The church and ministry conference business is back with a vengeance with guest speakers often collecting large speaking honorariums. Many religious organizations refuse to disclose the size of honorarium payments, leaving donors and attendees in the dark as to how the money is being spent.
Reciprocal speaking arrangements (you speak at my event and I speak at yours) abound as speakers seek the spotlight.
After hosting a virtual conference last year due to COVID, attendees flocked to televangelist Bill Winston’s International Faith Conference, which was held in September in Forest Park, Illinois.
Guest speakers included televangelists T.D. Jakes and Kenneth Copeland. Copeland used his Cessna 750. Eagle Mountain International Church, also known as Kenneth Copeland Ministries, owns two jets: a Cessna 750 and Gulfstream G-V.
In August, Copeland held his Southwest Believers Convention. Creflo Dollar and Bill Winston, guest speakers, flew to Fort Worth for the event on each of their Gulfstream G-IV jets. If the hosts reimburse travel costs, tens of thousands of dollars are spent on ministry jets.
How much do guest speakers cost? The Harvard Business Review provides “a rule of thumb for appropriate pricing”:
$500 – $2,500 for new speakers
$5,000 – $10,000 for a first-time author
$10,000 – $20,000 for authors with several books
$20,000 – $35,000 for authors of best sellers
Celebrities and politicians may cost significantly more. In June, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the National Religious Broadcasters’ annual convention. According to booking agency All American Entertainment, Pompeo’s speaking fee is between $100,000 to $200,000.
The National Organization of Professional Athletes and Celebrities reports that comedian Chonda Pierce, a popular speaker at Christian events, has a speaking fee range of $20,000 to $30,000 and Tim Tebow’s speaking fee is $50,000 to $100,000. Tebow was Liberty University’s 2021 commencement speaker. Continue reading “Paid to Speak: The Speaking Honorarium Business”