Working on your budget

Okay so this is the hard part and probably an area that could do with some improvement to get your project application across the line.

Let’s explore some common budget areas. We will start by consider project roles.

You will of course need a project manager. Someone has to drive your project, monitor your project and evaluate it. As you think about how much to allocate to your project manager consider the types of duties they will carry out.

Your project manager will (this is only an idea not an entire list):

* understand the big picture
* control and monitor the budget
* liaise with key stakeholders and keep them informed of project progress
* document, monitor and assess project issues
* understand risk management (we will talk more about this in a future post) and identify, reduce and eliminate various project risks depending on the nature of the risk
* development, implement and monitor project milestones
* have an understanding of instructional design

With all the duties above in mind, how much time each week will your project manager need to devote to your project, what is their hourly rate? Will this amount go in the funding column or the in-kind column for the organisation?

You are likely to require the expertise of content experts. What will their role be and how much time should they devote to the project? As with the project manager you will need to make a decision which column the funds will apply against.

Will you require an instruction designer or do your staff on the project already have this expertise? If not, you may need to include this in your project budget.

Other roles on your project might include a web developer, audio/video producer, graphic designer and quality reviewer. You may also require the assistance of administrative support staff.

Your project may require some trials and evaluations. Who will do this and how will you cover the expenses?

Will your course be distributed online or on CD? Are any of these expenses legitimate expenses (refer to the NSW funding guidelines for clarification on what can and can’t be included in your budget)? Can you request funding or claim these costs as in-kind or RTO payments.

How will you support your learners? Are there any costs associated with this support and should this be included in your budget?

Will you use workplace coaches and mentors. Their time can be estimated and costed and included in your budget. If they are fulltime employees and their salaries are already covered you might like to consider including this in your in-kind contribution column (remember that you must match the funding amount $ for $).

How much is your organisation willing to contribute to the project (in terms of dollars and in-kind)? This too can be included in your budget.

How many team meetings will you need to hold and where will these meetings be held? If you are using a meeting room within your own organisation you can cost in the hire costs for such a room and include this in your in-kind contribution.

What other costs will you need to cover? Consider attendance at induction in Sydney, conference fees for e-learning 2010, travel etc.

By now you should have started to formulate a reasonable budget. Remember funding cannot be used to purchase infrastrure, hardware or software. It can’t be used to run a conference or other one off events and the focus of your project cannot be professional development for your own staff.

If you find your project is running on a tight budget you could visit http://creativecommunity.flexiblelearning.net.au/ for some useful tips and tricks.

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