Storytelling: It is a job, so pay for it

The steps of getting a client ready for public speaking:

  1. Trust-building – this may happen naturally at one of your nonprofit’s services, or it may be via an introduction or interview process. The goal is to establish an understanding of each of your roles and how you are connected to the nonprofit’s mission. Sometimes it might be that you work at the nonprofit and the client gets services. Sometimes they may also volunteer. Get to know each other and why you are each there. 
  2. Tell from a scar – After establishing some trust with the client, explore their story a little more. Compassionately explain the goals: empowering their voice and elevating the nonprofit’s mission. While you or they may feel some details of their story may make the case for supporting the nonprofit stronger, if the client is in pain sharing them, they may be still healing from trauma. Err on the side of safety. Tell from a scar, not a wound.
  3. Detail the job description – share the job description with the client and be specific. For example, if it is a public speaking gig, explain that this means crafting the speech with you or another staff person, practicing it three times with one time as a dress rehearsal, early arrival at the event, and participating in the debrief afterward. This is a job, not a favor. Explain it clearly so they can determine if they have the bandwidth to participate.
  4. Explain compensation – share the pay schedule. At the nonprofits I’ve worked at we paid clients to do a public speaking gig, and for every follow-up after we also paid them. The follow-ups may have been short interviews with TV or participating in a film, for example. How much should you pay? Consider the value of their time. I had an artist friend draw me a design for a tattoo once, and I asked how much I should pay. Her response applies here: Consider how much the market might value this work at an hourly rate. Then consider the expertise and availability of the work. If you want to discuss this further, reach out. I’d be happy to help you develop a pay scale for these resilient humans with you.