What is an honorarium?
An honorarium is a payment that says “thank you” to someone for providing a small service. A price or fee is not really set for the service rendered. Honoraria are income and taxable.
Who receives an honorarium?
Honoraria are very common in the academic community, especially in the sciences. Individual faculty members from other universities are invited to visit with and share their research findings with colleagues and students through regular, department seminars. Such people usually receive an honorarium in addition to travel expenses.
Are there examples of honoraria as thank you payments outside the academic community?
Small speaking engagements, clerical (religious) duties, judging competitions are all examples where honoraria might apply.
Why discuss honoraria and grant writing compensation?
Paying a grant writer on commission, as a percentage of an award, is an idea that just will not disappear. It is an unethical practice. This seems to come up with beginning grant writers or nonprofits that are small, new or struggling themselves. An honorarium is a bridge to the right idea about grant writing compensation for all parties. A beginning grant writer can practice the craft and still be paid. A new, small, or struggling nonprofit learns how to work with a consultant. Everybody wins with the honorarium approach.
The honorarium is not about under valuing the skills, experience, and time involved in preparing a grant proposal. Rather, an honorarium acknowledges those skills. It is a beginning, a way forward, and most of all a “thank you.”