How to Score Free Swag for Your Next Event

There’s no question that people want, and often expect, to receive swag at an event, especially if they have paid for entry.

On the flip side, companies recognize that swag serves a crucial advertising role in increasing brand awareness, piece-by-branded-piece.

What is swag exactly? In short, swag is the free loot that participants bring home from an event. This most commonly takes the form of branded, trinket-type items (think pens, totes, lanyards, notepads) or product samples.

The first place to start building a swag stockpile is with your list of event sponsors – most sponsors anticipate the opportunity to distribute their promotional products to attendees. Next, you might expand your swag-ask strategy to include local businesses, especially those that serve your organization’s target market. Don’t be surprised to find that with the right approach, local businesses will be generous in donating branded swag or surplus merchandise.

Once the local landscape has been exhausted, event planners may have to do a bit of digging. To help, we have compiled a list of websites that connect charities with potential swag:

DonationMatch – DonationMatch is a matchmaking site that streamlines the in-kind donation and sponsorship process for nonprofit event leaders.

Swag Crazy – Swag Crazy is a US company with distributors in several states that donate gift bags and other donations to events, fundraisers and charities.

Active Network Rewards – A free product samples membership program for facilities, events and organizations that help consumers live a more active lifestyle.

Gift Bag Requests – For a $10 listing fee, organizations can place a Gift Bag Request Ad on their popular website.

The Sample Guy – The Sample Guy is a leading sample-bagging service for event coordinators and product vendors.

Remember to show appreciation to your swag donors by writing each a thank you letter. Bonus points for using social media to spotlight your contributors through photos and hashtags!


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