Book More Business That Pays: Professional Speaking Sponsorship Guide


As paid professional speakers, we have all heard the statements or questions below uttered by associations, corporations, meeting planners and non-profit groups.

  • *We do not have a budget to pay you but we would love to have you speak to our group.

*We are always looking for great speakers, but we cannot pay you.

*You will get exposure and business opportunities by presenting at our meeting.

Would you like to know how to turn many of these free speaking opportunities into a paid speaking engagement? Below are basic guidelines to obtaining sponsorship so you can get paid for your expertise.

When having an initial discussion with an organizer and any of the above statements come up, change the direction of the conversation to a positive opportunity.  Suggested verbiage that I have had great success with looks like this:

Sponsorship Conversation Scenario

Sally: (AKA the Meeting Planner)

We are always looking for great speakers, but we cannot pay you.  Do you speak for free?

Professional Speaker (PS):  I completely understand your budget constraints.  Many organizations that approach me to speak at their events are in the same situation.  Have you considered reaching out to your community to request sponsorship for a speaker?

  • Inside scoop: Typically, they are not familiar with the idea of sponsorship for a speaker and become engaged and enthusiastic about the possibilities. 

Sally:  No!  I have never thought of doing that.  How do I start?

  • Inside scoop: This is where you, the professional speaker, will need to understand their business and this process. Begin by educating the meeting planner. 

PS:  Who are the companies in your community that may have an interest in creating a business partnership with you or your attendees?  In other words, who would like to earn your business and would recognize the networking / sales opportunities available by sponsoring this event?

  • Inside scoop: Do your homework about the organization and expected attendees so you can make appropriate industry suggestion for sponsorship.  

Sally:  Well, since we are a dental practice, I would think that vendors who sell dental products may want to support this.  What about an office supply company to support the administrative side of the dental business?  This is a fantastic idea and there several companies I can reach out to.  I am going to start making a list of potential sponsors that we may be able to work with.

PS:  Fantastic!  Can I make a few suggestions on how to approach the potential sponsor?

Sally:  Absolutely!

PS:  The sponsors need to know, up front, WIIFT (What’s In It For Them).  Below is a template that you can customize for your introduction letter.

Sponsorship Email Template


I am Sally, the practice manager for Dr. Wonderful.  We are planning a networking event in May. Our guests will include five to seven general and specialty dental offices in the area. The purpose of the meeting is to establish and improve our dental and medical community relationships so we can work more collaboratively when treating mutual patients. We are expecting 100 dental / medical professionals to attend.

Lisa Copeland, a communication expert on Generational Friction in Clinical Practice, will be our featured speaker.  She is well-known in the industry and lives locally.  I would like to invite you to be a sponsor for her honorarium.

This partnership will help promote (Sponsoring Company name) key marketing objectives:  List their marketing / customer goals if you know them.

  • Increase brand awareness and exposure for (Company name) products
  • Drive sales
  • Expand product exposure

 The sponsored speaker, (Lisa Copeland), will contribute the following to our partnership’s success:

  • Develop and customize a lead generation raffle contest slip requesting specific information regarding the attendees. The winner(s) will receive a (Sponsoring Company name) branded gift /certificate (specific prize to be discussed and determined)  
  • Customize a (Sponsoring Company Name) video “Thank You” to send to all conference attendees following the event
  • Share the (Sponsoring Company Name) twitter mention (@Company name) from the  podium
  • Introduce (Sponsoring Company Name) products and sales consultant (if attending) from the from the podium
  • Include (Sponsoring Company Name) logo on all course advertising materials indicating sponsorship 
  • Include (Sponsoring Company Name) logo / contact information on the attendee’s resource materials

These are just a few examples of how (Sponsoring Company Name) would benefit from sponsoring our event.  I would be happy to discuss additional opportunities and ideas that you have as well.

Let’s schedule a call this week to discuss the details of our partnership. I am available….

Warmest Regards,

This approach has a positive triangulation effect.

  1. The speaker gets paid…YIPEEEEE!
  2. The meeting planner stays within the proposed budget and hires a reputable, professional speaker.
  3. The sponsoring company sells / displays products and interacts with 100 potential clients at one event! The return on investment for the sponsoring company has huge profit potential. The end result being a very successful event!

As a professional speaker, customize this template based on the client / market you will be working with. The proposal and language will become more comfortable as you use it.

Enjoy getting paid to speak!

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.