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Grant Writing: Connecting Application Budgets and Narratives - January 6, 2023

A common grant writing error is disconnection between the project budget and application narratives. For instance, the narrative might discuss having a substantial public engagement process, however the budget does not include a line item or clear description of these activities in it anywhere. To prevent disconnections, create a list of the project components first and then line them up against your project budget. Do they match up? If not, then you can do two things. You could provide more clarity in the areas of the budget where the resources exist to fund these activities – include “Public Engagement” as a line item in your project budget. Or, to help the application reviewer, you could include parenthetic reference notes in your narrative about which section of your budget funds these activities, such as "(Community engagement, $4,000, included in line item XX of the project budget)". This helps avoid the allurement of adding major (unbudgeted) components solely to win review points, and it demonstrates your attention to details. Don’t forget to cross the “T"s and dot the “I"s: after finalizing your narrative, go back and verify that the budget ties out.