Don’t assume that simply adding up project costs amounts to a sensible budget. It isn’t.

Urban Forestry Funding Action Guide Phase:

What does it cost?

Forms, rules and more rules

Every funder has its own rules for budgeting, and forms you’ll have to fill out. They range from simple — a single spreadsheet showing major expense categories — to complex. Among the more baffling is the budget format required for federal grants or sub-grants. It’s called the SF 424. Detailed instructions accompany the form and can be found on the internet. But converting your actual budget to the SF 424 will always remain a challenge.

One rule to resist

Although it’s becoming less common, many donors will fund projects, but not what they consider “overhead“.

If you can’t convince them, don’t convince yourself that you’ll make it up on the back end. In the long run, you won’t. And that’s when even the most famous institutions fail. Multiple projects without some way to cover what may disparagingly be called “overhead” guarantees red ink on your books, and few ways to recover.

Apply for a federal indirect rate

If you apply for a federal grant or sub-grant, determine whether you can apply for an “approved federal indirect rate.” Applying this rate to your non-federal grant requests lends both authority and credibility to the notion that projects don’t implement themselves.

Urban Forestry Funding Action Guide