So, you have been tasked with finding the guest speaker at your high school's upcoming graduation this year. That is a big task, to be sure, and one which often seems overwhelming. Who do you ask to speak? How can you reach him/her? What is your backup plan if you cannot get the first speaker you want? Slow down, breathe, and start with the following resources.
Motivational Speakers Bureau
This is a legit organization that makes it their business to collect volunteers who are willing to speak at graduations and other important events. They recruit actors, billionaires, millionaires, and all types of people from all walks of life. Make a list of ten people you think everyone would love to hear speak at the graduation, then contact this bureau to see if any of your chosen speakers on your list are available through the bureau's many contacts and references. Specific cities may also have their own bureaus, such as the Las Vegas Speakers Bureau in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Keynote Speakers Bureau
This bureau is similar to the motivational speakers bureau, but they may have an entirely different set of speakers available. That is why you should contact both to see if either of them can connect you to the speakers you are most interested in inviting to the ceremony. If your speaker of interest is not among either of these resources, there are more ways to reach out.
Message Them on Social Media
Believe it or not, a lot of famous people keep social media pages. You can direct message (DM) them and ask them very nicely if they would appear as a guest/motivational speaker, but you do have to give them a lot of advanced warning. They do not read their Facebook pages every day since they are very busy; by the time they read your messages, it may be too late. Still, if you message them in the fall, you should get some sort of answer by spring.
Fan mail used to be the "social media" of twenty-plus years ago. If you liked a famous person, you wrote him/her a fan letter. The letters were sent to specific addresses, where they would be collected and hopefully read by the famous individual. You can still send fan mail, but you may have to do some digging for the addresses to the people to which you want to send letters. Sometimes the letters go to their publishers, their agents, or their public relations managers, so do not be surprised if the addresses seem odd.