How to Secure Excellent Speakers at No Cost


Planning an event can be daunting. From coordinating the budget to finding a venue and setting an agenda, the process can be stressful, even more so if you need to find a speaker for an upcoming event. Whether you’re on a tight budget or have no available budget at all, here are some resources to help you secure free and excellent speakers for your gatherings.

Reach Out Early and Often

As you make a list of your preferred speakers, consider the timeline of your event and plan accordingly. Manage your expectations, and be sure you give yourself plenty of time to confirm a speaker. Craft an appealing pitch, then start reaching out and don’t get discouraged if you don’t secure someone immediately.

Connect with the AAUW Network

More than 11,000 women are a part of AAUW’s network of fellowship and grant recipients. These women represent a wide range of fields and are spread out across the globe, making them great prospects for speakers.

AAUW branches can also apply to have a Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) plaintiff or lawyer from an AAUW-supported case speak at their inter-branch meetings or state conventions.  The LAF Case Support Travel Grants pays for the participants travel and lodging expenses in adherence with AAUW travel policy, so there are no concerns about cost. Applications to bring a plaintiff to spring conventions are due by October 31 of the preceding year.

If you’re interested in bringing an AAUW staff member for your event, fill out this request form.

It’s All in How You Ask

Don’t apologize up front for not being able to pay speakers — that sets the expectation that you should pay. Instead, show speakers how your event will give them access to a wide audience that is interested in what they have to share. If you hear someone who is a great speaker, try to get her or his contact information for future opportunities.

Show Speakers How They Would Benefit

Professionals such as financial planners or bankers who ultimately have a product to sell would appreciate the exposure. Explain how speaking at your event presents an opportunity for them. Emphasize that in addition to reaching the event attendees, your message also carries through to the organizations and networks that our attendees are involved in beyond AAUW.

Utilize Your Community

Don’t limit yourself to big names; teachers, professors, local authors and booksellers, and politicians make great speakers and are available in any community. Also consider members of your local women’s commission and fellows working on one of AAUW’s three areas of focus.


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