Last week I wrote about how it’s a big disconnect to be an organization or association whose mission is to advance the status and livelihoods of women, and yet fail to pay speakers and experts for their contributions. (Why Women’s Organizations Need to Sister Up and Pay Speakers.
First, the Objections
I hear things like, “Oh, but we have a policy. We don’t pay any of our speakers.” And to that I say, really? Sounds like it’s time for change in policy. It’s the emperor’s new clothes, and we women are running around acting like it’s a perfectly sound business strategy.
I also hear things like, “Well, we already have sponsors for our conferences and awards dinners, I just don’t think they’d step up and pay more.” Or, “You know the economy is in the tank. It’s just not good timing.” Or, “Everybody knows it’s good marketing to speak for free.”
That last one drives me crazy. While it’s true that speaking for free to groups that are a perfect match to your market is a good idea as you start out, and then again when you’re fat and rich. But for those in the middle, it’s not sustainable. You can’t put free on the dinner table, and you risk developing a mindset of being worth less that trickles into every area of your business.
If you’re in leadership in a women’s association, it’s time to get beyond this myopic thinking and get creative with your current and potential sponsors.