There are two worksheets provided in the application. If your agency and your program are the same, then you only have to fill out one budget, which is the agency budget. For example, the imaginary applicant ABC Daycare would fill out only one budget, because their operations are just what the agency does. If, however, your agency runs multiple programs, then you must submit both a budget for the program as well as one for the agency as a whole. One of the Family Resource Centers would likely submit both budgets. Suppose your agency runs multiple programs, but you are only applying on behalf of one program. You will still submit both budgets.
Next, and the most important thing about budgets is that they must be balanced. Total income must equal the total expenses. Sometimes it happens in the previous year that actuals may vary from the budget for one reason or another, causing the budget not to balance. In other words, you may have gotten more income than expected, or had unforeseen expenses. In this case, please explain what happened in your budget narrative. The current year budget and next year’s estimated budget must balance.
Here are a few examples of budget mistakes:
In the first example, the agency listed their expenses according to the template, no problem. Unfortunately, they did not list the income. The committee knew this agency had income: they had been operating for years, so they did not know how to proceed. The particular agency had been asked not to do this because they had done it in the past, so the application had to be denied. The second budget initially appeared to balance. However, the expenses in the coming year were not added correctly. When added up manually, they ended up less than the coming year’s income. The committee subtracted the coming year’s expenses from the coming year’s income and found that the surplus was more than the grant request. Therefore the money was not needed and the application was denied.
In another example, the numbers were added correctly, but the budget did not balance. Income exceeded expenses by $896 dollars. The allocations committee subtracted this amount from the amount the agency requested on their grant. The result was $2104: That was where the committee would start when considering how much to allocate to the program, as opposed to the $3,000 they originally requested.
In another actual budget, the budgets balanced -- income and expenses were all listed, but the applicant did not include the amount of the United Way grant they were asking for in the Income section. It is important to include UWSJC funds in the budget, because if you don’t, and the budget balances without the grant, it signifies that the money is not needed.
In another example, reviewers noted that there were significant increases in several expense categories that were not explained in the budget narrative.
The ideal budget is:
- BALANCED. The income and expenses are all listed, and the numbers for each section agree with the totals listed.
- MAKES SENSE: the numbers from year to year are similar or show an understandable trend. If not, those line items are explained fully in the budget narrative.
Important: Prospective United Way grant money is included under income, as is needed for the agency to meet budgeted expenses.