While the ultimate speaker appreciation is getting adequately and promptly paid, smart program managers know that showing appreciation for their speakers goes a long way to create a positive experience for them, and always reflects well on your club or venue.
We’re Paying Them—Isn’t That Appreciation Enough?
Yes and no. And before we go any further, we want to be clear that this blog post is about something beyond/aside from payment, not in lieu of payment. And the reasons for doing something a little extra are these:
- A person who feels appreciated will deliver their best work and will want to present at your venue again. Yes, professionals should always deliver their best work regardless, but it’s human nature to respond positively and with more energy when you feel supported and appreciated, right?
- It’s the nice thing to do from one human being to another.
How to Thank Your Speaker
Okay, so here’s the thing: A large venue spanning a week and featuring dozens of speakers (a national flower and garden show, for example) will not be able to do this for every speaker (except for the first item possibly), but smaller venues and clubs with one speaker certainly can include one of these appreciative gestures:
- A Handwritten Note. Include a handwritten note with the check for their speaking fee and make it personal. “We were so grateful to have you as our guest speaker—you came so highly recommended and you really wowed our club! Thank you so much for your excellent tips on growing roses.”
- A Gift Card to a Local Garden Center. This does not need to be extravagant; even a $25 gift card in their thank you note is nice.
- Fresh Flowers. A fresh bouquet of flowers is a lovely gift they can take home and enjoy.
- A Small Potted Plant. A houseplant, a potted herb, a flowering perennial that’s hard to find, or another plant that a club member grew from seed are all wonderful gifts to give your speaker.
- A Gift Basket. It can be varied and eclectic, including lemons from a member’s tree, seed packets, a book, cool garden gloves, etc. Have members donate items for this type of thing so it doesn’t need to be an extra expense on top of the speaker fee.
- A Gift Card to a Local Farm-To-Table Café. Yes, this is more expensive, but it’s a thoughtful touch for higher profile presentations or speakers. We realize the everyday garden club may not have the funds for this beyond paying the speaking fee, but it’s a wonderful gift for those that do.
Note: Many times, speakers donate their time to present, or discount their fee, or donate a copy of their book for a raffle, or drive two hours without travel expenses. It’s especially important under those circumstances to adequately show your appreciation to them. And we cannot underscore this one enough—if a speaker has agreed to present free of charge for whatever reason, it’s even more important to show appreciation with one of the suggestions above. Not having a budget is no reason to not thank them with something—it takes zero dollars to write a heartfelt thank-you note or to ask members to donate to a gift basket. If you’re a program manager, do you have a unique way you’ve thanked a speaker before? We’d love it if you left a comment!