Do you have to pack an extra tote bag in your luggage so you can carry home all your conference swag? If so, what happens to the swag when you get home? Be honest, now. Do you use half the stuff you grab from sponsors? Do you help yourself to hotel shampoos and soaps only to throw these goodies into a draw for “just in case?”. Not to lecture, but to take stuff you’re never going to use only leads to more clutter and landfill. Moreover, there are some people who can put certain swaggy items to good use. Before accepting an item from a sponsor or vendor, consider whether or not this is something you’re really going to use. If you have a lot of conference swag you don’t know what to do with, consider getting charitble. There are plenty of people who can really use your swag.
Check it out:
- Hotel toiletries: Donate to local homeless, senior citizen homes and battered women’s shelters. They’ll all put shampoos, sewing kits, soaps and cotton balls to very good use.
- Clothing items: Donate to the homeless or needy.
- Books, CDs and magazines: Donate to the library.
- Toys: Really, do you use that gel yoyo? Donate it to Toys for Tots or a homeless shelter.
- Business & stationery items: Donate to homeless shelters, schools and occupational learning centers.
- Tote Bags: Use for your grocery shopping or donate to shelters.
- Food and grocery items: Donate to the homeless shelter or food kitchen.
What do you do with YOUR conference swag?
Giving the items away to charity is a great use. Another thing I’ll do with swag is that (if it’s appropriate for my audience) give it away to blog readers. Either in the form of a contest, or sometimes it’s a great gesture to contact a prolific commenter or community member, get their address, and send them some goodies.
A good bit of the conference swag I get goes into the prize pools/raffle pools for whichever user group I am attending at the time. No matter what the group is about, the extra prizes are welcomed.
I try to be selective about the swag I take. I don’t have a lot of storage space for things I don’t use use often. If get something and find out I’m not using it I’ll give it to someone who can. I recently gave 2 people a bunch of conference tote bags so they can use them for reusable shopping totes. that’s where I got all of the reusable tote bags I use for shopping.
Your local USO can often use the hotel toiletries, or they’re great for care packages for deployed troops.
@FBL – After packing up boxes for the troops with my son’s Cub Scout pack today, I agree. Lots of stuff can go to the troops – and they love receiving swag.