Do You Need to Spend Big Money to Get Great Speakers?

Finding great speakers for your association or non-profit meeting without spending big bucks can be challenging.  Sometimes I just wish I could dial-up a speakers’ bureau, flip through their glossy catalogue and pick a star.  But it’s rewarding when you end up with a great program after paying little or nothing for the speakers.

So I was interested to see the survey results in the new issue of Meetings & Conventions (M&C). M&C surveyed 114 meeting professionals and found:

  • More than half of meeting planners typically pay less than $5,000 for a keynote speaker,
  • 13% of meeting professionals do not pay for speakers at all (I’m not sure if this includes travel), and
  • Only 3% budget more than $50,000.

They said that the following were the most highly regarded subjects by their groups:

1. Industry-related,

2. Motivational, and

3. Future trends.

These subjects certainly sync with what our client associations are asking for; a combination of numbers 1 and 3.  They say what they want from speakers is insight about where the industry is headed.

At Verto Solutions we plan and execute dozens of association meetings each year.  We work with the client to pick a theme, create a program, and secure speakers for several major conventions.  While I sometimes think that our associations need to allocate more money for speakers this survey says something else.  To me, these survey results say that lots of associations and non-profits are building good programs without breaking the bank.  There will almost always be a need to cover transportation costs for your speakers, but big-time fees can usually be avoided.

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