Top tips for creating your project budget

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The East Midlands team have created a list of their top five frequently asked questions around budgets, we hope that you find these explanations useful! Still got some questions about your application? You can find more project FAQs and answers here.

Please feel free to post questions or any helpful advice you can pass onto others working on their project budgets.

How do I cost activities?

If you haven’t undertaken a heritage project before, it can be difficult to know where to start with costing your activities. One way of tackling this is having a conversation with your local museums service, record office or local history group as they are likely to have experience in running heritage activities and may be able to provide some useful advice.

If you plan to include training in skills such as archives research or oral history recording you should have a conversation with the provider before submitting your application; they will be able to talk through the services that they can offer and provide a quote.

What is the difference between an ‘in-kind contribution’ and ‘volunteer time’?

An ‘in-kind’ contribution is something that you would usually pay for that is offered to the project for free; this could be room hire, use of equipment, materials etc. The value of this should be shown in the ‘non-cash contributions’ section of the application form.

Volunteer time is shown separately on the application form underneath the ‘non-cash contributions’ section. There are set values given to volunteer time, these are outlined in the Application Guidance as £50 a day for unskilled work, £150 a day for skilled work and £350 a day for a professional.

In-kind contributions and volunteer time should not be included in the main budget table or ‘project income’ section as a monetary contribution.

What if I don’t know exactly how much it will cost?

It is not always possible to predict exactly how much a project will cost, however requesting quotes and speaking to people who have run similar projects will help to give good estimates.

Including a contingency budget for unforeseen rises in cost can be a good idea, particularly if you are working on a project that involves capital work or purchasing equipment. Contingency should be based on the risk that you have identified rather than a flat percentage.

Can I apply for funds to employ a professional?

Yes - you can apply for professional support. Professional roles should be facilitative in helping others to learn about heritage rather than working individually on the production of outputs.

Any roles with fees of over £10,000 should be recruited for openly and a job description or brief should be attached to your application. If a role is under £10,000 and you are not advertising for the post, you should explain who will be undertaking the work and what their skills and experience are within the narrative of your application.

What percentage of match funding do we need?

If you are applying for less than £100,000 there is no formal requirement for match funding. Projects of over £100,000 have a minimum requirement for match funding, please consult the Application Guidance of the relevant programme for further information.

Whether there is a minimum requirement for match funding or not, sourcing cash or in-kind contributions from other funders or supporters can demonstrate a wider commitment to the project. It also offers HLF better value for money in a competitive funding environment.

proffil Sarah Burgess's Sarah Burgess Jan 18 2016 - 10:20am
  1. My top tip is not to scrimp on the amount you include for contingency and inflation, particularly if you are carrying out works to an old building. Often it’s hard to know what you might find once the work begins and you don’t want to be left out of pocket. A good way to work out your contingency is looking through the risks you have identified, and then adding up what you could need in a worst case scenario. This is often better than adding a flat percentage on top of the project.

  2. proffil Elise Turner's Elise Turner
    Offline | Last seen: 10 hours 1 min ago
  3. I am compiling my application and need to input our community project costs. As these will not be 'delivered' and paid for some time down the line, what happens if these costs increase?



  4. proffil Christine King's Christine King
    Offline | Last seen: 17 hours 25 min ago
  5. in reply to

    Hi Christine,

    The best thing to do is to include in your application a budget for contingency and inflation to cover unexpected costs. It is often helpful to include a bit more than you think you will need- you can always give this back if you don't spend it. Talking to other groups who have done this type of project, or thinking through any risks your project could face, can help you plan your costs.

    If you find as the project goes on that this contingency won't cover it, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your grants officer. They could help you rescope the project so you stall deliver the benefits you expect but in a more cost-effective way or suggest other sources of funding you can apply for to cover any shortfall. It is very rare for us to be able to increase your grant once you have started your project.

    Hope this helps


  6. proffil Elise Turner's Elise Turner
    Offline | Last seen: 10 hours 1 min ago
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