Do you ever wish you could cut out the middleman and make a direct request to the speaker or celebrity? Trust me, I get it. I had a 20 year career managing corporate events and I fully understand the frustrations our clients face today. In this blog, I wanted to tackle the issues that come with investing in booking a big name celebrity.

The letters below were written by me based on decades of experience in the speaking industry - a compilation of things I have heard from both sides, if you will. I hope you find it helpful and enlightening. 
Dear Celebrity,

I am responsible for planning our organization’s largest fundraising event.
Every year we bring in a celebrity - this is what allows us to attract key donors and attendees.

We’d love to find a speaker who is relevant to our cause, but we are looking for more.

What can you do to help make our top donors feel special? Can you attend a small private party the night before? It will be in a nice home with a friendly crowd - you would not have to give a speech.

Of course, we would have you pose for photos with our top donors, our executive director, and staff. It is important that you eat at the table with them so you can schmooze right before your speech the following day.

We are spending a lot of money and all the celebrities are doing these things for other events in town.

Thank you for helping us further our cause.

Development Director/ Event Orchestrator
Dear Development Director,

I love your cause - I personally do a lot to support it and others like it. I would be honored to speak at your event.  

That being said, I want to explain to you some of the thinking that goes into my response:

  • I have a brand. Afterall, that is why I am on your radar. There are many people that play a role in curating this brand including my legal team, publicist, manager, etc. Their goal is to manage the brand and ensure that each appearance I do is in alignment with it. My team also has concerns of me being over-exposed. So everything is calculated.  
  • There are also security concerns. With celebrities also come crazies. If I tweet about an upcoming appearance, you may find all sorts of interesting stalkers in the lobby.
  • I have a deep appreciation for the importance of schmoozing your top donors. However, I have to manage my personal wellbeing. That includes getting enough rest, staying committed to my fitness routine while I am on the road, and allowing time to center myself and be grounded so I am fully present when I hit the stage.
  • When I was first trying to make a name for myself in the industry, I said yes to everything. As I got more well-known and started to be more widely recognized, the tables flipped. I received so many requests and that is why I assembled my team. They have been tasked with saving me from myself and expected to establish boundaries to make sure I am not over committed. I know their firm “no” sometimes feels that it lacks flexibility, but that is by design. Now if I show up fully charged, rested and ready to go you may see some flexibility on my part. But please know my team was doing their job in advance.

If I accept this engagement, my number one goal will be to nail it from the stage so that your audience is moved to further support your cause.

Thank you for your understanding,
Our GDA team would love to connect with you to provide more information and insight on booking keynote speakers for your next event.