What Does 'Swag' Mean?

Simply put - free stuff!

"Swag" is a slang term for promotional items companies give away, usually branded with the company's name or logo. So, that company-branded t-shirt you saw someone wearing on the subway? That's swag. Same with those logo stickers you see on people's laptops, and that branded mug on your desk. 


Marketing Opportunity!

All participants will receive a Summit swag bag, and you are invited to contribute your own swag! Don't miss out on this free opportunity to get your brand in front of agriculture LGBT and ally employees, professionals, executives, organizational leaders and others who are working toward an equitable industry environment for LGBT agriculturists everywhere.



Shipping Instructions:

There is no cost to have your items included in this year's Summit swag bag. If you would like your swag included, all items must arrive to our team by Friday June 15th, 2018.  

Please ship all materials to:

Des Moines Marriott Hotel

Attn: Jesse Lee Eller / Cultivating Change Foundation

700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309

Number of Participants: 250

Questions, email: sponsor@cultivatingchangefoundation.org 


Swag Ideas That Wow


When event swag is really cool, it can delight attendees and set an event apart. But when event swag is lame, it can make them grumble ... and look for the nearest trash can.

Below are examples of the best and worst swag we've come across at events. We hope it inspires you and helps prevent your swag from ending up in the dumpster!

13 of the Best & Worst Swag Ideas

The Best:


1) Mobile Device Chargers

Whether they're tweeting, checking their email, or trying to meet up with other attendees, everyone is on their phone at the Summit -- all the time. 

Give out mobile chargers to help extend their battery life and every attendee will love you for it. Oh, and they'll probably learn your name, too. Not only will keeping their phones charged mean they'll be able to engage even more throughout the Summit, they'll likely use that mobile charger beyond the last day of the event. In other words, your logo will be exposed to them -- and to others around them -- long after the Summit is over. That's a beautiful thing.


2) Seasonal Items

Everyone likes unique gifts in their event swag bags. One way to make your swag stand out is by utilizing fun, seasonal items. Most companies don't give out seasonal items because they're looking for gifts that can be used year-round, but that fact alone makes these items even more special.


3) Umbrellas

Unexpected rain can be one of the most frustrating annoyances at a conference -- which is where free umbrellas can come in clutch. Not only will it make attendee's experience better, it'll also create buzz around how well prepared your company was for any given situation. Let's face it, that's just impressive.

The other great thing about umbrellas? You really can't have too many of them. So you can be sure that your swag -- with your logo on it, of course -- will be used and seen long after the event ends.


4) T-shirts

Like umbrellas, we would argue one can never have too many t-shirts, either. If you're giving away t-shirts with cool designs or sayings (as in, not just a t-shirt with your company name or logo on it), then chances are, a lot of people will wear it -- even if they've never heard of your brand before. It's something people will wear in many different contexts outside of the event itself. 

5) Reusable Water Bottles

It may sound like a simple idea, but reusable water bottles are some of the most valued swag items given out at conferences. First of all, they're convenient -- and a lot easier to handle than open cups of water that can easily be spilled everywhere. They also encourage attendees to stay hydrated, which can be hard for people to remember when they're rushing from event to event. Not to mention, reusable water bottles are yet another item that can be used long after the Summit is over. 


6) Unique Food Items

People always appreciate free food -- after all, they tend to go long periods of time without eating at conferences since they're usually scurrying around from place to place. But you're doing it right if the food you give away is unique and could be a conversation-starter.

For example, the folks at Digital Talent Agents once gave away Coffee Cereal (coffee-flavored cereal that has caffeine in it), which served as a unique conversation starter for attendees who'd never heard of it before. One year, the New York Post  gave away buckets of gummy bears. As you would imagine, this gift went over really well. (In fact, my coworker still talks about how awesome it was.) 

While these won't last as long as other great swag items, they can serve as an interesting way to get people talking about your brand at the conference itself.


7) Moleskines

While unique swag like frisbees and flip flops can be a lot of fun, don't leave all office-related swag items off the table. Even old-school, paper-related items like moleskin notebooks can be coveted pieces of swag.

After all, in a time when everything is done digitally, moleskines are still one of the most popular items for notetaking. They're also a lot nicer-looking than your classic spiral notebook, making them more of a novelty that many attendees will enjoy using both during and after the event -- an important consideration when you're picking out what to give away.

... And the Worst

8) Keychains

It used to be cool to get a keychain in your swag bag ... until everyone started to give out keychains. It didn't take long to become one of the least effective ways to get attendees to remember your brand.

Some companies have adapted the keychain so that it has other functions, like doubling as a bottle opener or a whistle. But let's face it: People don't really want a keychain with your company's logo on it. It's not that useful, and it's not unique -- not a great way to stand out.

9) USB Flash Drives

A few years ago, this was the perfect item to give out at an event. After all, it's small, it's easy to carry, and you can load it with cool stuff like session presentations. But now that people are storing documents in the cloud, not many people use flash drives anymore. Plus, the reasonably priced ones don't have a lot of storage and break easily.

If you want to share digital folders with attendees, it's much more user-friendly nowadays to use programs like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. The point? You may want to rethink your decision before ordering up something people probably won't use. 

10) Phone Cases

There are some items that each person only ever needs one of, and they probably have it already. A great example of this is a phone case.

Lots of phone cases are given away at conferences these days, and yet it's rare to see attendees put them on their phones. Why? Because they already have a phone case -- one they've carefully chosen and then paid for. Be sure that when you're thinking unique, you're also thinking about something people will actually use.

11) Backpacks 

Strictly in practical terms, you could make the argument that backpacks are a great swag item. They're reusable in many different contexts, they can flatten and fold up for the trip home, or they can be used to help carry all the other swag and stuff attendees picked up at the conference, right?

But from a human perspective, you have to admit ... branded backpacks are a little bit nerdy. Far too many conference attendees throw free backpacks in the trash ... and that's a big item to throw away.  Instead, think of wearable items your attendees might wear even if they haven't heard of you, like t-shirts.

12) Paper Weights

Paper weights are the single piece of swag that breaks every rule in the Good Swag Rulebook. (Note: not an actual book. That we know of, at least.) Not only are they dated, but they're heavy and bulky -- two things that traveling conference attendees don't want to deal with while going from session to session and traveling home. When thinking of what conference swag, pick out something that's light, useful, and easy to travel with.

Speaking of swag that's easy to travel with ...

13) Large Items (In General)

This is a bit of a broad "item," but it's critical to remember when purchasing your swag. A lot of conference attendees must travel to come to the event, many via airplane, and don't have much extra room in their luggage.

If your swag's too large, like a backpack or a teddy bear, it'll probably get abandoned in a hotel room or thrown out. Remember, the best swag items last beyond the conference -- so make sure your giveaways are a manageable size.