Grant Writing Tip 4

Matching Funds and Sustainability

Some grant funding programs may require that you provide a specific level of matching funds and demonstrate your project is sustainable after the grant funds have been expended. These two concepts – matching funds and sustainability – may be somewhat ambiguous to the novice proposal writer.

Matching Funds

When the Request for Proposal (RFP) requires that your project include matching funds it means that you must match (equal or exceed) the funds requested in your grant budget with your own funds. When you estimate your matching funds, you need to provide precise and realistic estimates of the value of the resources you provide if your matching funds include donated human services and assigned facilities as well as actual financial resources.

In the following scenario, a total budget of $73,580 (one year) to establish a small community training lab offering five, 5-hours training programs, each taught by a part-time training consultant. The grant applicant estimates a matching grant of $37,830 in funds, equipment, staff time, and facilities. The grant funds requested total $35,750 so the matching grant exceeds the funds requested. The budget narrative indicates that the matching grant funds were pooled as follows: providing funds for .5% FTE of the director’s salary and 100% of the director’s benefits; purchasing or securing through an industry partnership five of the ten computers needed; and, dedicating space for the computer lab in the applicant’s existing facilities.

		Amount		Applicant
Item		Requested	Match		Total

Full Time Director	
(100% FTE)	$25,000		$25,000		$50,000

(21%)		0		$5,250		$5,250

A full time director ($50,000 in salary and $5,250 in benefits) is required to oversee the program for the first year. The applicant will pay for .50% of the director's salary and 100% of the benefits. A request in the amount of $25,000 is needed for the remaining 50% of the director's salary.

Travel		$5,250		0		$5,250

$5,250 is requested to cover five conferences at $1,050 per conference.

Computers	$4,250		$4,250		$8,500
10 @$850

$4,250 is requested to purchase 5 of the computers required for the lab. The applicant will purchase the remaining 5 of the 10 total computers needed, which will cost $4,250.

Facilities	0		$2,475		$2,475
Lab Space			
300 sq. ft. @ $8.25

Maintenance	0		$375		$375
300 sq. ft. A $1.25

Utilities	0		$480		$480
12 months @ $40

The applicant will provide a dedicated computer lab facility for the program. The value of this facility is estimated as $2,475 cost of the facility; $375 cost of maintenance; and, $480 cost of utilities.

Training	$1,250		0		$1,250	
5 Instructors (part-time)
5 hours each @ $50

A total of $1,250 is required to hire five part-time instructors, each of which delivers five, 5-hour training courses.

Totals		$35,750		$37,830		$73,580


When an RFP requires that you demonstrate sustainability beyond the project year, it is requesting you to show how you plan to continue to raise the funds required to operate the project for the second year and thereafter. There are several methods for demonstrating sustainability. These are merely illustrations.

  • View your first year grant as a development grant leading to the creation of products and services, which you will begin to market and sell after the project funds have been expended.

  • Identify another grant source (s) you plan to approach for additional funding.

  • Describe how the project will be assumed as a yearly operating budget expenditure after grant funds have been expended. For example, if you hire a full time project director during the first year using grant funds, you must support this individual beginning the second year under your ongoing operating budget.

  • A partner organization or the Board of Trustees agrees to provide you the ongoing funding after grant funds are expended.



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