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    1/8/2013 9:11:48 AM Posted by Cheri Cerame

    Rove Book Your Speaker

    Updated: March 31, 2014

    As a conservative campus activist, you have one of the most rewarding life experiences just waiting for you, if you take action. Many students miss out on this unique opportunity because they mistakenly feel the process is too difficult or not worth the time. Unfortunately, they fail to reach the broadest possible audience with their ideas. 

    You have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring one (or more!) of the Conservative Movement's strongest leaders before a large audience of your peers. Prominent conservative leaders routinely speak through Young America's Foundation's lecture program. In fact, Young America's Foundation is the only organization that specializes in helping young people organize breakthrough speaking events on their campuses. 

    Those who host conservative speakers receive benefits and rewards not achieved by other students and activists. Not only will you benefit, but your club can also achieve greater notoriety. In the process, you may annoy campus leftists, stir debate, help complete classmates' education, attract more students to your cause and add an accomplishment to your resume. 

    Young America's Foundation provides both logistical and financial support to ensure success. However, don't hesitate to contact us or call 800-872-1776 and we can walk you through the first steps to organizing an event. 

    Here are the initial steps to get started hosting a prominent conservative speaker at your school.  

    1. Learn how your college bureaucracy works.
    2. Select your speaker.
    3. Soliciting your school for funds.
    4. Structure for Your Program.
    5. Inviting Your Speaker
    6. Ensure the success of your event

    1. Learn How Your College Bureaucracy Works

    If you already know how to apply for funds from your school's student government or student activities committee than you can skip this step.  If you haven't host a speaker before, then you should spend some time to looking into how your school funds student organized events.

    Most speakers ask for an honorarium for their time traveling to your school and speaking on your campus. Some speakers cost as little as $1,000, others can charge as much as $20,000. However, most college campuses have funds set aside to pay for lectures. You must be aggressive in pursuing these funds. The Left has taken the time and effort to monopolize the funds for their programs. You must ask for your fair share of the funding. 

    2. Select Your Speaker

    You can check out YAF's full speaker list here. However, we can also help you with speakers who may not be on our list. 

    Regardless of how popular or famous your speaker is, you must select a speaker who talks on issues that are relevant to students. Always ask, "What topics matter to students, and what topic or speaker will make them attend our event?"  

    Get together with your club or at least the officers, and select several speakers you are interested in hosting. Then contact Young America's Foundation to learn the honoraria of speakers you have chosen. Once you have this information, discuss with the officers or the entire club which speaker is best suited for your campus. This is important to do, since it will solidify your team behind the plan. If, for some reason, your first choice is not available, you can always move ahead with selecting another speaker from your abbreviated list. 

    3. Soliciting the School for Funds

    A majority of schools will at least partially fund lectures organized by student groups. Typically, you will need to put together a budget to submit to the school's allocation committee and/or student government. First, it is wise to talk with those on the committee and learn how much other groups receive. In your request, you should include this list of past allocations to prove that your request is not outrageous. In fact, many conservative speakers cost a fraction of what most liberals charge.

    When you are writing your budget, estimate every expense. Often students focus on just the speaker's honorarium but forget to account for advertising, travel, accommodations, audio-visual set-up expenses, and even costs to rent a lecture hall. 

    Attend the university's allocation meeting, so you can answer any questions the proposal committee has regarding your event and speaker. This will also allow you to defend your allocation. If the committee turns you down, release your information using a press release, Twitter, Facebook, and your club's blog. Expose the inequality in the disbursement of funds on campus. Present your case as one of discrimination based on your conservative philosophy. Equal disbursement of funds is essentially a freedom of speech issue, since students are denied the right to hear diverse points-of-view. Approached in this manner, even liberal publications may sympathize with you. Provide media outlets with facts and quotes to make your story easy to write. With the spotlight on you and the controversy in the air, the student government will most likely change its tune. 

    4. Structure for Your Program 

    After you have your funding allocated and before you submit your invitation, you may want to get together with your group and think about how your program will be structured and what you would like to do with the speaker.

    For example, most events include a dinner or reception with select members of your club or key donors prior to the lecture. The pre-event dinner is a great opportunity to meet with the speaker and get to know him or her. The dinner does not have to be a drain on your group's resources. To keep the costs low, you can ask everyone who attends to pay for their own meal. The only cost your group has to cover is the speaker's meal. A club supporter may choose to underwrite the meal if he or she is included. These functions can be held at the hotel where the speaker is staying or in a private room at a restaurant in town. It is generally most convenient to hold the program at the hotel where the speaker is staying. Most hotels have private rooms which you can reserve for your meal. The costs run on a per space/meal basis. When it is time for the meal, you simply meet your speaker in the lobby and escort him to the dinner.

    The trick when organizing any public event is selecting an appropriate venue to match the number of students you estimate will attend. Do not get caught having an event with a hundred students in an auditorium that can hold one thousand! It is always better to choose a smaller room that will look packed. Selecting a hall that is too large will make your group look like it did a poor job organizing, and the school will feel that students are not interested in hearing conservative ideas. The audience size depends upon the speaker's popularity amongst the student body. We can help you to select the best room for your event based on our experience in working with each speaker. 

    Lastly, some student groups conclude the evening with an open reception either on campus or at the hotel. Again, this gives your organization and other students an opportunity to meet the speaker. 

    5. Invite Your Speaker 

    Once you have your funding allocated and you know how your event will be structured,you will need to submit an invitation toYoung America's Foundation. Please note that speakers will not confirm a date on their calendar unless you have the funding confirmed first. Also, when inviting a speaker and promoting the event, you do not want the added stress of worrying about raising funds.

    When you are writing your invitation to Young America's Foundation, here are some items to include: 

    • Information on your group and which speaker you are inviting to speak. 
    • What you are offering the speaker for an honorarium and how much financial assistance you are requesting from Young America's Foundation.
    • Six or seven potential event dates.
    • Expected attendance along with a brief description of your publicity strategies.
    • A tentative schedule for the speaker outlining the requested times and events (lecture, dinner, reception).

    The dates you select should not compete with other campus programs. Most schools have listings of social and sporting events, so check your school's calendar. Also, be sure you work around the midterm and final examination schedules.

    Include all contact information in the invitation. If you schedule a speaker through Young America's Foundation, we will book the speaker for you and then issue contracts. 

    6. Ensure the success of your event

    The team at Young America's Foundation will work with you to finalize the details for your event, provide personalized promotional strategies for your campus and speaker, and ensure your club receives the maximum impact from your program. 

    More information on hosting a conservative speaker can be found in the Conservative Guide to Campus Activism. Our team is also happy to talk with you personally about your individual club's needs and work through any obstacles you may face to ensure you have a successful program. 


    Find Your Speaker Here

    • Readers' Comments

    • I am the Treasurer of Durham County, NC GOP. We are a very small organization in a heavily democratic controlled county. We are trying to grow and one of the fund raising events would be to host a well known speaker in our Fall (September - October) Fund Raiser. Although we are not a college/university organization, would YAF will able or willing to assist us in obtaining a speaker?
      Posted by James McKenzie on 02/24/2013
    • Hi James We are happy to help you secure a speaker. Please feel free to email me at or call me at 800-872-1776 and I can walk you through the first steps. Thanks! Pat
      Posted by Patrick on 03/07/2013
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