Is there a subject that your group wants to hear about but you are not that familiar with it, or comfortable speaking on it? Is there a leader in your community that you respect and want to build a relationship with? Hosting a local pro-life speaker is a low stress event that can benefit your group and strengthen ties with your community.
SFLA Resources to Request from your Regional Coordinator:
- “Join Us” postcards
- SFLA materials that relate to the speaker’s topic
- Pick a date.
- Before you contact a speaker, choose three dates that are best for your group to host him/her. Check the school calendar to confirm no other events would be competing with your own.
- Decide if you want the speaking engagement to be private for your group, or open to all students and the community.
- Contact a speaker.
- Find their contact information online (if you don’t already have a personal relationship with them). Explain to the speaker who your group is and why you’re contacting them. Ask if they’d be willing to come speak on your campus.
- Give the speaker the three dates you previously picked out with your group and see which works best for them.
- Explain the structure of the event i.e. how much time will they have to speak, if will there be a question and answer section, etc.
- Ask if there are any specific needs or requests from their end. Do they have a presentation that they will need a projector for? Do they need sound? Do they need a table to set up some materials? Do they have an honorarium? How would they like to be introduced?
- Reserve the space.
- Make sure the space can fulfill all the specifications that the speaker requested.
- Do your best to reserve a room appropriate for the number of people you predict to be there. You want the room to look as full as possible.
- Tell campus security when and where your event will be so that they are aware of the situation and you can call them if protestors try to crash your event.
- Use email, social media, word of mouth, flyers, school calendars, and any other forms of communication to advertise the event.
- Pro-tip: Offering incentives can further encourage people to show up (i.e. free t-shirt to the first 10 people that show up!)
- Prepare your own materials.
- Have a flyer about your group on every chair or hand them to people as they come in the door. Every event is a recruitment event!
- Remind people to come to your next group meeting.
- Do the event!
- Arrive to the venue early to set up and do a practice run with the sound and technology.
- Greet people as they come in! Be friendly and enthusiastic. Keep the energy level up!
- Have water ready for the speaker.
- Keep the event running on time. Let the speaker know you will give them a “five minute,” “two minute,” and “time” signal to stay on track.
- If you are having a question and answer session, keep control of the microphones. Assign two people to hand the microphones to students and then taking them back immediately after they ask their questions so they cannot harass the speaker.
- Clean-up the space properly when the speaker is finished so you are able to reserve it again in the future.
- Thank the speaker.
- The speaker took the time to come and do a speaking event for your group. A thank-you card and a small gift can go a long way and will help ensure that the speaker will want to come back again in the future should you request it.
Take notes about your experience with the speaker so your group does not have to do repeat groundwork in the future. Was the event successful? Did they charge an honorarium? Were they easy to work with? What topics did they cover? What is their contact information?
If you have protesters, inform them that they are welcome to stay if they remain quiet and respectful during your event. If they are disruptive, politely ask them to leave as you have properly reserved the space for the event. If they continue to cause difficulty, call campus security. As always, try to take videos and pictures!
If your members are interested, ask the speaker if he/she would be willing to go to dinner before or after the event. This is an opportunity to ask more direct questions and gain some valuable insight into their pro-life work (make sure you pay for their meal!).
Questions? Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org for more information.