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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.

 

Retainers

Minimum

Maximum

Consultant/Firm A

$750/month

Unstated

Consultant/Firm B

$1,000/month

$2,000/month

Consultant/Firm C

$1,000/month

$2,000/month

Consultant/Firm D

$1,000/month

Unstated

Consultant/Firm E

$1,250/month

$5,500/month

Consultant/Firm F

$3,000/month

Unstated

Consultant/Firm G

$3,000/month

$5,000/month

Consultant/Firm H

$5,000/month

$9,000/month

 

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