With limited exception, the services of the Plymouth State Speakers Bureau are available to all community organizations; including but not limited to; businesses, non-profits, schools, organizations, and communities. Events featuring members of the Speakers Bureau generally should be open to the public and no specific charge should be assessed for the presentation.
Depending on availability an organization may be limited to three programs per 12 month period, at the discretion of the Speakers Bureau management. Speakers provide their time and expertise at no cost. The three program limit allows the Speakers Bureau to extend resources to reach as many organizations as possible.
Ten Week Lead Time
Please, submit requests for speakers at least 10 weeks in advance of the program date. The Speakers Bureau management will make every effort to accommodate all requests, but speakers need adequate time in advance to adjust their schedule and plan their program. In addition, the event host needs considerable time to promote a successful event.
Minimum Audience Size (15 people)
Because of the significant time speakers commit to preparing for each presentation, organizations should request speakers for events at which a minimum of 15 people are expected. Special exceptions are considered on request.
The Speakers Bureau is a public outreach program of Plymouth State University, and its services are offered without charge. An honorarium is not expected, however, compensation for the speaker’s travel expense is welcome. For your information, the current University System of New Hampshire reimbursement rate for mileage is $0.41 per mile. If an honorarium or gift is a customary practice for the sponsoring organization, the discretion is entirely with the event host.
Event Host’s Responsibilities
The Speakers Bureau recommends that organizations develop partnerships for sponsoring and promoting programs. Good partnership opportunities in the community may include libraries, historical societies, senior groups, community centers, museums, parent associations, chambers of commerce, and service clubs.
Communicate with the Speaker
Once a speaker is requested and confirmed for an event, the host will be provided appropriate contact information and should get in touch with the speaker without delay. Topics for discussion:
- Description of sponsoring organization’s purpose
- The goals for the event
- Anticipated audience size and demographics
- Date and time of the event
- Exact time of the presentation
- Length of time for the presentation
- Topic and title of the presentation
- Whether a question and answer period is appropriate
- Biographical information for the speaker’s introduction
- Who will do the introduction
- Multimedia requirements
- Whether a meal or reception precedes or follows the presentation
- Appropriate dress for the event
- Whether the speaker may distribute collateral materials to the audience in advance or after the event
- Directions to the event location
- Emergency telephone numbers by which the speaker can reach the host and the host can reach the speaker
Speaker evaluations are critical to sustaining quality programming. The Speakers Bureau will provide the event host with an evaluation form to assess the overall quality of the presentation.
Once a speaker is confirmed, the event host should begin publicity for the event. The Speakers Bureau management will provide a sample press release with photograph customized for the event. When appropriate, the event host should coordinate with any partnering organizations and seek out local newspapers, radio stations, community calendars, and bulletin boards to publicize the event. Plymouth State University will provide support information for an effective publicity campaign, and the University requests an itemized description of the event’s promotional plan.
Build and Engage an Audience
The event host should engage its own staff, volunteers and constituents in the planning and publicity of the event. The more promotional efforts are made in advance – the more successful will be the event. In consideration of the speaker’s own earnest preparation, a similar effort by the event host is warranted to produce a successful event with an enthusiastic and attentive audience.
Have a communications plan for cancellations. If you must cancel or reschedule an event because of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstance, be prepared to notify the Plymouth State Speakers Bureau, the contracted speaker, and all appropriate media outlets as far in advance as possible.