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Small Grants as Building Blocks
of Larger Budgets

by Katie Krueger

Seeking grant funds for a program with a large budget is a challenge: small grants of a few thousand dollars are much more common and easier to get. Large grants (those $50,000 and more) are fewer and more competitive. One way to work around this problem is to apply for several small grants, requesting each to fund a portion of the program. Here are five things you can do to effectively divide your program and secure grant funding for each smaller part of the large program.

  1. In the grant application, describe the whole program, even if you are only asking for a portion of the funding. The needs assessment, goals and objectives, and evaluation should address the entire project. Be sure to add the most detail about the portion for which you are writing the grant, but do not overlook other parts of the program.

  2. Divide the entire program into smaller programs that will function independently, but will work best collectively. For example, if your program provides pregnant women access to health care, there may be an outreach/public education component and a service delivery component. Clearly both components would work well together for a comprehensive program. However, if you were only able to secure funding for one, it should still be effective on its own.

  3. Make it clear in the applications which program component you are requesting funding for. Be unambiguous in your language and start by saying, A Krueger Foundation grant will fund 10 public education campaigns. This way the funders understand exactly what part of a larger effort they are funding.

  4. Develop a budget that reflects your specific request. Include the cost of the entire program, but identify those items which are in your request. If you are using a two-column budget (Column 1=Item, Column 2=Cost), consider adding a third column for the amount specifically requested from the Foundation.

  5. Reassure the funder that you have secured (or are working very hard to secure) funding for the other program components. List other grants that you have received and those that you have submitted and are waiting to hear back from. Include all the support that you have from other income sources including participant fees, individual donors and/or other fund raising efforts. Foundations will fund parts of a program, but only if they are confident that the entire program will be funded.

Asking for only a portion of a budget in a grant request is a good strategy for funding a program with a large budget. Small grant by small grant, you will eventually build a sizable program.

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About the Author:

Katie Krueger is the editor of Find Funding Magazine (, an online resource for grant writers of all levels. She teaches an online grant writing class at

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