Developing Financial Information for Grants: A Team Effort – Thank Goodness! (Part I)

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    I admit it: program budgets, operating budgets, budget narratives, budget justifications, and audited financial statements are not some of my favorite things. Fortunately for me, and possibly many grant managers, developing program budgets and other financial information needed for grant proposals is a team effort.

    Previously, I outlined the financial information to include in your grant proposals: your line-item program budget; sometimes a budget narrative and a budget justification; and always a statement of program sustainability; and, as attachments: your operating budget for the current fiscal year; your audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year; your IRS Form 990; and, a list of your foundation and corporate grantors, including grant award amounts.

    This posting focuses on how you – and the other members of your team – can prepare this information for grant proposals.

    Program staff: your NPO’s program staffers are the experts on the programs you are describing in grant proposals. They know the staff, volunteers and other resources necessary to carry out their programs, and you must work closely with them to develop the program budgets you include in grant proposals.
    Finance manager/staff accountant: The individual responsible for financials at your NPO may or may not be a CPA; they may be a paid staff member, a contract position, or a consultant. When it comes to developing financials for grant proposals, it doesn’t matter. They are on your team and critical to developing accurate financials you will need when submitting grant proposals and reports.
    Database manager: This staff member has their finger on the button, OK buttons. They can provide a list of foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors (and donation amounts) that you will need to submit with some grant proposals.
    Audit firm: You will need to submit your audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year, and these folks can provide you with this document, along with your NPO’s IRS Form 990 (if your organization asked them to prepare this along with your audit).
    Development director: Depending on the culture at your NPO – and the personality of your DD – they may want to be integrally involved in the preparation of financials needed for grant proposals, or they may delegate this responsibility. Better to ask permission than beg forgiveness ☺

    As I wrote in my December 6th post, a growing trend among grantmakers is the adoption of a common grant application. I have used the Missouri Common Grant Application and the budget templates they provide – these are available for download on the website of the Gateway Center for Giving.

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    Lynn deLearie Consulting, LLC, helps nonprofit organizations develop, enhance and expand grants programs, and helps them secure funding from foundations and corporations. Contact Lynn deLearie.

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    Look for Lynn’s ebook on Grants & Grantsmanship. It’s part of The Fundraising Series of ebooks

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