Great Meeting U
Do I Need a Contract with a Free Speaker?
Do I need a contract if I'm using a "free" speaker? Short answer... yes!
To elaborate, while having a signed contract with your speaker is not legally required, it is certainly a good idea... even if the speaker is speaking for free. There are several reasons for this —
First and foremost, having a written contract helps to avoid "I thought you said...." misunderstandings. Even if the speaker is speaking for no fee, there's a real danger of things going wrong if you don't get the details written down. A written contract or agreement won't guarantee that everyone's expectations will be met, but the odds of that happening are certainly improved.
Let's face it — things change. And in today's world, people can change too. So if, for example, there's a personnel change on the event planner's side, a written contract or agreement will help insure an orderly transition. And if the speaker has to cancel for some reason, a written contract will help you acquire a replacement speaker.
It's more of a psychological thing, but everyone will take your event more seriously if you have a written agreement with your speaker... especially if they're speaking for free. Perception is important, so be sure your event is perceived as important too!
Samuel Goldwyn reportedly said "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." Whether he said it or not, the statement is true... so for your peace of mind, get it in writing!