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Speakers Bureau Commonly Asked Questions


What is the Speakers Bureau?

  • The Bureau is made up of secular speakers and movement leaders who have graciously offered to speak, debate, or perform with discounted or waived honorariums at least twice per year for SSA affiliates nationwide.

How do I know if my group is eligible to use the Speakers Bureau?

  • All current SSA affiliate groups have access to the Bureau. If you are a new group starting, you are not eligible to use the Bureau until your group affiliates.
  • If you are from an off-campus group or any other non-SSA affiliated group, unfortunately the Bureau is not available to you and the honorariums listed are not guaranteed for you.

How do I get or request a speaker?

  • If you are setting up an event with a member of the SSA Speakers Bureau, it is always recommended that you contact them through us. Discounted honorariums and availability are often only available by working through us as we have set up special arrangements with our speakers for SSA affiliate groups.

How much does a speaker charge to visit my campus?

  • Unless the speaker is directly marked as charging an honorarium on the bottom of 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.

  • 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. We also offer reimbursement for travel and lodging costs to make speaker events affordable to your group. Click here to apply or check it out.

  • Click here to find a bunch of resources and ideas on fundraising.

What type of requirements are needed to receive SSA funding?

  • A follow-up report is required for receiving SSA funds for any event.

  • If you were preapproved for Speakers Bureau funds, you should have received a preapproval letter via email. This contains instructions on what you need to do to be reimbursed post-event.

  • You need a bank account, as we only write checks to the group name; never to individual leaders. An account is very easy to set up, so please check out how to do it.

What if I want to host more than one speaker for a panel or a convention-type event?

  • We can support you in that too! Be sure to contact an SSA campus organizer for help in setting that event up. We even offer specific funding for these types of events to make it even easier for you. Be sure to check out this page on large  event planning.

We’d like to host a speaker, but we just cannot afford any of the costs associated with it. What other options exist for us?

  • Have no fear! You can also look into hosting a speaker remotely with Skype or Google Chat. Click here for a guide on that.

  • If you are interested in hosting a speaker remotely, you should still request them either via the request form or by emailing us. We can work with the speaker to make sure that they are okay with speaking virtually.

How can I submit feedback on the Bureau, speaker, and my event?

  • 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.

I want to have books available for my speaker at the event. How can I do that?

  • 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 secular library, you can find them on our Amazon Bureau Storefront.

  • Be sure to find out what your school’s policy is on book sales. This varies heavily campus-to-campus

How should I promote/advertise my group’s speaker event?

  • Click here to check out all the resources we have on event promotion

  • Be sure to flyer, chalk, and/or table to gain attention for the event. Every campus also has unique ways to advertise, so be sure to check out what your school offers and to read through the resources provided at the link above.

  • Always make sure to promote your event to both potentially-interested groups on-campus as well as those off-campus

I need help planning our event, we're not sure where to start.

I’d like to record our event so that we can put it on Youtube or other forms of social media.

  • 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 here.

I’m having trouble finding a speaker that fits my needs. How can I search the Bureau?

  • If you are searching with someone in mind, you can search by name here.

  • Looking to keep costs low? Find a speaker near you! You can check out the regional Bureaus if your group is in an SSA-organized region here. You can find local students and alumni to speak here. Or check out the Speakers Bureau map here.

  • You can also search by topic if you have a specific topic in mind.

  • If you need help or suggestions, you can also contact us and we’d be happy to help!

I am a speaker listed on the Bureau. I have a question about an event I will be speaking at and could use some info.

  • You can check out all of our Speakers Bureau member resources by clicking here.

  • You can also email the Campus Organizer who set up your event. If you do not know who that is, just email us and we can help out!

Remember that we are always on hand to help as much as you need us to. Feel free to email us at any time with any questions or concerns!

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.

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