Daily Buzz: Conference Swag Beyond the Bag

Tote bags, notepads, and USBs: You’ve offered them as meeting giveaways too many times, and they end up in the trash. Ditch these tired ideas for more earth-friendly options. Also: the benefits of a young professionals committee.

Meeting swag. It’s something you hand out at every conference—but not something your attendees necessarily use. Which means more often than not, those promotional items wind up in the trash.

“When you think about all of the energy and resources that go into making just one of the tote bags that I have just thrown into the trash—only to end up in a landfill—the impact [is] staggering,” says Elizabeth Segran in a post on Fast Company.

For planners, the challenge is finding swag products that attendees will enjoy and are good for the environment. Segran says one idea is to ditch the swag altogether.

“Instead, consider offering experiences. Several well-reported studies show that millennials are prioritizing experiences over stuff,” Segran says. “For instance, I’d appreciate a back massage at a conference, or perhaps a yoga class, or a free headshot. I’d even enjoy a good meal instead of a swag bag. Give me a cold brew, awesome donuts, or a burger. If you wrap the event in your branding, there’s a good chance your target customer will remember that experience long after the tote bag is stuffed in a landfill somewhere.”

The Perks of a YP Committee

Young members are the future of your association, and you should be offering them resources that will ensure that both their careers and the organization thrive. In addition to providing the standard career workshops and networking events, consider creating a young professionals committee.

“One of the best advantages of creating a Young Professionals Committee is that it’s a resourceful way to provide more for your members,” says Audra Hopkins in a post on the Web Scribble blog. “By offering this trusted board for any members looking for more guidance in their professional journey, you’re able to pull together resources that are already in your association’s ‘bag of tricks’ and reinvent them into a brand new benefit.”

A YP committee also means the opportunity to attract more younger members—and with that, more dues revenue.

Other Links of Note

Innovation keeps an organization growing. Here are seven ways to encourage it in your culture, from CMSWire.

Email is productive, but are yours considerate? Quartz at Work outlines email habits you should cultivate.

Down with boring meetings. BizBash offers entertainment ideas that break the mold.

(Veresovich/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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