The Money Zone:

Cost Sharing and Matching

Beth Sutter | January 24, 2023

Created by our grant writing team, this series provides guidance on the

financial development and management processes of competitive funding.

Most federal, state, and foundation grants require a match.


Although the requirements will differ, the basics are the same.

2 (1)

What is it? 


The cost share or cost match is the portion of project costs that are not paid by the funding agency but are provided by the applicant or other entity. The funding agency makes the determination of what's required—typically a percentage of the total project budget.

Why is this required?


Shares the costs of various government programs across jurisdictions or with the private sector.


Demonstrates your commitment to the project.


Promotes sustainability of your project past the award

Who can provide the matching funds? 


This will typically come from you (the applicant), but other sources can be state funds, local government funds, a private entity, or another federal agency. Keep in mind, matching funds should usually be non-federal for federal grants.

What are the types of contributions?

1) Cash:

Direct project expenses you provide towards your project budget—such as personnel salary, travel, equipment, or supplies—or cash from other non-federal grants.

2) In-kind:

Non-cash contributions by you or your non-federal partner specifically for this project. In-kind match is calculating the value of property, equipment, goods, or services contributed to the project. Examples include volunteer time, catering, equipment, space rental, or technical assistance.

How do I calculate the cost-share or match?

Starting with the total project budget:

1 (2)

Starting with the award amount:


For federal grants:


What else do I need to know?

  • Make sure all costs are included in the overall project budget

  • All costs (including those covered by your cash or in-kind match) must be allowable and meet any requirements under the funding notice.

  • Include in your application a signed match letter or other documentation that 1) defines the match amount your organization will provide and 2) ensures that the funds will be committed to the project and available as needed with no restrictions.

  • If there are other organizations providing matching funds, provide documentation of that funding via letter or other documentation.

  • Match funds can only be committed and reported as a cost share once. No double-dipping!