By Beverly A. Browning

Suppose you’ve applied for grants with 20 potential funding sources. One of the 20 funding sources funds you in full. The money has been deposited, and your project is up and running. But more mail comes in, and guess what? Your project has received two more grants, totaling an amount equal to the full funding request. You must have written one fabulous narrative!

If your project is overfunded, here’s what to do:

  • Immediately contact each funder and explain your predicament.
  • Ask the funders’ permission to keep the funds and expand your project’s design.
  • Ask the funders’ permission to carry grant monies over into another fiscal year.

The worst-case scenario is that all funding sources except for the first funder ask you to return the additional funding. The best-case scenario is that you’re allowed to keep the funding and create a bigger and better project or program.

The best way to avoid the predicament of having too much money is to write a letter to each outstanding funding source (sources that haven’t communicated with you on their decisions to fund your grant requests) immediately after you know that you have full funding. Be honest and quick. It’s the right and ethical thing to do — even though having too much money sounds like a good thing.

Any grant funds received should be deposited into a separate account and tracked individually by using accounting practices that enable tracking by date, by expenditure, and by line-item allocation against the approved project budget (which is the budget that was approved by the funding source).