The peace of mind to successfully become an independent 501(c)(3)

Going from fiscal sponsorship to independence means taking on responsibility – and risk – for every part of your organization. From finance and accounting to governance and HR, you, your team and your Board are now responsible.

Plus, the process itself is pretty involved and carries real costs and takes real time.

You, your team and your Board will have lots of questions…and not enough answers. Things like:

  • What types of corporate insurance do I need and how do I know what a fair rate is?
  • How do I find a benefits broker and what should I be providing?
  • What work should I hire external service providers for and what should we handle internally?
  • Who should do my payroll?
  • What government forms do I need our employees to fill out?

But what if you had an experienced professional by your side, someone who could help you navigate this process and give you the peace of mind that you’re dotting all of your i’s and crossing all of your t’s?

That’s what our Separation Retainer service provides.

We want to show you where the landmines are, what you need to take care of and when, and help you make the right decisions for your organization so your separation can go as smoothly as possible.

We kick-off the engagement by walking through the major steps and components of the separation process and discussing the many items that go into a successful separation. From there, our retainer can be scaled up or down based on the needs of your organization. At the base level, up to 5 hours of monthly phone calls, email, research and review time (split up as small as 15-minute increments) are included.

For organizations that need more support, Schulman Consulting can provide additional monthly time – up to 24 hours per month – and even project manage the separation process on your organization’s behalf, if necessary.

This time can be used in a number of different ways, including:

  • Helping you navigate delicate communications with your fiscal sponsor
  • Explaining the specific details around each action your organization will need to take
  • Providing recommendations around key decisions to make during the separation process
  • Assisting in the review and selection of vendors/service providers
  • Making introductions to vetted, high-quality service providers
  • Presenting (via phone or Zoom) to your Advisory Board and answering their questions

After taking part in dozens of project separations, we’ve seen it all and helped clients successfully make it through to the other side, no matter their circumstances.

With our Separation Retainer, you and your organization have an expert by your side to guide you through the process, provide you with objective guidance and help you troubleshoot when issues arise.

  • The fees for the Separation Retainer as as follows:
    • Tier 1 — $3,000/month
    • Tier 2 — $11,000/month
  • Length of Engagement: As long as you and your organization need it, with a minimum of 3 months.

If you’re interested in a full list of what services are included as part of each tier of service, please email us.

Have a question about our Separation Retainer service? Please see the FAQ below or email us at

And if you’re ready to get started, click the blue button below to get schedule your introductory phone call.

Click Here to Schedule Your Call


What is the Separation Retainer?

  • The Separation Retainer is an on-going support service to assist fiscally sponsored projects through the process of separating from their sponsor.

Who is the Separation Retainer for?

  • The Separation Retainer is for sponsored nonprofit projects embarking on the process to separate from their fiscal sponsor.

How does this work?

  • The Separation Retainer usually starts with a kick-off call to review the timeline for your separation and discuss your project’s specific needs. From there, we either set up regular check-ins or work in a more ad hoc fashion, depending on your needs. Our Retainer can be scaled up or down depending on the tier of support your project is looking for.

How do I know if this is right for my project?

  • The Separation Retainer is for organizations that are embarking on the separation process. If your project is still considering whether or not to separate, we recommend looking at our Separation Readiness Audit and/or our Fiscal Sponsorship Cost-Value Assessment, which qualitative-quantitative counterparts to help you determine whether or not separation is the right next step for your project.

How come I’ve never seen anything like this before?

  • Good question. The concept of fiscal sponsorship, while not new, has been gaining acceptance and popularity over the last decade. Even so, this is an extremely focused market and an area that most people never experience. So, that may be why there aren’t a lot of people focusing on this kind of work.But after working in and around fiscal sponsorship for the better part of the last decade, we have unique, specialized knowledge and a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully separate from a sponsor and thrive as an independent nonprofit.

How much does the Separation Retainer cost?

  • The fee for our core Separation Retainer service is $3,000 per month, with a 3-month minimum. For organizations that are looking for a higher level of support, we offer a second tier of service with a fee of $11,000 per month. Please email us for a full list of which services are included as part of each tier. By moving forward with your project, you, both your organization and Schulman Consulting all agree to our terms of service.

What are the payment terms for the Separation Retainer?

  • For monthly retainer work, the first monthly payment must be submitted before the work starts. Subsequent months will be invoiced monthly.

How do we know Schulman Consulting will be able to handle our unique issues/situation/constraints?

  • While every situation is unique, after taking part in dozens of project separations, we’ve seen just about everything and helped clients successfully make it through to the other side, no matter their circumstances.

What if I’m not happy with the results?

  • Our goal is to provide you the tools, information, and peace of mind to understand what’s ahead and confidently make decisions, no matter where you are in the life cycle. Our success is based on your success. If we start a project and determine that we can’t provide you with actionable recommendations, we will refund your money.If we get to the end of the project and you’re not satisfied with the results, we will make best efforts, to provide you with the information and resources that meet your needs.

You haven’t answered my question yet – how can I reach you?

I’m ready to get started, what do I do next?