I am a great admirer of Helen F.M. Leary. She’s is a thinking person’s genealogist. I’d hire her in a flash if I was faced with a research problem in her corner of the world. Helen wrote an excellant chapter in Elizabeth Shown Mills, Professional Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2001) entitled, “Lecturing” and filled wiith excellant advice for professional genealogists interested in genealogy education as an aspect of their work. She says some interesting things about speaker’s fees.
Speakers could set their fees based on what other genealogy speakers of similar experience charge.
Speakers could set a fee based on what they think the market will bear and risk pricing themselves out of the market.
Speakers can develop a formula based on their individual lecturing expertise.
Here’s one formula based on the hourly research rate charged by a professional genealogist. Let’s call her Sue.
Sue is an expert in tracing people who entered the US from Canada. She has solved dozens of problems in these records, written articles for her local genealogical society journal and is now being ask to speak on this topic.
As a researcher Sue charges only $35 an hour, and works at this part time. Helen Leary suggests we treat a one hour lecture as eqivalent to an 8 hour day. So Sue figures she should charge $280 for the lecture.
While attending a conference she meets Esther, a specialist in tracing immigrant Jewish families back to their European homeland. Esther tells Sue she charges her clients $100 per hour for research and she works full time as a genealogist. Sue does the math in her head, figures Esther must charge $800 for a 60 minute lecture. So she asks. Esther tells her that she does one lecture a month for $200. Esther is confused. She feels her lecture is worth $240, and Esther’s must be worth $800. However, Sue wants to do at least 25 lectures a year to supplement her research business.
What is a reasonable fee for Sue to set for her lectures?
What would your local society pay for a speaker?
Should she accept offers at a lower fee from her local society?
What do you think ?