Key Actions by:

Standard 3: Accurate and cost-efficient proposal budgeting.

Develop an accurate and cost-efficient proposal budget including a budget narrative based on project activities and timeline, and in accordance with CRS policies and donor requirements.

Establish amounts for indirect and allocated direct costs, and identify potential high-level budget constraints and decisions so the proposal development team can begin budgeting for direct-direct costs ("back of the envelope" calculation).

  • Who

    • Primary responsible: Proposal budget lead and country representative (CR)
      • The proposal budget lead oversees the process, compiling relevant inputs and sharing the estimated budget amounts following preliminary calculations;
      • The CR makes final decisions regarding CRS discretionary funding and any cost-share funding.

    • Others involved: Finance manager (FM); proposal coordinator; other proposal development team members
      • The FM provides inputs related to country program allocated direct costs, staffing, and CRS’ indirect costs;
      • The proposal coordinator leads the proposal development team in analyzing the call for proposals and donor intelligence for information on any other budget earmarks or parameters.

  • Partnership
    • Although this is an internal CRS action, the process impacts the budget available for partner-level project staffing and activities and helps inform partner budget ceilings.
    • Many partners will be aware of the above-described process for calculating the funds available for direct programming costs. For partners unfamiliar with the process, CRS should take the time to explain the indirect and allocated-direct costs that CRS must account for, and the process for arriving at initial CRS and partner-level budget ceilings. It may be most appropriate for the proposal decision-maker/senior management to lead such conversations.
    • Clearly communicate to partners when providing any early budget ceiling figures that these are initial estimates. Ensure partners are aware that CRS may need to adjust these figures as the proposal development process advances.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • After receiving CRS’ budget ceiling from the prime, the budget lead follows the same process for determining the amount available for CRS direct-direct project expenses and for estimating any initial budget ceilings for CRS partners.
  • Emergency projects
    • Follow the same process, after the proposal coordinator or decision-maker consults Humanitarian Response Department (HRD) leadership about any available emergency reserve funding and the status of any emergency appeals.