Match requirements are those monies required to “leverage” or qualify for a grant. That means that the applicant must, through its operations budget or other donations — such as in-kind donations of time, space, products, and/ or staffing — offer a certain amount of funds in order to qualify for the grant. Most often, match is required up front by federal and state granting agencies.
It can also be stipulated in the grant agreement established by foundations after you have received notice of a successful application.
Match is also linked to sustainability plans. For instance, the RFP may state that in year one, the applicant must provide a 25-percent match ($25 for every $100 requested); in year two, a 50-percent match; and in year three, a 75-percent match.
One good way to provide part of a cash match, particularly if you are asking for staff salaries in the grant, is to have a willing applicant donate the new staff person's benefits package as a cash match. (Benefits are usually calculated at 25 to 30 percent of the salary.)
These requirements are meant to encourage the applicant to begin planning immediately to incorporate the project into its annual budget by year four, when the grant expires. It also has the result of discouraging applications by organizations that are more interested in pursuing grant money than in implementing and sustaining a necessary service.
Read the fine print in the RFP regarding matching requirements. Is it a combination of allowable expenses, or must it be a cash match?
An RFP from the U.S. Department of Education says applicants receiving grant funds must maintain and document local resources at the following ratio:
Year one: at least 10 percent of total project cost
Year two: at least 20 percent of total project cost
Year three: at least 30 percent of total project cost
Year four: at least 40 percent of total project cost
Years five through eight: at least 50 percent of total project cost
Years nine through twelve: at least 65 percent of total project cost
The eligible applicant's share may be obtained from any source, including funds made available for programs under Title I, and may be provided in cash or as in-kind goods and services. All match items must be designated for the purposes of this project and must not be used to provide match to any other project.
To determine match, the requested amount is divided by the percentage that is the federal share of the project. Thus, a first-year project requesting $125,000 in federal funds will need to match with at least $13,888 ($125,000 divided by .90 = $138,888). To maintain that level of funding in the second year, the match would need to be increased to $31,250 ($125,000 divided by .80 = $156,250).