How do you go about booking a top Christian speaker? If you’re new to the world of booking speakers, it may feel surprisingly daunting. You may have entered the sphere of Christian speaker booking agencies thinking, “I know what kind of speakers my church or organization enjoys, so how hard can this task be?”
Soon after taking on this responsibility, you may find that you’re a little unsure about how large your company’s budget needs to be, who handles the logistics of getting the desired speaker to the venue, and how to narrow down your options if multiple speakers are being considered for your event. There’s no need to freak out! You really can do this! This article will serve as a blueprint for navigating every step of the booking process, just for you.
First, let’s ensure that you know who YOU are in the booking world! Your title (or character if you want to make it more fun) is the “Sponsor.” You have a crucial role to play! The future event, that attendees will be blessed by, is going to happen because of your legwork. Take a moment to realize that the work you do behind the scenes will impact the lives of others.
Now, let’s get down to the brass tacks. How do you book a top Christian speaker? Remind yourself that you aren’t arbitrarily booking someone who happens to know how to speak into a mic. You are booking a high-caliber speaker. Those who are the best in their field usually have a price tag to match, right? In the booking realm, speakers receive what is called an “honorarium.” This is simply the fee the sponsor (that’s you!) will pay for the speaker’s services.
Step 1: Prepare to pay top dollar for a reputable speaker and know the flexibility of your organization’s budget.
When booking a renowned speaker, expect the honorarium to be no less than $10,000.00. Many speakers’ honorariums will be $15,000.00 or more. If your organization’s budget can’t exceed $15,000.00, use that knowledge as a primary guiding factor in your quest for the ideal speaker. You don’t want to waste your valuable time considering speakers whose rates surpass the funding available to your organization. Once a reasonable budget has been established by your team, you’ll be one (giant-sized!) step closer to finding the speaker who’s the right fit for your event.
For your specific event, the “right fit” may be based on variables other than your organization’s finances. Another essential detail to take into account as you book a top speaker is the event venue.
Step 2: Secure a venue with an adequate maximum capacity.
In nearly every case, you’ll want to ensure that you have already secured a venue that’s large enough to accommodate your expected attendance prior to discussing other logistics with your team. If your speaker is widely known, you’ll want to find an event space that’s best suited for the large crowd they will likely draw. If your venue is your church, you can skip this step!
Maybe speakers’ fees aren’t an issue and you already locked down the ideal venue, but you’re not quite sure what topic is fitting for your event.
Step 3: Know your preferences (or lack thereof) for the keynote topic and length.
Conduct a little research on the speakers in question. Seek out video clips, social media content, interviews, etc. to see the topics about which each speaker is passionate. Hearing a top Christian speaker’s testimony that you’ve never heard before just might breathe fresh inspiration into your event!
As you contemplate what you’d like the speaker to discuss, be mindful of the time commitment you’re placing on the speaker. Your contract will likely include some variation of the words “Keynote Length.” “Keynote” is a term you’ll hear often as you book a top Christian speaker. It’s synonymous with presentation. Your speaker of choice will need to know the duration of their keynote before committing to a contracted event. Many events are just one day, but some events (i.e., conferences) can last a whole week!
The average keynote duration is typically between 45 minutes and an hour. If you don’t feel as though you can come up with a topic that can be fully addressed in that period, you can call upon the speaker’s expertise. Some sponsors opt to have the phrase “Speaker’s Choice” listed beside the requested topic portion of the contract. That is perfectly fine!
On the other hand, you may know full well what topics you hope the speaker will highlight. Your event may even call for multiple topics to be covered and/or require the speaker to be present for more than one day. If this is the case, expect the honorarium to be higher. Most baseline honorariums reflect the price for the speaker to deliver one keynote.
Speaking of honorariums, let’s dive back into the costs associated with booking a top Christian speaker. The honorarium is the total prior to any added expense fees. There will likely be additional costs that the sponsor has to cover even after the speaker’s fees have been paid. Before you decide to throw in the towel, read on!
This isn’t the speaker’s first rodeo. Top speakers have navigated the event booking process countless times. This often means two things. Yes, there will be details for you to coordinate regarding various expenses like airfare, hotels, and meals. However, this also means that your speaker will likely have clear expectations. They know the best ways in which to convey their desires to you. Rest assured; you will not be stuck wondering what they need from you.
Step 4: Book a hotel in your area and coordinate the speaker’s travel to and from the venue.
At some point while you’re brainstorming and theorizing about the many ways to make your event incredible, you may think, “Will I need to book my speaker’s hotel?” Yes, most speakers request that the host of their events books their hotel room(s). After all, you do know your hometown better than anyone! Most speakers require a hotel that is comparable to a Marriott. Your contract will read “X Hotel Room(s) [Marriott or Better].” Your role will simply be to find an equivalent option in your town or city — preferably one that is close to the event venue — and book the number of rooms the speaker requires.
Once you have selected the ideal accommodations in your area, make sure you pay attention to the speaker’s unique needs. Many speakers do not travel alone. Some may be traveling with a spouse, so they may ask for a King hotel room. Others may be accompanied by an assistant(s), so they may request 2 or more separate hotel rooms.
Most top speakers also request that their local ground transportation is taken care of for them. This may mean you pick them up from the hotel and drive them to the venue yourself. The alternative is that your organization provides a rental car to give the speaker the ability to drive themselves around the destination city. In some cases, the speaker may even drive their personal vehicle from their hometown to the nearby venue. If your speaker opts for this route, your role is merely to reimburse the speaker for the cost of their gas.
We’ve covered ground transportation, but there may still be lingering questions in your mind. After all, booking a top Christian speaker is no small feat! “How is the speaker supposed to get to the event destination if they live in an entirely different state than me?” Speakers typically book their own flights when they’re unable to drive to the sponsor’s state. Once again, your role is to reimburse the speaker for the cost of their airfare.
Keep in mind, different speakers will have varied airfare needs. Remember, some may be traveling with a spouse and/or assistant, so they may request 2 or more airfares. Some may fly coach, while others request first class. Fortunately, you probably won’t have to know which kind of tickets need to be purchased. The previous information is simply to give you an idea of how much your organization may need to spend as well as how the funds may be delegated.
As previously mentioned, the speaker will allow you to feel well-informed throughout the booking process. Most top speakers relay crucial event information to sponsors in what’s called a “rider.” If you’re unfamiliar with this term, you are not alone!
Step 5: Take the time to read through the speaker’s rider.
A rider is a document, typically used within the entertainment industry, that outlines the speaker’s or artist’s requirements for events. Riders typically include significant details like the aforementioned expense preferences (hotel, airfare, etc.) as well as nitty gritty specifics such as the kind of microphone the speaker prefers to use. Your speaker may want you to provide a podium to use for their notes, Bible, etc., during their keynote, and the rider is the perfect place to make such a request known. Riders also tend to mention the kinds of refreshments the speaker enjoys. If he or she likes to have Clif bars and sparkling water to enjoy in the green room, you will know.
Now that you’ve digested all this information, you may be feeling overwhelmed by trying to tackle each technicality of booking a top Christian speaker. You may not have realized just how much goes into this task. We have good news for you!
GOA Speakers offers the professional help you never knew you needed throughout the booking process. If you want to partner with an agent to handle each of the five steps above with ease, GOA Speakers will be your new best friend. Head to goaspeakers.com to start planning the event that started in your mind as a pipe dream!
Now you’re ready to book the top Christian speaker you’ve been hoping to secure for your next event! Enjoy the process!