Skip navigation

This post discusses grant-writing consultants’ retainer fees. It is part of an ongoing series. Earlier posts discussed hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates) and prospect research fees. Later posts will explore proposal review fees and other topics related to the compensation of grant writers and to consulting.


Consultant Retainer Fees:

Many consultants are willing to work under a retainer agreement for a small subset of select clients. Retainers work well when there is a steady flow of work and when the client and the consultant have a long-term relationship.


The client and the consultant both benefit from the predictability of the retainer arrangement. A typical retainer commits both parties to a specified minimum number of hours of service per month and a specified number of months the agreement is to be in effect. Often the minimum number of hours is 10 hours per month and the minimum number of months is either 3 or 6.


Services agreed upon in the retainer will depend upon the specific contract. Among such services may be one or more of:

  • Providing advisory and consulting services
  • Participating in planning sessions with client staff
  • Conducting presentations to client staff
  • Doing grant prospect research
  • Providing grant opportunity alerts
  • Preparing a set number of letters of inquiry per month
  • Providing assistance in proposal development
  • Developing a set number of proposals per month


Sample Retainers:

As the table below indicates, a retainer fee may cost as little as $750 per month or as much as $9,000 per month. Calculated on a quarterly basis, these extremes equate to a fee range of $2,250 to $27,000; on a yearly basis, they equate to a fee range of $9,000 to $108,000.





Consultant/Firm A



Consultant/Firm B



Consultant/Firm C



Consultant/Firm D



Consultant/Firm E



Consultant/Firm F



Consultant/Firm G



Consultant/Firm H





2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Grant Writing as a Career: Retainer Fees in 2013 ( […]

  2. […] Grant Writing as a Career: Retainer Fees in 2013 ( […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: