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Tips on Budgets


Budget Basics

1. Budget forms vary a little from program to program, but the basics remain the same: expenses are listed in the left column, revenue appears in the right column, and both columns must add up to the same amount so that the budget is balanced.


2. Expenses show how much your project will cost. You don’t need to list all of the expenses, but the main ones should be included–especially the ones allowed by the program for which you’re applying. Revenue shows where the money (funding) will come from. Some–or all of it–will come from artsnb.


3. When expenses and revenue are added up, both totals should be equal so that the budget is balanced. The budget then shows accurately how much it will cost to execute the project and how the expenses will be covered.


4. Allowable expenses vary from program to program, so you should consult the relevant documentation to find out what you can claim as expenses. Many programs allow you to claim some subsistence over the course of the project, which can be food and rent, for example, or room and board when your project takes you far away from home.


5. The main source of funding (revenue) for your project will usually be a grant from artsnb, this is what you’ll use to cover your costs. However, if expenses exceed the maximum amount available from artsnb, then additional funding must come from elsewhere in order to balance the budget. Extra funds could be in the form of ‘in-kind’ contributions (personal or otherwise) or they could come from other agencies.


Some Common Scenarios

Following are a few scenarios that occur frequently. One of these might represent your own particular situation. Unclear, confusing or unbalanced budgets are one reason why applications are rejected; so it is to your advantage to present a budget that is clear, transparent, and consistent with your project description.

6. You need less than the maximum allowed by artsnb. Some programs, like Arts-by-Invitation, only allow a few kinds of expenses (e.g. travel and accommodations), which means that even when all allowable expenses are accounted for, the total might be smaller than the maximum available.


7. Your project requires a lot more than the maximum allowed by artsnb. Even though you don’t need to list all expenses–especially if they far exceed the maximum available through artsnb–you might have reasons to do so. In any case, make sure that your budget is clear and transparent, and that costly items are described with enough details for a proper evaluation. For example, if you’re going to claim thousands of dollars for materials and services, you need to describe these expenses briefly. If your budget is quite elaborate, you might want to present it on a separate sheet of paper.


8. Some expenses might be covered by a third party, but you still wish to acknowledge their contribution in your budget. Sponsors or collaborators will sometimes contribute space, materials or services to your project on an in-kind basis. You can acknowledge such a contribution by listing it as an expense in the left column and entering the same amount as a revenue in the right column. Make sure to add a note next to these items so that in-kind contributions are clearly identified.


9. Some of your expenses exceed the amount allowed for that particular item. Most programs have upper limits to the amount available from artsnb for specific items. For example, the maximum grant available from a given program might be $5,000, but no more than $1,000 can be spent on travel. You need to pay attention to such details and ensure that your budget clearly respects and reflects these limits.