Insight Grants

Grant Budget Changes Post-Award

A school contact emailed today asking about making changes to the Year 2 budget plan for their PEP grant awarded in 2008. We receive questions about the potential for budget changes a fair amount. Generally speaking, when you prepare your grant budget narrative during the application process, you should make it as complete as possible and assume few if any changes can be made. This is because while funders do understand that things can change during the grant period and/or your understanding of specific needs may become clearer during implementation, they have approved your project only for the funding plan described, and deviations from it may make a difference in terms outcomes, target population, grant focus, etc.

Most funders allow minor changes within the same major budget category, but the percentage of change allowed without approval is often very small, and it varies by funder. (The common major categories are Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Travel, Equipment, Supplies, Contractual, Other, and Indirect.) Changes beyond the allowed percentage (usually made clear during the grant award negotiation process) or from one major category to another, typically require prior funder approval.

In all cases, if something on your end changes, and you need to make a budget change as a result, the best course of action is to discuss the issue with your grant award officer/funder contact. Describe the situation fully, and explain what change you think should be made and your rationale. Be sure to note how the change fits in with the originally approved grant project concept, major activities, and anticipated goals and outcomes. Ask if you need to file a formal project amendment. You may be surprised to find how understanding and accommodating your funder can be, or your request may be declined. In the latter instance, at least you can be confident you will not be utilizing grant funds in a manner that could get you into trouble with the funder later.

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