Cost Proposal: How to Build the Budget

Learning Opportunities


Cost Proposal: How to Build the Budget

June 08, 2018 - 9:00am to 5:00pm

Washington , DC , United States


Shannon M. Meehan

Language: English

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Early - Apr 27 Regular - May 18 Late - Jun 08
NON-MEMBERS $630 $680 $735
HUMENTUM MEMBERS $525 $575 $630


This one-day workshop is designed for NGO staff who contribute to developing proposal budgets. It focuses on how to build an appropriate cost proposal as well as how to maximize cost proposal budgets with the US Government (USG). You will practice the fundamentals of building a budget, format a budget according to the Federal Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) and learn how to communicate and justify the cost proposal to your donor. Taught in a highly participatory style, the workshop provides you with the skills you need to confidently compete for your next USG Grant or Cooperative Agreement. 


In addition to individual participants, InsideNGO encourages teams of employees to attend this workshop together. Staff who will benefit include: 

  • Finance, grants, and contracts staff who play a role in proposal writing or review

  • Program staff who work on new business development

  • Business development staff


You will learn how to:

  • Manage USAID/USG expectations for cost proposals
  • Determine the necessary costs to include in a budget
  • Comply with the formatting requirements as outlined in USAID/USG Standard Form 424
  • Apply best practices for budget narratives
  • Reconcile the budget narrative to the budget calculations
CPE Credits

Participants at the workshop will earn 7.8 CPE credits and receive a certificate of attendance. The course level is Basic. The delivery method of this program is Group Live and the Field of Study is Specialized Knowledge.

InsideNGO is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Introductions, workshop objectives
RFA/RFP overview
Elements of a Cost Proposal
Category Based Budget
How to Present a Budget to US Government
Group Exercise: Examining an RFA
Cost Proposals: The Components
Budget Team Role 
Building the Budget: Cost Estimation 
Unit Cost by Type
Group Exercise: Determining Costs
Building the Budget: Fixed Costs
Group Exercise: Determining Fixed Costs
Building the Budget: Identify Costs by Activity and Time
Group Exercise: Build the Costs
Evaluating the Cost Proposal: Common Considerations
The Budget Narrative
Group Exercise: Budget Narrative
Budget Review
Best Practices Review
Close of Day

1120 20th St NW 
Suite 520S (Building 1)
Washington DC 20036

The nearest Metro stops to the workshop are Farragut North on the Red Line and Farragut West on the Blue/Orange/Silver Lines. Find a map of the DC metro system here.

Participants are responsible for making and paying for their own hotel/lodging arrangements. We have found that usually offers comparable or even lower rates than we are able to negotiate. We recommend attendees look for hotels in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Check out some suggestions for convenient hotels.