Budget Preparation

A critical aspect of intervention planning is preparing a budget of income and expenses. The budget must include funding for materials and supplies for the intervention activities, but also for staff, facilities, and promotion. Keep in mind that each intervention requires different resources, and organizations have unique capacities to conduct interventions with existing resources.  The following are typical budget categories.

familyCategories for an intervention budget:

Personnel and benefits expense: Personnel includes all individuals who will have responsibilities in the intervention. Others who may be hired to help with the project, such as consultants or contractors, are not budgeted in Personnel, rather are included in the Purchased, Consultant or Contractual Services. Fringe benefits are typically budgeted at a percent of the personnel salary, and are dependent upon the benefits paid by the employer.

Things to consider: Do you have enough people to implement the intervention? Will you need to hire additional part-time or full-time staff to help you? What benefits will be paid and to whom? Will your staffing needs change over the duration of your intervention from year to year?

Examples: Principal investigator, project director, project staff, paid interns – full and part-time

General Office Expenses: Includes office supplies needed to support the intervention.

Things to consider: What basic materials or supplies are needed to support the intervention? You should be able to budget more for office supplies the first year of the project and less in subsequent years.

Examples: Computers, software, office supplies/materials, telephones, copy machines, office furniture, postage, etc.

Intervention Supplies and Materials: Intervention materials are the actual materials you will need to implement your intervention.

Things to consider: How many participants you are anticipating? Can you prepare the materials yourself or do you need to hire someone to prepare them for you (e.g., a printing company or an advertising agency)? Do you need to conduct research or a needs assessment before designing your materials?

Examples: Educational materials or curriculum, incentive or promotional materials, copies of pre/post surveys, brochures, posters, equipment for a physical activity intervention.

Meeting and Activity Expenses: Space outside your organization’s office may be needed for meetings or intervention activities. Some places may charge a rental fee as well as for use of audio visual equipment, such as projectors or TVs. Food and drinks provided at the meeting may be included in this category or in Intervention Supplies, depending on the organization’s preference.

Things to consider: Does your current office space accommodate everything you will need for the intervention? Do you have room to conduct meetings with other partners or internal staff? Do you have appropriate space to conduct your intervention activities or will you need to use other spaces? Will any of your partners donate space for meetings or intervention activities? Will you need to rent facilities to conduct your intervention? Will you need to travel to your intervention’s participants or partners, if so where will you meet with them?

Examples: Meeting rooms, church basements, school gymnasiums, community centers, multi-purpose rooms, park pavilions, etc.

Transportation/Travel Expenses: Transportation can involve providing a means for participants to travel to your intervention activities in order to increase participation or providing transportation for you and your staff to travel to other locations to conduct intervention activities. This may also include fees or stipends to attend professional meetings or perform interviews and surveys out-of-town.

Things to consider: Do your participants have access to public or personal transportation or will you need to provide it? Do your staff members need to travel to participants’ homes or communities to conduct intervention activities? Will your staff need to travel to conferences or to make presentations outside of your city?

Examples: Bus tokens or cab fare for program participants, rental vans to pick up participants, mileage reimbursement for staff members conducting intervention activities, travel stipends, air fare and per diem for out-of-town travel

Purchased, Consultant or Contractual Service Expenses: These expenses are payments to individuals or companies for a specific service, usually occurring temporarily during the project, that are not completed by the regular project staff.

Things to consider: What specific expertise and services will you need in planning, implementing and evaluating your intervention?

Examples: Development and placement of media ads;consultant for identifying interventions for priority populations; contractor to conduct an evaluation of the intervention.

Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are the expenses incurred by the organization to keep the organization operating. Indirect cost are typically calculated by multiplying an agreed upon percentage by the total direct costs, or by the total of personnel and benefit costs. These costs are sometimes also referred to as administrative costs.

Things to consider: Will your organization obtain sufficient indirect costs from your intervention income? Are there partners who are willing to cover some indirect costs?

Examples: Rent, utilities (e.g., gas, electric, sewage, trash removal), telecommunications (phone line charges, long distance, fax machine, e-mail, internet), property insurance, legal expenses, or building maintenance costs.

An “in-kind” donation is a contribution of time, service or goods made by a donor to help support the operations or services provided by your organization.   It isn’t cash.   Therefore the donor does retain a degree of control over the donation that doesn’t occur when the donor gives you a cash donation.  Because of this “relationship” your organization should keep the donor well informed on how their donation is being used.

Some examples of in-kind donations include:

  • Bookkeeping service
  • Copying
  • Office equipment
  • Office/meeting space
  • Printing
  • Professional services (accounting, lawyer, etc.)
  • Refreshments
  • Volunteer time

As you prepare your budget it is critical you account for anticipated in-kind donations.  If you don’t track these donations, you aren’t truly acknowledging the total capacity of your organization.  Also tracking these donations will help you better acknowledge the donors for their contribution.

To get a better sense of how to track and value in-kind donations, use “In-Kind Donations – Hidden Assets for your Organization – A Resource Guide”.

The following printable worksheets are provided to help you with planning your intervention budget.

pdf file Budget Preparation Explanation
Use this Budget Preparation Explanation Worksheet to better understand how to calculate specific details of your budget (personnel expenses, fringe benefits, indirect costs, etc.)

pdf file Budget Preparation Worksheet
Use this worksheet to plan your intervention budget.

excel spreadsheet Example Budget Spreadsheet with Calculations
This Excel file shows sample calculations for an entire intervention, which will assist you in setting up the budget spreadsheet for your own intervention. Remember to budget for multiple years if your intervention will last longer than one year.

Additional assistance with budget preparation may be obtained from the Foundation Center or the Non-Profit Guides.      

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