Tips on Flawlessly Hosting a Nonprofit Event

hosting a nonprofit event

NEWaukee Speaker Crawl: A modern spin on a traditional nonprofit event


Not every event can give you an experience with dinosaurs as the backdrop. But that’s exactly what the NEWaukee Speaker Crawl did for its young professional participants. Combining traditional and modern event tactics, NEWaukee, a social architecture firm in Milwaukee, executed an event that gave attendees a unique experience and a push to stay motivated and take charge of their actions to truly shape the community in which they live, work, and play.

Here are a few things that NEWaukee did pretty flawlessly (and some things you can do, too, when you’re hosting an educational nonprofit event):   They opened with a big name keynote speaker. Bob Selig, Commissioner Emeritus of Major League Baseball, emphasized the importance of people making a city great and that “there is no substitute for leadership. Things don’t just happen by accident.”


They also opened with drinks and appetizers. The old college theory that if there is food and beverage, they will come, is pretty accurate. Although I wasn’t there for it specifically, it’s always so important during an evening event to give your attendees something to nosh on.


They offered a really wide variety of content. Something to note about young professionals is that we all have a wide range of interests. We like being able to choose our own path at an event and focus on topics that matter to us. NEWaukee brought in a slew of speakers. I visited Dr. Kassam, a neurosurgeon who spoke about his innovations that increase the quality of life for patients with brain cancer, but left attendees with the advice to “absolutely fear success. You should run from it. If you embrace it, you’re going to lose.” Next, I listened to Nick Jarmusz of AAA Wisconsin warn against the dangers of distracted driving and encourage a cultural movement that could easily solve the issue where millennials set a social standard against distracted driving. Then, Sara Daleiden gave insight on how active awareness of local places can create value, civic participation, economic sustainability and celebration of difference. Lastly, I heard Cortney Heimerl share her passion of organizing pop-up marketplaces to connect local vendors and consumers to add to the economic impact of local communities.


Did I mention the venue was really cool? The event was hosted at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Each speech was twenty minutes long and was held in one of four exhibits: Streets of Old Milwaukee, European Village, T-Rex Exhibit, and Rainforest Exhibit. The settings were intimate, with the speakers standing amongst the twenty or so attendees encouraging audience participation and fostering a unique experience with each speaker.


Although this was a new event format for the organizers, the content was valuable, and the various choices of content ensured each attendee could glean the information they wanted. If for some reason, nothing was of interest, every attendee walked away with an experience.