How Much Money Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal?

When it comes to applying for a grant, it is often up to the applicant to request the funding amount. But, just how much money should you request in your grant proposal?

Surprisingly, the answer is not the total amount that you need. It is also not the maximum that the funding source is prepared to give. You should request the minimum amount needed to implement the program or project.

Requesting the Right Amount

When preparing your grant proposal, start with a financial needs assessment to determine the minimum amount needed to make an impact. This may actually be the minimum amount you need to operate your program or project. Not every grant will list the amount of funding that is available. Sometimes the grant funder may not want to disclose this information. 

Although there are many reasons for this, the most important reason is integrity – the integrity of the applicant. If you ask for an excessive amount, it could seem like your organization mismanages finances or is intentionally overstating its needs. Grant proposals are often rejected because too much funding was requested.

On the other hand, if you ask for the minimum amount, the funding source may award you more than requested to support your efforts. Karen Harvey, the Financial Administrative Assistant of The Wade Center, offers an example:

“We had to submit a Letter of Interest to the local office, and we asked for $16,000 to fund half a year of our computer lab. They contacted us and said the Charleston office recommended we request $32,000 for the full year. We did, and we won!” 


The bottom line is, when you are ready to submit your funding request, keep in mind, that “modesty moves money.” Funding sources know the difference between a legitimate request and one that is over the top. It’s best to ask for too little, rather than too much. Remember, your project should not rely solely on grants. You should always try fundraising through multiple avenues.

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