Meeting Match Requirements
Don’t Forget The Match
Meeting match requirements of some Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be a frustrating and time-consuming task of proposal writing. It is rare to find a funder willing to fund 100% of the project cost and most likely will require either a soft or hard match. Funders in many situations will use the match formula as the tiebreaker in giving awards. Creativity and imagination pays off in this important part of your proposal.
Soft match includes the value of in-house donated goods and services, including personnel time, administrative overhead, mileage, office supplies and equipment, office space, and utilities. If not otherwise specified by the funder, any pertinent aspect of the office that will be directly involved with the project are allowable costs. For example, if extra clerical support will be needed at certain items for this project, list "X"% of a clerk’s time and fringe benefits as an in-kind contribution.
Be prudent in your use of this as some federal agencies determine an indirect cost rate for an organization by including a set amount of executive level and financial support. Do not count such support twice in a proposal, once as in-kind and once as administrative support. Also if you know these in-kind goods and services are being used as match in another grant it is inappropriate to use the value for the second grant. It can only be used once. It is also inappropriate to use in-kind goods of an already federal grant-funded project. If you are in doubt, ask your funder.
Soft match can also be found from local business support in the form of giving a presentation, lecture, goods and services, etc. The salary and benefits that would have been paid to an employee while they are performing services for the grant-funded project are common items of soft match. These opportunities also provide the impetus for coalition building, a needed component of most proposals.
The other type of match is called hard match, or actual cold cash. Hard match may be difficult to find when there is no money that has been appropriated in the budget. Typically these funds would have to be determined when the budget is being developed. If you know this is a good possibility during the next fiscal year, plan some funding in your requested budget.
Hard match can also be found from local business support or local and state associations affiliated with the project. Consider using a challenge grant to mobilize individual and group support in the community. The rationale is... "X" amount of money will be raised from a particular funder, if "X" amount can be raised. In other words, this is an opportunity to double or triple the initial investment. Local community foundations might be another source of hard match.
Last but not least, if you have exhausted all possible avenues for a hard match, request a waiver from the funding authority. You will need to demonstrate overwhelming financial hardship.
Remember ’Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ when it comes to match.