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How much to pay a speaker can cause a lot of debate on your leadership team. It doesn’t have to as long as you have some guiding principles that fit your event vision and budget. Here’s a few insights on how to lessen the stress …

7 Guideposts

Christian Speakers.

Men’s Ministry Speakers.
Speakers for Men’s Events.

You’ve found yourself searching all those phrases in Google.

Finding a speaker for your men’s event feels much like a roll of the dice.

Those speakers that are really well-known can be outside your budget range, and yet those that you’ve never heard of before can feel like a gamble.

And then there’s your budget. How do you find the right price point for your men’s ministry event?

These are all valid questions.

Here’s some practical insight from years of working with churches both as a consultant and as a speaker:


1. Work With Your Financial Director Or Event Coordinator.
There are almost always boundaries set for speakers at churches. Often your church will have something it your church policy or handbook that states how much of an honorarium is allowed.

However, do know this, for many Christians speakers, your “honorarium” is going to be nowhere near what that speaker charges.

So you will most often have to bypass that for an event of any size.

Therefore, work closely with your church leaders to make sure that it’s all in the open just for the sake of good, clean business practices.

2. Realize That Speaking Fees and Expenses Are Not Combined.
A speaking fee is just that: a fee for speaking.
Travel expenses are not earned income.
They should not be included on a W9.
So be willing to separate the two items out.

3. Speaking Think Differently Than Event Hosts.

There are men who are willing to speak at your church that are solid speakers, but they are not what you’d consider a professional speaker or gifted communicator.

This is true – even more true – when it comes to wild game dinners. Just because a guy squirrel hunted with his grandaddy when he was 10 years old, or because he know the difference between a rifle and shotgun, doesn’t mean that he’s in any way able to effectively communicate with hunters. Be careful if you are hosting a wild game dinner to make sure you get the right fit in a speaker.

Speakers that consider speaking their calling and mission will move and operate much differently.

They will often have agents, contracts, and deliverables. And even expectations with technology, etc.

You should be happy about that, for it lets you know that they take their calling seriously.


4. Don’t Be Shy.

What some churches consider a low speaking fee may be seen by other churches as over the top.

Just be clear and up front about it.

Don’t be afraid to talk clearly about speaking fees, what expectations the speaker has, and what expectations you have as a church or event host.


5. Never Negotiate.

If you negotiate with a speaker, it doesn’t go well in the end. It puts the event in a weird light and it makes the church look cheap. And it shouldn’t be this “retail” afterall.

As an event coordinator or spokesperson for your church, know your budget, and stick to it.

Don’t feel weird about it at all.

The speaker has a fee – and you have a budget. Stay disciplined.

Keep it simple.

If it works, then great; if not, then move forward in your search.

If the speaker is outside your boundaries, move on. No harm no foul.

6. How Much To Pay A Speaker Varies Widely

As a general rule, you’re not going to secure a trusted and known speaker for less than $1500 plus travel expenses.

Most quality speakers start at $1500 and go up from there – especially in the church world. Some “big event” speakers can call for as much as $15,000 depending on their status as a speaker, politician, celebrity, comedian, musician, etc.

True $15,000 may seem insane to you, but realize that some of these speakers are known entities due to their writing, television coverage, or may be professional athletes – and many times the corporate sector or trade show world often pay them those fees without even blinking. And while that may not apply at all to your church event, just know what you’re walking into before you start contacting agents to get the “famous” speaker; famous people have famous speaking fees!

For a men’s ministry event, like a Wild Game Dinner, you’re probably looking at $1500 on the low end and $5000 on the upper end as a general window of cost structure.

Expect to pay a deposit; which is great for everyone because it locks down the event and now the speaker is accountable to deliver.

Plus speakers love it because it shows you’re serious about the event.

7. Get A Signed Contract

Any good speaker will have a simple contract. Contracts are a good thing! It keeps everything in the clear and now you know what to expect on both ends.

If a speaker doesn’t have a contract – create one!

A one page contract is a great tool of clarity and every event should have one in place with speakers and musicians.

In your search for a speaker, keep an open mind. Pray for the right person.

Do your homework.

Never be afraid to ask questions.

BONUS: Start the process early.

Most of your good speakers will book up a year in advance. So get on it now in order to give yourself time to work through the mechanics of getting the right fit for your event.