everyone who serves in small nonprofits. The off-the-cuff response is: "Of course I can spend millions of dollars. Just give it to me and watch." However, the fact is that spending large amounts of money is very expensive. For example, your organization gets a million dollars to spend on equipment. What is the first thing that must happen? Decisions must be made about exactly how to spend the funds. Who makes these decisions? How much time will it take? What happens to the other work the person was performing before the new task appeared? Once decisions are made, orders must be placed. How much time will it take to complete the paperwork to order a million dollars worth of equipment? Finally, the stuff begins to show up. Who gets all the stuff out of the boxes? Who cleans up the mess? Who keeps up with the paperwork and the warranty information? Who installs all the equipment? Well, you get the idea. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The usual response to this discussion is that the grant funds can be spent to hire all that work done. OK, fine, hire people. Who manages the people you hire to ensure that the work gets done properly? Who maintains quality control, security, and financial responsibility? And if it is you, who is doing the job you did before? Just keep in mind that the total cost of a project is always greater than the grant request. The amount might not be much, and it might be very manageable, but the cost always exists.

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