What are matching funds? In short, they are financial and other support that is provided by the grant applicant in order to be eligible to receive a grant award.
Not all grant guidelines require matching funds, but if they are required, a failure to provide them will result in a rejected application. Before applying for any grant, make sure to read the guidelines carefully and ensure that your organization can provide any required matching support.
Even if matching funds are not required, there can be significant benefits to writing them into your grant proposal anyway. To increase your chances of grant funding, keep these tips in mind next time you are compiling a grant budget:
- If possible, it's always beneficial to explain in your grant proposal how your organization is supporting the project. Grant reviewers want to know that you are invested in the project, and financial support is a clear investment.
- In addition, providing matching funds lends to your project's feasibility. If you request $30,000 for a project that will clearly cost more, it's important to show how you will accomplish your stated goals.
- If you're proposing non-required matching funds, avoid listing specific dollar amounts and don't call it a "match". Generally, if it's listed in the grant proposal, the grant maker can hold you to it, and tracking a specific amount can increase administrative overhead costs. Even if the grant maker does not require the tracking, your own organization might.
- While you shouldn't include any non-required matching funds as a line item in your budget, you should explain the value of the additional support in your budget explanation. Likewise, favor estimates and ranges in liu of hard numbers. For example:
"Although matching contributions are not required for this project, the project as planned would not be possible without the support of the Junior Hot Dog Society. The JHDS will contribute an estimated $500 worth of hot dogs plus $200 worth of relish, mustard, and buns. In addition, they will supply 40 hours of volunteer labor estimated at $20/hour, which would equal $800. As a result of this estimated $1,500 of in-kind support, no hot dogs are requested in the proposal budget, even though they are a key component of the proposed study on how sporting events affect obesity.”
- Be sure to re-state that you know matching funds are not required, and that you are providing support to show your organization's commitment and feasibility.
- If you waive indirect rate reimbursement, you can include that estimated cost as part of your support.
In short? If matching funds are required for the grant, make sure you can provide them. If they aren't, it's still wise to demonstrate how your organization is supporting the project, in addition to the expected grant request.
Have more budget questions? Take advantage of The Grant Helper's free grant writing consultation.