Make a Difference

Choosing your next banquet speaker

August 2022

Written by

Bob Foust

Tiberius Images

Hey Bob, do you know any good banquet speakers?  

I am asked this question more than any other as I mentor pregnancy centers. It seems as though every board member and director is looking for a “magic bullet” that will provide unlimited funds and vast audience for their center’s annual banquet or gala.

My answer is genuine: I don’t know.

And I don’t believe anyone else knows either. But, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

1. Pick someone who can speak to your particular audience. Spend time praying and analyzing your donor base. Choose a speaker with interests shared by your audience.

2. Ask yourself, “What does God want to accomplish at this banquet?”

For instance, if your center was about to embark on a blitz to reach schools or universities, a good choice would be someone familiar with millennials. Or, if you were planning to implement a fatherhood initiative, you'd look for someone with those connections.

Whatever is your goal and plan, choose a speaker with the ability to promote it.

3. Be careful to choose a speaker who knows and understands pregnancy care ministry.

I have been to banquets (and you have too) where the speaker doesn’t have a clue about what you do or why you do it. I remember one time walking with our speaker into the venue. He was a well-known author and we thought this would be our night to soar. We had 1400 people assembled and were serving a great meal. The speaker said to me, “Now what is this ministry we are speaking for?” We raised far less than average that evening.

4. Avoid speakers who have their own agendas.

Another time our speaker only agreed to come if we’d showed a video clip of his ministry. The clip was to be four minutes long. I am sad to say, I agreed to allow it. The clip was actually 10 minutes long and he spent another three introducing it.  

5. Call other executive directors for their opinion.

I believe that as you are speaking with them, clarity will come.

6. Pray, pray, and then fast and pray.

Oh, by the way, our center has just finished our banquet and we’re looking for a speaker for 2020. Any suggestions?