7.5 Budget development process

The following is the sequence and scheduling of the required steps, according to the critical path method, to prepare a budget for submission to a potential donor. The complete list of accounts to be budgeted is detailed in Annex 17.17 Chart of Accounts for Emergency Programmes.

There should be flexibility in the schedule to accommodate more complex budgets that require more time to complete. Yet while it is important to remain flexible, the Budget Development Team requires some basic assumptions to start work:

  • Most of the basic assumptions indicated in section 7.4 have been provided to the Budget Development/Management Team.
  • The Budget Development Preparedness Activities have been carried out and the CO has a Budget Preparation toolkit with the recommended previously prepared inputs.
  • Proposal writing may be carried out at the same time as budget preparation, but essential sections such as the activity plan and implementation schedules should have been agreed upon.
  • If the available funding is notional, a bottom line figure should be provided.

Any significant deviation from these principles would mean that the process may need to be restarted.

Activity Who Purpose Schedule Outputs
Initial coordination meeting Budget Development Team Discuss budget assumptions and donor fund application guidelines


Understand the scope of the project, operational challenges, required set-up (compound, camps, communications, etc.) and geographical areas

Day 1 Project staffing plan (project management and additional support services)


CARE to donor account map (Does this exist? If not, then develop one.)


Programme support requirements and structure

redistribute Budget Development Toolkit
Finance Team Orientate staff in the use of the toolkit


Explain toolkit contents

Day 1 All teams are familiar with budget preparation tools
Budget input: Procurement Plans (one-time and recurring purchases)- Account Series

51XX – Professional Services

52XX – Equipment Purchases (Expensed);

53XX – Materials, Services & Consumables;

54XX – Travel and Transportation;

55XX – Occupancy Costs)


Programme Team/
Procurement, Logistics and HR
Identify one-time procurement activities, timing, prospective suppliers and cost estimates


Identify recurring procurement needs such as:

  • provision of food supplies to staff
  • compound rental
  • vehicle rental
  • transport services
  • accommodation
  • travel costs
  • fuel provision
  • security services
  • communication usage, etc.
Day 2 (first session) Day 4 (follow-up/
wrap-up session)
Procurement requirements included in the Direct Cost section of the Budget Format (BudgetMate, etc.)
Budget input: Project Staffing plans (Project Management and additional support services)-

Account Series

50XX – Personnel Costs;

5335 – Food Preparation services
5075 -Temp Staff

Programme Team and HR Project staffing action plan (local hires, international hires, compensation packages)


Casual labour needs




Day 2 (first session) Day 4 (follow-up/
wrap-up session)
Staffing plan included in the Direct Cost section of the Budget Preparation package
Budget input: Other direct costs -Account Series

57XX – Grants/ Sub-grants

Programme Team/
Determine monitoring and evaluation needs, timing and cost


Travel costs (fares, per diem, accommodation) associated with monitoring



Day 3 Costs included in the Direct Cost section of the Budget Preparation package
Budget input: Support Cost Budgets Finance Team Determine Fair Share Budget of SPC costs


General insurance costs


Determine Fair Share Budget of sub-office costs


Determine which CI Member costs need to be covered

Day 2 (first session) and Day 4 (revisit AdRet/ICR costs) SPC and Other Shared Costs in the Support Costs section of the Budget Preparation Package
Budget input: Consolidated Draft Budget Budget Development Team Calculate support/direct ratios and adjust as necessary


Identify additional costs not yet budgeted (see  section 7.6 Commonly overlooked costs)


Calculate/recalculate CI Member costs


Review Procurement and Staffing plans and adjust as required

Day 4 Draft Budget of Project ‘Necessary Costs’


Budget in the Donor Format Budget Development Team Apply donor exclusions/limits


Identify and document budget gaps


Update Funding Matrix



Day 4-5


Final Budget (in the donor format) for review by Emergency Response Team


Schedule of Budget Gaps/Excesses and Recommended Actions


Updated Programme Funding Matrix

When the budget and accompanying schedules are handed over, the Emergency Response Team needs to officially submit the budget as per the donor’s guidelines for fund applications. The following is a diagram of the process described above.

Diagram-Budget development process