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This post explores grant consultants’ prospect research fees in early 2017. It updates an earlier post for 2016. It is part of an ongoing series. Other new posts for 2017 will explore hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), retainer fees, and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Prospect Research Fees

Prospect research is the search for viable grant opportunities. Grant writing consultants often do prospect research for client grant-seekers. If the client can set some of the research’s parameters ahead of time (e.g., search terms, funding type, beneficiaries, grant award range), the search for potential funders is apt to be that much more efficient and often less costly. Often consultants offer to find a fixed number of grant prospects at a flat rate per prospect and with a minimum number of prospects to be delivered. Grant writing consultants may adjust their prospect research fees based upon:

  • The number of prospects to be identified
  • The extensiveness and scope of the search for potential funders
  • The nature of the project concept
  • The amount of the anticipated budget request
  • The size of the client’s organization


At the search’s end, consultants may deliver to clients a detailed and prioritized list of possible grant sources; an analysis of the chances of obtaining grants from each source; and a plan for what to do next to pursue grants from the best prospects.

Sample Fees

Grant writing consultants’ charges for prospect research services vary widely. As the table below indicates, they can range from $500 to $5,000 per funding report. The ultimate cost of such searches may observe a pre-established not-to-exceed amount. In early 2017, evaluations of identified grant leads – held either on-site or conducted remotely with a client – may be charged at hourly rates of from $50 to $150 or more. It is perhaps noteworthy that the ranges found in exploring flat rates and hourly rates for prospect research remain the same as were found early in 2016.

Prospect Research Fees Minimum Rates Maximum Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $500 $750
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 $3,200
Consultant/Firm 3 $750 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 4 $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm 5 $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm 6 $2,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 7 $2,500 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 8 150 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 9 195 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 250 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 550 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 600 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 17 1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 18 2,550 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 19 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 20 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 21 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 22 $60/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 23 $75/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 24 $75/hour Unstated


Charges for prospect research vary with its nature, scope, and complexity. Private grant makers are far more numerous than public ones. In general, potential grant seekers can expect to spend measurably less for a search limited to state and federal grant prospects, and measurably more for one limited to foundation and corporate grant prospects.


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