Association of Activity Coordinators, Meeting Planners & Event Coordinators: Beyond the Budget – Ways to Attract Speakers

Beyond The Budget – Other Ways to Attract Speakers


One thing meeting planners and event coordinators always struggle with are budgetary constraints. As a worldwide speaker I have sometimes waived my fee (particularly in third world, war-torn and disaster stricken regions of the world).


            Yet waiving a fee to speak at a school or college where the principal, administrator and district superintendent is making six figures is just not reasonable, neither financially viable. A more ethical option I often suggest to meeting planners (corporate and academic) when faced with budgetary constraints is to evaluate the alternative solutions mentioned below to further add value.


Consider these 7 sensational scenarios to further add value and attract speakers:


1.) Cooperate locally to collectively arrange block bookings.


Find other schools, districts, venues, chambers of commerce, businesses, organizations, colleges, universities, women’s groups, networking groups and churches in your area to cooperate with you to secure a block booking throughout your area for the speaker to remain beyond one day and establish a circuit of talks in your area or state.


By establishing a block booking you can substantially reduce your fee paid out to the speaker as a meeting planner / event coordinator.


For example my full one-day fee is $3,500. Yet if a meeting planner can establish a block booking, I will reduce the daily fee accordingly based upon the number of talks and days I shall remain in the given area. See below for a further illustration and explanation:


–        one day at $3,500

–        two days at $3,000 each

–        three days at $2,500 each

–        four days at $2,000 each


A savings of $1,500 can be accomplished for a meeting planner / event coordinator just by partnering with local organizations and associations to bring a speaker in for a total of four days. I’m amazed when meeting planners and event coordinators fail to give thought and neglect to take the initiative to save such a substantial sum of money.


Undoubtedly bringing me in to speak throughout the region will also reduce and spread out equally among all the meeting planners the travel expenses.


2.) I also have an IRS registered and certified nonprofit organization (501 C 3) should anyone care to sponsor the event. We could add each other on facebook, myspace, twitter, etc. – at my email here ( and notify all of those within your network to see how many might make a charitable donation to assist in the fee.


You never know and you never lose anything by simply asking. Usually many meeting planners are happily surprised at the generosity of others to sponsor a meaningful event.


3.) Provide the speaker a video and promotional materials.


Sometimes in exchange for part of my fee colleges will videotape my talks and provide me a DVD to use for product sales after the event. Perhaps the meeting planner’s company or school has an audio / video department chair who could assist with this.


Most reputable and large organizations have publications within which they could promote a speaker and allow him or her to write an article for their magazine. Offer to put the speaker’s picture on the cover of your publication or magazine, in exchange for a reduction in the fee for services.


If your association has many potential events throughout the year and is national or global, a speaker with any vision and intelligence could see the enormous potential of receiving a promo in your publication. Hence you can also add value this way and thereby attract a speaker who you might not have the budget to bring in.


4.) If the company, college or school board has any relationships with the travel industry, they might be able to comp the speaker’s flight to and fro.


Consider the conventions connections you have with your county and city as well. Every local visitor’s bureau has some sort of connections and/or resources they might lend or make available to you for a reputable cause and event when your budget is tight.


Don’t be hesitant or ashamed to ask. The more you ask, the more you will receive.


5.) Give speakers additional opportunities to provide training to other segments of your professional staff and academic community.


I could also talk to teachers as part of their in-service training before or after I speak to the students. Perhaps then the school board could authorize and utilize the educational development fund monies to be allocated toward my speaking. 


Every company, college and school district earmarks monies under different categories. Therefore find other niches and categories in which your guest speaker can deliver a talk to the appropriate group of people, after which then those monies are fair game and can help cover the speaking fee to bring in your speaker of choice.


6.) Purchase books for professional development and training, thereby increasing the speakers revenue.


Every corporation and business has a certain amount of money annually allocated toward the ongoing professional development and training of its staff. Therefore dip into those funds to buy books and products from the speaker to further provide meaningful enrichment resources to your staff.


Within academia (for students, my book “Academic Success For Better Grades” is a great buy or for teachers, my 288 page book: “Teachers Success & Survival Secrets”). Certainly these would provide some rich content for students and educators alike while helping cover the expense of traveling to and fro.


7.) Contacting a few local churches (or places of worship depending on your speaker’s religious leanings and affiliation) in your area where some of your employees or teachers attend could easily help the speaker increase his / her impact and financial earnings enabling us all to do well by doing good.


As for myself, I’ve written several spiritual books in addition to my other self-help books. For example, my books “God vs. Religion” and “Breakthrough For A Broken Heart” are popular among religious groups.


You could also ask local religious groups to help sponsor bringing in the speaker. Imagine if just four churches gave $100 each to bring a speaker in to speak to a local school. That small amount could make or break an event at a school with a limited budget.


Yet you will never get unless you dare to ask and make your needs known.


In regard to block bookings, I often speak by day for business and academic events, but then visit local churches or college student organizations to speak at night.  


That being said, when meeting planners and event coordinators think creatively and examine these 7 options, no speaker is to expensive to fathom bringing him or her in. You just have to engineer some creative financing and find other ways to add value and attract speakers.


That being said, stop worrying and being ashamed of your budgetary constraints. Employ a little creativity finding alternative ways to add value and attract your speaker of choice.


I look forward to hearing from and working with you!


Wishing you great success and unprecedented breakthroughs!


Paul F. Davis – worldwide speaker & life-changing author



Paul F. Davis is a worldwide speaker who has touched over 55 countries, more than 55 islands & 6 continents building bridges cross-culturally and empowering people throughout the earth to live their dreams!

Paul is the author of 18 life-changing books. Paul’s incredible depth and rich writings make him a notable and unforgettable speaker able to connect with and inspire any audience to achieve greatness.

Paul has appeared on numerous international broadcasts from Investors Business Daily, Oprah & Friends to Fox News to talk about success, leadership, relational intricacies, conflict resolution, life balance, and living your dreams. By reason of his global travels, Paul is a highly sought after diversity and multicultural awareness speaker.

Playboy Radio Afternoon Advice host Tiffany Granath calls Paul an awesome relational coach and recommends his books on love, dating, and sexuality.

Paul worked at Ground Zero in NYC during 9-11; helped rebuild a home at the tsunami epicenter; comforted victims of genocide in Rwanda; spoke to leaders in East Timor during the war; inspired students & monks in Myanmar; promoted peace & reconciliation in Pakistan; and has been so deep into the bush of rural Africa where villagers had never before seen a white man.

Academically outstanding Paul humorously and elegantly transforms individuals and organizations.

Paul empowers people to love passionately and live fearlessly.


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