The S in the G.R.A.N.T.S. Formula

Strategic Budget Development for Grants – the S in the GRANTS Formula

Are you struggling with developing a strategic budget for your grants?

Many people find the budget section of grant applications daunting and overwhelming.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Do you know how to develop a strategic budget for your grants?

Money is often a fun thing to talk about, yet so many people cringe when they think of the budget section of the grant. For me, I used to cringe, but now, I find it’s like a puzzle piece that needs to be sorted well – and early – so that the entire grant makes sense.

Today, Holly Rustick is going to show you how to create a strategic budget that you can use for every single grant that you write.

By the end of the resources inside this article, you will have the tools to create an amazing budget. Having a simple and unified budget format could save you hundreds of hours of frustration.

Here’s a quick review of the previous pieces of the G.R.A.N.T.S. Formula:

GGet the FOA or RFP and use it as a template
R – Research needs
A – Articulate goals
N – Narrow your objectives
T – Timetable your activities

Let’s get started with the final letter of the formula today, “S” is for: Strategic Budget for Grants

Strategic Budget for Grants

Every single FOA or RFP is going to ask you to submit a budget. Remember, you can only ask for the maximum of the grant! If there is a federal grant that has a ceiling of $450,000, then you can only ask for $450,000. Don’t ask for $450,001. They will throw out your grant. Having said that you need to make sure that your project is realistic with the ceiling amount for the grant.

So, how do you figure out your budget? Well, a great starting point is to look at everything you have already developed. If you have your needs statement, goal(s), S.M.A.R.T. objectives, and sufficient activities for making it all happen, you now have your entire outline for your budget!

Make sure you include any connections between your activities and your budget. If you are hiring staff as an activity, make sure you add it in your budget and vice versa. If it’s in your budget, make sure you have an activity line for it. 

Your categories should include the following, unless specified by the RFP or FOA that they want it in a different way! (Then follow that!) However, this is the format most federal agencies will use and many times foundations do not give you a format.

  • Personnel
  • Fringe Benefits
  • Travel
  • Equipment 
  • Supplies
  • Consulting/Contracting
  • Other
  • Indirect
  • Total