Calculating your program budget

All organizations struggle with working out how much programs, events and/or initiatives are actually going to costs and how these funds can be secured. Here are a few tips to help you with your budget:

  1. Find out if anyone in your organization has formal book keeping/accountancy skills. Their guidance will be invaluable.
  2. Talk to those who have completed budgets before for your organisation. Ask them for a template of the items they usually include when developing a budget.
  3. Develop a timeline that includes every of the main stages you need to consider from the initial planning stage right through to writing the final reports from your organization and for the funder.
  4. Make a list of every task you think will be involved in each of the main stages listed in your timeline.
  5. Now write down all the resources you will need for each task you identified.
  6. Next add the number of hours/days that each of the tasks listed.
  7. Now think about the type of staff you will need to carry out theses tasks and the different levels of salary each type of staff will require (don’t forget possible reimbursements of costs or small stipends to volunteers if appropriate).
  8. Add up the number of hours/days you listed against the tasks for each of the types of staff you have identified.
  9. List any office space, desks, computers, stationery, etc that staff members will need to complete the tasks assigned to them (some may not need any, others will require most of these items).

Now you can start thinking adding some costs to each of the items you have listed. Don’t forget to think about indirect costs such as: travel, equipment purchase or hire, venue hire, refreshments, catering for functions, professional development for staff, etc.