Project Budgets

You need a budget for any project. A budget helps organizers realize the scope of their project and funding needs. A budget is a summary of estimated income and expenses.

  • It creates a financial map for your project.
  • It is a representation of where money will come from and how it will be spent.
  • It allows you to keep track of what is coming in and how much and what is going out.
  •  It helps you to guide where your money should be spent and where to hold back. 

Basic Budget Terms

  1. REVENUE: Money that is coming in. For arts projects this is usually grants or fundraising.
  2. EXPENSES: Money that is going out, the money you spend to make your project happen.
  3. SURPLUS: When the money coming in is more than the money going out.
  4. DEFICIT: When the money going out is more than the money coming in.

Once you have come up with a project idea, target community and compatible collaborative partner, it is time to fund your project. It is helpful to have as clear a project vision as possible when moving into this stage. Before you start fundrais- ing, gathering resources and asking for grants, you will need to know how much it will cost to run your project. This is often known as the “reality” stage. As the true cost of hiring artists, renting spaces, purchasing art materials and advertising the program and event become clear, you see the scope of your project. In the early stages of project budgeting, most of your time is spent researching how much things cost. A few things to consider when creating a budget:

  • Do background research. It is easy to jot down a number on a budget line, but remember that the amount you guess is what you will need to work within or prove to granting sources it will cost.
  • Include everything, even the little stuff like program snacks, transportation and paying staff overtime nearing the final event. The little stuff adds up and small or one-time projects don’t have much financial wiggle room.
  • Speak with the person or organization you are collaborating with. What supplies, space, or materials can they offer for free? Get a dollar value for their contribution to add to your budget as an in-kind contribution.

Renting Space

One of the benefits of collaborating with an existing organization is having access to their space. If you and your collaborating partner do not have a working space you may have to pay to use one. When looking for a space to rent, consider the following:

  • Location. Is it central to the community you are working in?
  • Functionality. Does the space work for the project? Is the room temperature correct for the instruments you would play or store there? Can you get paint on the floors? What other events or classes are happening at the same time?
  • Cost. Can your project afford the space?
  • Length of lease.
  • Building access. Can you gain access to the building when you need it?
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