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Budget Form

Use this guide to assist in competing your budget estimation.

Budget estimates should be realistic and based upon fair and open competition among suppliers of services, materials, and equipment (see “Procurement” below). The History Fund strongly recommends that applicants obtain estimates of major cost items to use as a basis for preparing budgets and include such estimates as attachments to the application, if relevant to your project. Label and classify every expense; no expense labeled “miscellaneous” will be allowed. All project costs must directly relate to the accomplishment of the project.

Use the budget narrative field to elaborate on any budget items that are complex or require additional explanation.

The budget and narrative must agree. The completed budget form will express numerically form what the project narrative describes. The budget shows for whom or for what funds are needed and how you calculated those costs. The budget also shows how these costs will be met—either by History Fund grant support, by Match, or by a combination of the two. Finally, the Total for each row is to be included.

Note regarding the Budget Form:

  • As shown on the Sample Budget Form below (and in the online application), itemize budget expenses in the column titled “Budget Item.” Also use the Budget Item column to show calculations of time and materials, etc. Do not itemize items or show calculations in the Budget Category column (the form will not let you).
  • The Budget Form available for download is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. If you do not have access to Excel or cannot download the Budget Form spreadsheet, contact the History Fund.
  • The History Fund has set up the Budget Form in Excel to do the math for you (but you should still double check it). The Total Cost field will auto-fill after you enter the unit and rate information. The Total field will auto-fill when you enter amounts in the History Fund and Match columns. Do not use symbols ($) or commas when you enter figures in the Unit, Rate, History Fund, or Match columns.
  • Round up cents to the nearest dollar (example: round up $278.38 to $279.00).

History Fund procurement policies and procedures are designed to encourage and promote competition among vendors to ensure the highest quality products and services at the lowest price. Should your project receive a History Fund grant, you must comply with the following regarding the purchases of goods and services listed in the project budget:

1. For purchases of goods or services with a cost of $6,000 or less, the grant recipient is not required, but is encouraged, to solicit competitive proposals (three suggested) to ensure that the project is receiving the highest quality product or service at the lowest price. Documentation of costs or proposals may include notes of verbal price quotes and written proposals including the name of person contacted, date of proposal, and quoted amount.

2. For purchases of goods and services over $6,000, grant recipients are required to solicit competitive proposals. The recipient must:
(a) Prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) in accordance with History Fund guidance;
(b) Proposals are to be solicited from an adequate number of qualified sources to permit reasonable competition consistent with the nature and requirements of the procurement.
(c) Award the contract to a responsive bidder on the basis of written selection criteria.

Note: Requests for Proposal are not required at the time of application.

The hiring of any contractor/consultant as part of the project must be done in an open, competitive manner whether accomplished prior to submitting the History Fund proposal or after a grant is awarded. Requests for Proposal for costs greater than $6,000 must be reviewed and approved by the History Fund prior to issuance. Any contractor/consultant involved in preparing the RFP cannot be hired to carry out the work. Applicants who hire consultants prior to the grant period must provide documentation of a fair and open selection process if a grant is awarded. An example of an RFP is appended at the end of these Instructions.

Download the Sample Budget.
Download the Budget Form.

Budget Form Categories
There are seven overarching budget categories on the Budget Form:

Not all budget categories or line items within budget categories will apply to all grants. Please mark “N/A” in the Budget Form to denote budget categories or line items which do not apply to your grant.

Certain costs are ineligible under History Fund rules. For a list of ineligible costs, see the Guidelines, section titled “What kinds of costs are ineligible for History Fund grant assistance?”

List by name and title paid staff and volunteers whose time will be charged to the project. Calculate the cost of their time, (hourly rates and fringe benefits), distribute the costs between the History Fund and matching share columns, and provide totals.

Budgets must include the time and cost of a project director and project bookkeeper. Applications which do not account for these two necessary positions will not be considered. The History Fund needs to know that a grant project will have a director – someone responsible for the successful completion of the project – and someone who will keep the project’s financial records – a project bookkeeper. The costs of a project director and bookkeeper may be accounted for as match (and usually are), may be paid from grant funds, or may be a combination of match and grant funds.

The time of unpaid volunteers is to be valued at the State minimum wage (currently $7.95 per hour) unless a higher rate can be justified—usually in the case of a volunteer who is doing work for which they are customarily or were previously paid (for example, a retired CPA serving as project bookkeeper or former educator as the project director of a school program). If higher rates are cited, explain in the Budget Narrative.

It is anticipated that grant projects may hire the services of outside consultants or contractors. List each service provider in Professional Services on the Budget Form. Include a computation for consultant costs (e.g. hourly, daily, or lump sum) distribute the costs between the History Fund and the matching share columns and provide totals. Note: Cost-plus contracts (for example: “$500 / day plus per diem”)must include a not-to-exceed amount.

Examples of professional services a project may require are listed below:

  • Collections management
  • Architectural history
  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Exhibits design
  • Research
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Special event planning and oversight

Bricks & Mortar projects may require construction services, subdivided into areas such as:

  • Architectural services
  • Construction
  • Engineering
Materials & Supplies

Personnel refers to the labor you need to accomplish your project. Materials & Supplies refers to the "parts" that will be used in the execution of the project. Donated services and materials are allowable as match when they directly benefit the objectives of the project and are specifically identified. Donated services or equipment usage must be documented. Contact the History Fund for assistance in determining the value of donated services, materials, or equipment use. 

Materials & Supplies are subdivided into the following categories:

  • Audio-visual supplies
  • Collection supplies
  • Educational materials & supplies (used for programs)
  • Exhibit supplies 
  • Hardware supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Other supplies. This is a catch-all category for items that do not fit into any of the other categories above. Explain in the budget narrative field the supplies listed in this category.
  • Postage

It is not necessary to account for every screw, sticky note, or computer flash drive in your project budget. It is necessary to show that you have thought through what you need to accomplish the project and have budgeted for it.


Equipment includes the tools you will use to accomplish the project. Under equipment, list items that you will purchase with grant funds and use during the project's duration, and which will remain with your organization to allow it to sustain the project after the grant ends. Examples include digital audio recorders for an oral history project, computers for a collections management project, or archival shelving for a collections storage project. Make sure the project narrative includes clear, compelling explanations for any equipment purchases in the budget.

Equipment is subdivided into the following categories:

  • Audio-visual equipment
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer software
  • Storage and display furniture
  • Other equipment. This is a catch-all category for items that do not fit into any of the other categories above. Explain in the budget narrative field the equipment listed in this category.
Marketing & Promotion

Telling your community and stakeholders about your project is important. If the success of your project relies on public participation, marketing and promotion are essential. Indicate how you plan to tell your community about your program.

Categories include but are not limited to:

  • Broadcast advertising - radio, television
  • Internet advertising - Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Webpage advertisements
  • Print advertising - newspapers, newsletters, magazines
  • Printed materials - postcards, flyers, posters, invitations

Note: History Fund grant recipients are required to acknowledge the History Fund in writing and include the logo of the Ohio History Connection on all project signage, press releases, and program materials. The History Fund and the Ohio History Connection must be acknowledged verbally at all grant-related events. Recommended wording will be provided. The cost of signage to acknowledge History Fund support may be counted as match on the project's budget.

Printing & Publications

Examples of expenses for Printing & Publications include photocopying handouts for grant support activities, printing booklets or publication of books, and the design of these items. It also includes web-based design and publication expenses.

Categories include (but are not limited to):

  • Design and layout
  • Photocopying
  • Printing
  • Photography
Professional Development

Professional Development includes conference and workshop fees, the cost of training done "in house" by an outside expert, membership dues, or other fees. This category may apply to many grant applications in the Organizational Development category.


Travel encompasses mileage and accommodations for grant project personnel. All History Fund related travel is governed by the Travel Policy and Procedures of the Ohio History Connection.

What followed are policies for several of the more commonly incurred travel expenses:

  • Travel by car is reimbursed at $.52 per mile
  • Accommodations may be booked if the traveler is more than 75 miles from office or home after 8pm and are to be made at a business class hotel (for example: Hampton Inn, Marriott Courtyard)
  • Meals will be reimbursed only in conjunction with overnight stays; lunch is generally not reimbursed
  • The per diem rate is $35 per day, including gratuity and taxes
  • Airfare will be reimbursed at coach rates

Contact the History Fund for more information if travel expenses are a part of your grant.