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The Importance of the Budget Narrative

A budget justification is a fiscal narrative of your budget. Most sponsors require a budget narrative, or justification explaining the calculations involved in coming up with the cost estimates. Most budget justifications only include descriptions of costs, not actual dollar amounts. Check the sponsor guidelines to make sure of their requirements.

Justify all personnel. Some questions you may want to answer include:

  • How does each individual contribute to the project?
  • How much time will each individual spend on the project?
  • If individuals are not yet named, what are the necessary qualifications for said individuals?
  • Be sure to explain and justify annual increases in salaries and/or benefits.

Justify all consultants and outside contractors. You may want to consider the following:

  • Describe the qualifications and duties of the outside speciallists that must be hired.
  • Explain the amount of time they will spend on the project.
  • If you are proposing a subcontract of collaboration, the sponsor may require a letter of support or commitment from the other party. Make sure to check the guidelines for these requirements.
  • If you are collaborating with another instutition, they may write a separate detail budget justification to attach to yours.

Justify all supplies and equipment. You may want to consider the following:

  • Include cost estimates/descriptions of quotes obtained for any specialized supplies or equipment.
  • Describe why the supplies and/or equipment are needed.
  • Explain how the supplies and/or equipment pertain to your specific project and are necessary to complete project objectives.

Justify all travel. Some details you may want to include are:

  • Explain the purpose of the trip and justify those traveling.
  • Explain travel destinations and how this destination was taken into consideration when estimating travel costs.
  • Stipulate that lodging and per diem rate use either state or federal rates, as required by the grant.
  • Use an American air carrier if traveling abroad.