Guest Speakers

11, 12

To help students understand topics related to grantmaking and philanthropy through the experiences and perspectives of members of local philanthropic organizations.

Print60 minutes

Students will:

  • Recognize community relationships
  • Get a deeper understanding of different topics introduced in the class
  • Identify the partnership with our local community foundation, tips for fundraising, and projects happening in the community

A Google form (or document) listing students’ questions for the speaker (compiled prior to the class period). 

Teacher Preparation 
  1. Prior to the start of class, do research on organizations and members of the community to identify those you would like to invite to come speak during a class. Choose members that will deepen students’ understanding of the material and put a face and voice to the topic. Community members LOVE talking to students about their area of expertise. [For ideas, see the Sample Philanthropy Speakers list attached.]
  2. Take time in a class period before the guest speaker is scheduled to visit to give students an introduction to the speaker’s organization and explain his/her work. Send students a Google form on which they record two questions each that they hope to pose to the speaker during his/her visit.
  3. Call guest speakers prior to their visit to give them an idea of class dynamics and things that might work to engage students in the conversation.


  1. Before each guest speaker, students submit questions that they will pose to the speakers.  This prevents awkward silence that can sometimes happen with guest speakers if students have not considered the topic ahead of time.

  2. During the trimester course, guest speakers will include:

    • A staff member from the Community Foundation of Louisville (this is where the class’ donor-advised fund is held).
    • A member from the community that is involved in a partnership project (one with business, government and nonprofit partners). For example, Dan Jones has spoken to the class about his amazing project to expand the park system in Louisville.
    • A member from a sales organization or who works as a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization. This is a “pep rally” guest speaker to get students excited before they start the fundraising process. Typically it is someone in the community known for raising a lot of money or having a great track record in sales.
    • A member from a foundation or possibly the major donor to the class. This is a chance for students to understand that giving money away strategically is not as easy as it seems. It is also a chance for students to ask hard questions about the grant making process.
  3. After the visit, a student sends a thank you note to thank the speaker for sharing their time and talent with the class.