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Check if the donor has a specific format for presenting the budget – often they do. Make sure the budget relates to the activities and outputs you have presented, and organise it as much as possible according to the project outcomes – with estimated costs for each related activity listed under its corresponding outcome. Under 'Sample Itemised Budgets' , you will find budget sheet templates for different activities.

TIP: Make sure you prepare the budget in the currency of the donor – e.g., $US, Euro, etc.

TIP: Make sure you know how the information you present in the project budget maps directly back to your organisation's annual budget.

Over and above the time needed for staff directly involved in delivering the project, don't forget to include project overhead costs such as senior and financial management time spent on the project, rent, utilities, communications, office equipment and technical support, etc. Some funders have specific limits on the percentage of the budget that can be used for overhead costs, so it is useful to check this beforehand, if possible. 20% is ideal and generally covers most costs to manage and deliver a project adequately, but most funders don't support more than 10%, so you will need to find ways to include your overhead costs in the budget in other ways.

TIP: Even if you think a donor will not cover overhead costs, it is important to include them in the budget, as these are an essential component of actually being able to do the work. e.g., if you didn't have an office, you couldn't undertake the project.

If you expect to have to raise funds from multiple donors, give some indication in the 'budget' section of your proposal, as to where you will be trying to raise the additional funds. Here are some questions to think about:
  • Is there anything in the budget that your organisation can actually contribute? e.g., a mailing list; a workshop/training venue; a resource person; etc. Make sure you show the value of any contributions that you are making as part of the income/expense.
  • Is there any funding you already have, or that any of your project partners have, that can be leveraged towards the implementation of this project? e.g., If you are going to adapt materials that have been developed in another project to your own purposes (rather than produce them from scratch), you can show these materials as contribution/income in the budget, and only show as costs those expenditures that you'll need to do the modifications.

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