First Things First…funding
Most speakers require travel, lodging, and honoraria. Generally, with a few exceptions, a typical honorarium for our speakers to participate in in-person events is $1,000. Some hosts provide an honorarium plus travel reimbursement for our speakers and others provide just an honorarium, intended to be used to cover both travel expenses and incentive for participation.
Short on funds? Many FIRE speakers are happy to conduct Zoom sessions at no cost. FIRE staff have hosted Zoom sessions to discuss the importance of free speech, due process, and FIRE’s mission with audiences from across the country.
Reach Out to FIRE!
Fill out this Request a Speaker form on our website. A FIRE representative will respond to you shortly after your request is submitted to connect you with a FIRE speaker.
The next step is for you to coordinate with your FIRE speaker. Make sure to pin down a specific topic for the talk and coordinate logistics. For events planned far in advance, touch base with your speaker about a week before the event to confirm all travel and event arrangements.
Planning Your Event
Make a list. Brainstorm all the things that need to be done before the event and make a timeline of when they should be completed. For example, having invitations written a few weeks ahead will ensure that those you invite to the event have enough lead time to block out the necessary time in their schedules to attend. It’s also a good idea to place any catering orders at least one week in advance.
Delegate. Be sure to assign roles to everyone organizing the event and give clear deadlines for each task that must be completed. Enlist a volunteer to be the point of contact for the speaker, and another to take charge of digital and physical promotion. Ensure you have volunteers for event photography, to emcee the event, and to order food. Delegating various tasks is an essential step to help the event run smoothly.
Secure a venue. Pay attention to required procedures for booking the event space that you want. Think about the number of people that you expect to attend—you don’t want to reserve a room that holds 50 people if you expect 300 to be there! Remember to reserve the space for enough time to allow for set up and clean up.
Promoting Your Event
Ask other like-minded organizations to co-sponsor the event. By doing so, you can save money, boost attendance, and gain critically important allies.
Create a Facebook or Eventbrite event page. Think about who your target audience is, and invite people to the event page that fall within that demographic. Encourage your friends to share the event on their social media pages! Online social forums like Facebook and Instagram allow news about an event to spread quickly and easily, even to those outside your network or circle of friends.
Be sure to do direct outreach within your community. Flyering, tabling, press releases, media advisories, and op-eds are all great ways to get the word out! It’s a good strategy to have those helping plan the event send out personal messages to their network of friends the night before or the morning of the event to remind them to attend. It means a lot more to get a personal note from someone you know, rather than a general Facebook event reminder.
Most of the work for the event should be completed before the day of the event. Make sure all loose ends are tied up and that all volunteers understand their roles. It’s important that your group’s point of contact is available and in direct communication with the speaker on the day of the event, should the speaker have any questions. Take a deep breath and have fun!