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Scale of Fees for Professional Services
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The following scale has been developed based on a review of national averages and a survey of the UUMA membership and are provided as a general reference. For ministers contractually serving congregations, it is generally understood that rites of passage are offered freely to contributing members of their congregation. 


Geo Index 1-2

Geo Index 3-4

Geo Index 5-7






Alternatively, 10% of total wedding budget, whichever is higher.

Funeral / Memorial




Half Day Workshop




Full Day Workshop




Worship Service




Additional services use hourly rate

/Theme Talk




Keynote or Talk should be the length of a typical sermon

Hourly Services




Consulting, Coaching, Pastoral Care, Spiritual Direction, Etc.

Rites of Passage




Anniversary/Vow Renewal, Child Dedication, Graveside Service, Etc.

Travel and Housing : The above rates do not include travel or housing expenses. For services with a travel distance greater than 15 miles, mileage (at the current IRS allowance ), flight, or train should be reimbursed. If overnight lodging is required, the host assumes the cost. Some ministers prefer home hospitality; others are more comfortable in a motel or hotel. The decision should be made by the minister. 

Sliding Scales: Sliding scales may be offered at the discretion of the minister. If a sliding scale is used, ministers are encouraged to keep the above recommendations as a midpoint for sliding services.

Local Norms and Prevailing Rates: The scale of suggested fees adjusts for differences in geographic regions (please refer to the current index ). We suggest becoming familiar with local norms and prevailing local rates and adjusting accordingly.  (i.e. In a known wedding destination, fees may be higher than those suggested above.)

Virtual Services: Services provided via the internet (virtual worship, pastoral care, spiritual direction, etc) should be contracted at the same rate as those provided in person. For services provided virtually we encourage payment to be made electronically on the date of service. From PayPal and Venmo to GooglePay and Zelle there are many options today to send funds electronically.  The Balance provides an overview of the top electronic apps of 2020.

Additional Notes: This Scale of Professional Fees is recommended for services provided by ministers, as well as ministerial students and interns. The UUMA strongly urges that all financial arrangements between the minister and individuals or congregations, camps, conferences, etc. be clearly stated and agreed to in advance, especially in the case of services provided virtually. The use of the funds for these services shall be left entirely to the discretion of the minister. Sample agreements and templates are under design and will be posted here when available. Please reach out to the UUMA office for further details.

History of Revisions:

2004:  A survey of usual, customary, and desired fees was conducted in August 2003 by Barbara Davenport and Arthur Berman of the UUMA guidelines revision committee. Data were gathered from:  UUMA Chapter Presidents, the UUMA chat line and key informant questionnaires, covering varying congregation sizes and locations in North America.  These recommendations were passed at the June 2004 Annual Meeting and included in the Guidelines.

2011: The scale of fees was removed from the Guidelines document and revisions adopted by the Executive Committee in March 2011 and presented to the membership at the June 2011 Annual Meeting.

2020: A survey of the membership was completed. Results were compared with similar industry standards, denominational compensation recommendations, and rates for other religious professionals. The scale was expanded to include additional services and adjusted to reflect high and low points to account regional markets and cost of living.  Wording regarding travel and housing was strengthened and notes regarding sliding scales and local norms were added.


Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
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