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Speakers Bureau FAQ and Walkthrough
What is the Speakers Bureau?
The Bureau is made up of Freethought personalities have graciously offered to speak, debate, or perform with discounted or waived honorariums at least twice per year for affiliates of the Secular Student Alliance.
The Bureau is open to all current SSA affiliates and we will do our best to get you a speaker to meet your needs. We offer funding reimbursement and many of our speakers are very negotiable on their honorarium (if they charge one at all).
Unless the speaker is directly marked as charging an honorarium on their page, then no honorarium is required. This does not, however, mean that an honorarium is not accepted if there is money available to the affiliated group bringing the speaker in. It is always recommended that a group try to obtain funding from their school for speaker events.
If your group is running a conference/convention, we have special funding available for you! Check out this page for more information on it.
For an idea on how to run a fantastic speaker event, check out 15 Ways to Have a Happy Speaker, by Speakers Bureau member Ted Cox.
Or have you recently held an event? We have feedback forms that both the speaker and the affiliate group can fill out. If you had a great event (or even a bad one) with your speaker, let us know. Speakers, if you would like to fill out a feedback form on the group, you can find it here.
If you would like to order books for speaker events, or if you would just like to see our speakers' books to buy for your personal collection or for your group's freethought library, you can find them on our Amazon Bureau Storefront.
The Speakers Bureau works as follows:
- If you are interested in inviting a particular speaker to your campus, please contact us, or fill out our online Speaker Request application. Please do not contact a member of our Speakers Bureau independently of us. If you do so, the speaker does not have to abide by his/her agreement with the SSA which includes discounted or no honorarium, availability of presentations, etc. We are here to help make your event awesome; if you have questions about this, please let us know.
- Each speaking request is taken on a case by case basis and subject to the scheduled availability of the speaker.
- Up to $400.00 may be available to help cover the speaker's travel and lodging fees. This funding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis upon request, and each affiliate is eligible for one funded visit per semester OR $800 per year total. Funding requests must be received 30 days prior to the speaking event. Click here to request funding for your speaker event. NOTE: Speakers' honorariums are not covered by SSA funding, please seek out alternate methods to pay that cost.
- Honorariums DO NOT include any other costs such as lodging or airfare. An honorarium is a speaking fee that a speaker may ask for. Many of our speakers depend on honorariums to make a living, or at least to subsidize their income. SSA speakers devote a lot of their time and resources to helping out the student movement, please help us reward them for their time.
- We require that your student group pay for the airfare, lodging, and any other costs associated with travel. We try to avoid having our speakers pay any such costs out of pocket. If your group is unable to do this or you have special circumstances, please let us know and we can work with you on these costs.
- Some speakers request honorariums for their events. If your group hosts a such a speaker, then you will need to have the honorarium (and any other reimbursements) on hand to give them on the date of your event. If this is problematic for your group, we can work with you to come up with a different means to do so.
- Even if a speaker does not require an honorarium, it is always a good thing to check with your school to request funding. Many speakers might not ask for an honorarium, but chances are that they won't turn it down if one is offered.
- If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please let us know! We are here to help you run awesome events.
If we are able to help bring a speaker to your campus, we ask that your group does the following:
- To make each event worth the speaker's while, we ask that you formulate a thorough promotional plan to generate impressive turnout at your event. We are eager to help you with this.
- Include your campus organizer in all email conversations with a speaker so we can keep up to date and make sure your event is staying on track.
- If a speaker requires an honorarium, you will need that on hand at the event to give to him/her.
- If you are thinking about having merchandise to sell, please check your school's policies on this matter.
- Read this article on the best ways to keep your speaker happy and how to have a successful event.
If your group gets funding for a speaker event, please note the following requirements:
- That your group provides us with a follow-up report that includes your group and school name and a description of your project (including relevant dates)
- A 300-500 word summary of the event; this summary should include a description of the talk and the benefit of the event to your group. (High attendance, increases in membership, increased visibility, awards, and other results are all things we want to hear about!)
- Copies of all fliers, advertisements, and other publicity with the Secular Student Alliance acknowledgment clearly visible.
- We also strongly encourage photos and/or videos of the event, although they are not required.
- Fill out a very short post-event survery.
We have developed the following tools to help you plan a spectacular event:
|We've designed the Speaker Event Planning Checklist to help walk you through planning your event. We encourage all groups to check out this resource regardless of experience level!|
|For groups planning a debate, we have Dan Barker's sample debate format.|
|If you are recording an event, be sure to get the speaker's permission and have him or her sign a waiver. We have a generic waiver available at www.secularstudents.org/waive|
We also have a great article entitled 15 Ways to Have a Happy Speaker, which is speaker planning presented from the speaker's perspective.
If you are recieving funding, you probably will need a group bank account. An account is very easy to set up, so please check out how to do it.
Click here to go back to the main Speakers Bureau page.