Some churches occasionally have guest speakers at their services. Guest speakers may preach, teach or sing at revivals, conferences, concerts and regular worship services. In some instances, the guest speaker may travel a considerable distance to participate in your church’s event.
Making arrangements for guest speakers often involves many details. Some speakers have special travel demands. Because there can be multiple matters to address, it may be a good idea to have a written agreement for all guest speakers.
A speaker’s agreement should cover all aspects of travel expenses. Travel expenses include airfare, taxis, tips and meals associated with traveling to your church’s event. If your church agrees to reimburse the speaker for meals and travel expenses, the agreement should specify the terms.
Reimbursement for ancilliary costs should be discussed. These expenses include guests’ special needs, entertainment and vehicle rental. If there are some expenses for which your church will not reimburse, the agreement should list those subjects.
The order in which expenses will be covered should be noted in the agreement. In some instances, your church may advance funds to the speaker for expenses. A church may request speakers pay for their own expenses in advance and apply for reimbursement from the church. The method of documentation for expenses should be specified in the agreement so there will be no disagreement about proof. The church may wish to request a list of itemized expenses with receipts after the travel.
The speaker’s agreement may make it known that the church will reimburse only for expenses incurred during the event.
Speakers who desire to arrive earlier than needed for the event may expect reimbursement for the extended time.
In order to save money, the church may encourage a speaker to make their airline reservations weeks in advance prior to the speaking dates. The agreement could place a dollar limit on the air fares eligible for reimbursement. The class of airline seating may also be stipulated in the agreement.
In some instances, an airline ticket is less expensive when the speaker stays over a Saturday night. The agreement could authorize the reimbursement of lodging costs when a Saturday stay results in significant airline fare savings.
Some speakers may drive to your church for an event. Any limits on mileage reimbursement should be noted in the agreement and capped at the IRS rate. Reimbursements over this rate could be considered income to the speaker and thus taxable.
The question of accommodations should be agreed upon in the agreement. The church should indicate the extent of its lodging policy. If a suite or additional rooms are required, it should be clear who will cover the extra expenses. The church could indicate in the agreement that it will pay for room, taxes, gratuities, and meals only. If all other hotel expenses are to be paid by the speaker, this should be disclosed.
Finally, some speakers have a property interest in their likeness, recordings and messages. To avoid a complaint for infringement on the rights of the speaker, the church should have the terms specified in the agreement. The church needs to know if it can record and resell the sermon or song. Also, it should be discussed if royalties are expected to be paid.