Just the other day we were working with a client who came to us and said, “We need help with an important grant request. How do we know which expenses to include in our overhead costs? And how should we word those expenses appropriately in our proposal?” We were able to help and now we want to share the wisdom that we offered him to help you the next time you write a grant proposal.
Anyone who has ever worked with grants knows that budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts of the grant request process. To be effective a grant proposal needs to include both the direct costs of running the program(s) that the grant will be used for as well as the indirect costs (or overhead costs) associated with offering programming.
Organizations that do not appropriately account for overhead costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, and technology will not be entirely compensated for the full cost of running the programs that they offer, which can jeopardize their long-term sustainability. Simply put, an organization that cannot cover their overhead costs won’t have the operating budget needed to provide their programs and offerings to their community, which in turn can:
- Reduce reach and effectiveness.
- Negatively affect morale and increase turnover.
- Threaten the long-term viability of the organization.