Proposals should contain four basic budget elements:
- Itemized budget for the entire project (or for the amount requested) including all revenue sources known to date.
- Budget justification showing how each budget line item relates to the project and how the budgeted amount was calculated.
Budgets are generally broken down into two main sections: personnel costs and non-personnel costs. Salaries and benefits should include all staff salaries allocated to the project. Each position and percentage of time devoted to the project should also be identified. Contracted services, including an estimation of the hours and hourly rate, should be listed separately from salaries. Supporting detail should also be provided for all other major non-personnel line items.
Preferred Budget Format
The Mott Foundation prefers to see budgets classified by object (salaries, consultants, travel, printing, etc.) rather than by function (planning, training, conferences, evaluation, etc. or Phase I, Phase II, Phase III). See the Budget Examples.
Oftentimes, budgets are submitted that include columns for various funders (including one for the Mott Foundation) along with a total column. The Foundation tends to provide funding for the total project rather than have its funds be designated for just a portion of the budget. This usually provides more flexibility for potential grantees. However, some grantees’ accounting systems are structured so that they have a difficult time reporting the total project and can provide information only for one particular funder. It is important that the Foundation and the grantee come to an agreement on how the financial reports will be presented so the Foundation obtains the information it needs and the preparation of the report is not over-burdensome to the grantee organization.
Sample budgets can be used as examples for grantees to follow when preparing their general purpose or specific project budgets. Please note that these are samples only; this format is not required. Grantees should submit budgets that are the easiest for them to develop and monitor, keeping in mind that financial reports that are submitted to and approved by the Foundation are based on project budgets. (See also Multiyear Grant Issues in the Accounting section.)