Saturday, February 25, 2017

Booking Tips


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HOW TO BOOK A PROFESSIONAL CHRISTIAN, MOTIVATIONAL OR INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER / TALENT:

Booking the perfect Christian, inspirational and/or motivational speaker or talent for your next event can be an overwhelming task... and we are here to help you!

Questions like:

"Where do I find a speaker?"
"How much will it cost to contract a professional speaker or artist?"
"Can I afford the speaker that seems perfect for my event?"
"What are the expectations of a professional speaker/talent?"

To help ease your mind, we have created some Booking Tips that will help you get the speaker you really want, who will make your event come alive with rave reviews.

HOW TO BOOK 
A CHRISTIAN SPEAKER, SINGER, MUSICIAN OR ARTIST FOR YOUR EVENT: 

PREPARATION PRAYER - When booking a Christian speaker or talent, you want to be sure that you contact and secure the person that the Lord has prepared for your event. For this reason, you and your board need to spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to point you in the right direction. Then, move forward with expectation that the Lord will bring it to pass as you trust Him for the provision needed to serve Him with excellence. 

TIME - Predetermine your event dates and a general idea of your event timeline before contacting your speaker. It is impossible for a speaker to let you know if they can book your event without knowing the date/days/hours/timeline that you expect them to be available. Remember, most professional speaker calendars are filled anywhere from 3 months and even up to 3 years in advance, so you'll want to contact your speaker/talent and lock them in with a deposit and contract RIGHT AWAY.

EXPERTISE - A speaker/talent fee or honorarium is not an hourly fee. Ministry professionals spend countless hours researching, studying, practicing, and preparing for their presentations. In addition, many vocal and musical artist have invested years into fine tuning their craft. It is not practical, nor possible, for most speakers/talent to perform every night in a different location; otherwise, their families would suffer and, therefore, their ministry would be in vain. Speakers and artists must feed their families, keep their ministries afloat and live on the income generated from their willingness to step out in faith to follow the call of ministry on their life. As an event planner, it is important to keep a generous heart and willing spirit toward your speaker/talent. When you do, God will honor your event in a greater way. 
 
BUDGET - Before you contact a speaker or artist for your event, be sure that you are prepared to talk about money. This seems to be the most uncomfortable part of the booking process for many volunteer event planners. Most speakers and artist have a place on their initial Booking Form (usually found on their website) for you to insert your budgeted amount that you and your board have in mind to spend on your speaker. Do NOT leave this section blank. Christian speakers - unlike secular motivational, inspirational speakers - oftentimes have an unspoken sliding-scale fee chart. In other words, some speakers have a flexible honorarium by which they may take into consideration travel time involved, length of the event, number of talk(s), preparation time, your budget and/or the size of your group.

MORE ABOUT MONEY - As an event planner who is in charge of Booking A Speaker Or Talent, you have a unique opportunity to be a blessing in the same way that you expect your speaker to bless your group. Not only should your organization seek to be generous by budgeting in a standard speaker fee, but you also need to factor in things like mileage or airfare, food and accommodations - for two. While some speakers travel alone, many travel with an assistant. And remember, if you are looking to book a speaker to bring 4 messages, it will most likely cost more than if that same speaker only brought one message. In the same way, if your speaker is required to be at an event for three days, yet they only speak once a day, that speaker will probably require more to justify their time away from home. 

SPEAKER FEES - Although speaker/artist fees can be all over the board (ranging from $50.00-$50,000.00+), typically you can expect to book a professional Christian speaker or artist for $500-$5500 per day. Of course, bands and groups will range a little higher depending on how many are in their group. Plus, speakers who are in high demand may be considerably more expensive.

PROTOCOL - Professional, Christian communication is so important when contacting a speaker. It is very frustrating to the speaker when an event planner makes an inquiry and then never follows back up. The speaker is then left with not knowing whether to tentatively save their date or to give it to the next inquiry. As a common courtesy, always let speakers/talent know what is going on behind the scenes during the booking process. Things like, "I'm talking with my board and I'll get back with you by Friday" or "Thank you so much for your time but we have decided to use another speaker/talent this time." And... if you tell them that you will get back with them by Friday, please do it, even if you still don't have the final information needed to complete the booking. 

DEPOSIT & CONTRACT - Most speakers will require a 10-25% deposit to secure your date. It is best to send in the deposit and booking agreement form (contract) within 5 business days after agreeing upon the terms for your speaker. This way your date does not get taken by another event planner. Even if your speaker is coming to you on a "love offering" basis, good business practice and common courtesy should include sending in a financial binder with your booking agreement. Your deposit and/or binder may also include things like mileage, food per diem, airfare tickets, hotel confirmation numbers, etc. Never expect a speaker/talent to drive from city-to-city, or state-to-state, without providing them with the appropriate funds needed to arrive at your event prepared, at peace and on time. 

WHAT IS A PER DIEM? - A per diem is simply an allowance or payment for each day's expenses. For instance, if you've booked a speaker who will be spending a day, or even a half day, traveling to your event, you should provide a per diem for them to get food, drinks, snacks or other necessities along the way. Once your speaker arrives, you will either want to provide meals, snacks and drinks or continue to provide a per diem for them to survive while there. In addition, you'll want to take care of their return home by providing a per diem. A good event planner should "offer" a per diem of $25-$50 per day, per person - depending on how many assistants or band members are traveling with that speaker and how much travel time is involved. Some speakers may have a required per diem while some may not. Either way, it is good practice to provide for your guests. 
 
LOVE OFFERING ONLY - As a general rule, speakers and talent who are contracted for a special event, conference, retreat, concert, community event, and so on should be booked by providing a set speaker fee. Love offerings may be acceptable for speakers if the event is confined to a Sunday morning service or a revival; of which, they are the only speaker/talent who will be receiving a love offering. Never ask a speaker to come and split a love offering with another guest speaker/talent unless that love offering is in addition to their agreed upon speaker fee. Generally, all male crowds or mixed crowds (male & female) will give more liberally than all female crowds. For this reason, many female evangelists don't have an issue with speaking on a love offering only basis when it is for a Sunday service or a church wide revival. Special events, however, usually work best when contracting by speaker fee.

DETAILS - It is so important that the event planner provides clear information many weeks before an event concerning the EVENT ADDRESS, DIRECTIONS, CONTACT NUMBERS, ETC. Very Important: Always provide a cell number that can be reached if the speaker/talent needs to call during travel. Don't leave your speaker/talent wondering about your city trying to find your location and they cannot reach you by phone and/or text. In addition, give your speaker/talent a clear description (on paper) about the timeline, theme, their specific role, etc. Spectacular events are all about the details!

MARKETING - It is up to the individual event planner to market their own event. Most speakers/talent have high resolution photos, bios and other files that are either available on their websites or are available to email to you once your booking is confirmed. These materials are vital in marketing and advertising your event with professional standards. If desired, once you have created your marketing materials, many speakers will help you market your event on their website, social media and other outlets if you provide them with branded materials well in advance. Things like: custom website banners, slogans, artwork that you are using to advertise your event and so on. In addition, many speakers/talent are happy to give radio and/or television interviews that you might be able to set up for your event - if time allows. Be creative in getting the word out!

WAITING PRAYER - If you are hosting a Christian event and you want God to move, you must bathe your event in prayer months before it ever happens. Then, once you've done all the planning and preparation that you know to do, you can relax knowing that it will all work out for His glory and the good of everyone attending. At your event, allow God to move! Pray for Him to move and then be willing to follow His move... because when He shows up He usually does the unexpected! 

WELCOME & SUPPORT - When your speaker and/or talent arrives it is so important that you make them feel welcome! Remember, you know who they are and what they look like because you have been all over their website reading their articles and looking at their pictures... but they don't know anything about you. Be sure to have someone assigned to making sure that your speaker/talent is taken care of at all times.

DEPARTING GIFT - Departing gifts are such a blessing! Speakers come on the scene and share personal things about their life. They have made themselves vulnerable before your group. Be sure to finish up your event by presenting your speaker with a departing gift. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, but it should be something that is well thought out. For instance, if your speaker is flying back home after your event, a book, iPod, ear buds, professional travel tote, special key-chain, leather journal, gift cards, make-up, jewelry or some other small, practical gift would be appropriate. If your speaker is driving back, you can give a slightly larger or more bulky gift such as a gift basket. But really... the most practical gift that carries the biggest blessing is to take up a love offering at the end of your event (in addition to the agreed upon speaker fee). Remember, you cannot outgive God. He will always give back to those who are generous and grateful - especially toward ministers of the gospel! 

DEPARTING PRAYER - Always, cover your speaker/talent in PRAYER before they leave. Pray for safe travels, blessings, protection from scorners, mockers and nay-sayers, open doors of opportunity and increased anointing, financial blessings and pray for their families!