An inspirational speaker may motivate us to make a change or inspire us to improve our lives. But what if an inspirational speaker actually saved the life of someone in the audience? This was a question I posed to a group of cause speakers. Here are their stories:

Alexis Moore

“At a speaking engagement, a member of the audience was experiencing domestic violence in their relationship. During October Domestic Violence Awareness month, the audience member came to one of my speaking engagements and listened to me share my story. An audience member was at the point of wanting to take her own life because of how bad and miserable her situation was. After listening to me speak about my attempted suicide, and why I was so glad that I didn’t take my own life.. well it inspired her not to take her’s. She contacted me months later to thank me for speaking out about abuse, and for helping to inspire her to flee the abusive relationship she was in and restart her life.”

Alexis Moore is a risk management consultant, author of the book Cyber Self-Defense and a speaker on topics pertaining to cybercrime and abuse, including domestic violence. (more…)

Not everyone is cut out to be a public speaker, but if you’re a nonprofit, why not get out and start spreading the word as a cause speaker? If you’re not a professional speaker there are some ways you can get up to speed quickly to improve your speaking skills and eliminate your fear.

  1. Do your homework – I’m sure you know your cause and your nonprofit like the back of your hand. But how much do you know about your audience? Every audience is different and expects something different from you. The best way to find out is to ask the meeting planner. Really dig deep to find out as much as you can about the people you’ll be speaking to. What do they want and need to learn from your presentation? What do they already know? No matter how much they know, you can win a lot of brownie points by finding some really interesting information nobody has heard of.
  2. Use humor – By their very nature, most causes are serious business. Cancer, domestic violence, homelessness. None of those topics are funny. But you can and should find a way to add some humor to your speech. Laughter is the brain’s reset button. We especially need humor when talking about a serious subject. There’s a saying “Humor is just tragedy, separated by time and space.” This could get a little tricky, so it’s best to use your gut instinct. Run it by the meeting planner first just to make sure you’re not crossing a line. And use your own experience. It’s almost always okay to laugh at yourself.
  3. Be prepared – It’s more than just a scout’s motto. One of the tricks to being a great speaker is simply to know your speech like the back of your hand. Not memorized word for word, but knowing your topic so well that you talk about it all day long. I know it sounds boring, but practice your speech over and over and over again until it bores you. Then you can start playing around with it and improvise. I practice in front of my dogs. If I can keep them awake, I know I’m on the right track. Once you have it down, practice in front of a group that is similar to the one you’ll be delivering the speech to. Get feedback and practice some more.
  4. Have fun – Just remember that the audience wants you to succeed. They are rooting for you. If you’re having fun, they’ll have fun. Believe me, they don’t want to sit through a boring speech, so just go out there and have fun with it. As long as you’re prepared, you have passion for your topic, and you’re excited about what you’re talking about, you’ll be fine.

Who could have guessed that the crowdfunding phenomenon would still be going strong since the launch of Kickstarter? If statistics are correct, it shows no signs of slowing down either. So Speaker Sponsor has launched its own brand of crowdfunding for speakers.

The idea came about because I heard people say that they would like to get their voice heard on a cause-related topic, but that they weren’t speakers. So the idea of crowdfunding for speakers sounded like a logical move. Many cause speakers were out speaking for free for the causes they believed in, but free doesn’t pay the bills. If speakers were able to generate donations for their time they could get out and speak about their topic more often.

In 2012 38% of all crowdfunding dollars went to social causes. This is good news for non-profits and for speakers who want to spread their cause related message.

Check out some of our cause speakers and help spread the word.