An Ethical Question about Grants

Dear Kim,

We are expanding a project and want to hire a full time staff person. We have submitted a proposal to Foundation A for a quarter-time person and now a second foundation has expressed interest in this project. When we submit the proposal to Foundation B, should we write in a __-time staff person with the same job description or should we seek funding for a full-time person and then hire 1.25 staff if we receive all the funding we have asked for? We run a very ethical organization but this is a new situation for us.
—Visions of Sugarplums

Dear Sugar,

You should definitely apply for what you want, which is a full time person. If you get funding from both foundations, you can then decide whether to hire an additional __-time person over what you originally planned, or you can go back to the foundation that funded the __-time position and explain that you are now fully funded staff-wise and could you use their money for another aspect of the project. If they liked the project, chances are they will let you use that money somewhere else. Organizations that seek grant funding always have more requests out than the money they need because the chances of getting funded from everyone are slim. It sometimes does happen that all the money you requested comes in, and then you just negotiate with your funder. There is nothing unethical about that, and it would be considered imprudent to not send out several applications. It is only unethical if you lie to funders about where you are applying or what you have received money for already, but you could figure that out pretty easily.
—Kim