Fee based Workshops should the presenter get paid?

moneyI got into a conversation with Joshua Neff of  Library Society of the World fame (among many other things), about this topic and he said – you should blog about it.  Who am I to ignore a direct order 😉

Here is the jist.  There are a lot of ways to present in libraryland. You can submit to a conference, which may or may not waive the registration fee and depending on the circumstances offer other compensations including but not limited to travel, hotel & meal expenses.  This ranges widely from conference to conference and person to person.  Ok I accept that situation.  I know there are opinions on which conferences do what, but I’m not addressing that now.

Then there are the other presentations/workshops where you’re asked/invited to come talk/teach/train about something.  Some of these are free to attendees (never mind membership dues) and some are fee based.

Here is my issue – if attendees are charged a fee the presenter should expect to be compensated.  I’m not saying don’t present without compensation.  I agree with Josh, I’m all for sharing information for free.  But you should ask up front if attendees be charged a fee.   If you’re going to be putting hard work into a presentation, not be compensated, and the organization is charging for attendance, you should ask for a good explanation of why not and where the money is going and what it will be used for.  Think about it like this -it’s like working a fundraiser.  You are donating time, you have the right to ask questions such as – what is the cause?  where does the money end up?

6 thoughts on “Fee based Workshops should the presenter get paid?

  1. Yeah, this is a no-brainer, in my opinion. If an organization is charging, the speaker should get paid.

    But this brings up bigger questions: how do we determine costs for workshops and what are people willing to pay for? A lot of library service organizations (like MPOW, METRO) are talking/thinking about this problem as prof. dev. money starts to dry up and registration for workshops starts to wane.


  2. agreed, although I can see situation where a fee goes to a non-profit (where they could ask that the presenter donate his/her time) it could be the presenter’s choice. we always would expect the organization to be clear and upfront about it.


  3. But if you’re presenting at a conference where the money goes to a nonprofit, and you don’t receive any compensation, then you’ve got yourself a charitable donation: your time, your travel, and your normal “speaker’s fee.”


  4. Bobbi,
    I’m late on this discussion but one on my mind. Would the best way to handle this be for the person to ask the presenter what they would charge to present and don’t assume anything? Just get it out in the open? What if you are asking a panel to present and they say different amounts? I definitely do not want to take advantage of generous speakers. But I do kinda like what Terry says above


    1. Carol, Yes. But I have been asked to present for free, then later discovered that attendees were being charged. I’m thinking not so much as conferences as workshops, staff days and the like.


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