With sustainability at the forefront of everyone's mind, we decided to rethink the whole goody bag ritual at events. It is often a waste of budget to include items just for the sake of it, especially if they’re going to end up in landfill. Are goody bags necessary at all? Could we find other ways to say thank you to attendees in a way that might be a bit more personal and friendlier to the environment, while keeping sponsors happy at the same time? In our experience, most delegates are more than happy with an alternative. What’s more, if you shout loud and proud about your reasons for doing so, we believe you’ll gain recognition and support from attendees and sponsors for ditching the dear old goody bag at your next event! Here are just a few of our ideas:
A Virtual Goody Bag
Ideal for international events, providing delegates with a virtual goody bag eliminates the need for luggage space and postage expenses – a perfect solution! Include items such as e-books, apps, and passes for online games which are always well received. The e-bag could be delivered right to delegates' inbox and branded to promote sponsors or collaborators (a great way to boost conference funding. Read our blog on sponsorship here). Additional event information, links to blogs and social media as well as satisfaction surveys can also be linked up so delegates get even more out of the event.
Donate to a Charity in your Host Destination
Instead of a goody bag, consider making a donation to a local charity in your host destination. You can make this interactive and create an even bigger impact by choosing two or more local charities and asking delegates to vote for their favourite either using an online poll or via your conference app. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with the local community and leave a positive impact as well as communicating the initiative with your own community.
If delegates are going to be in the destination longer than a day, give them an e-voucher for a local attraction that could be enjoy post event or during a downtime period? Here in Cambridge, we can help with branded vouchers for activities, such as punting and shopping. Alternatively, consider an e-drinks voucher for delegates to purchase drinks outside of their conference package.
Enhance the Social Programme
Rather than focusing on the contents a goody bag, use the funds to add extra activities to the social programme. This could be a walking tour around your host city, a mindfulness session either pre or post event or consider offering the opportunity to get involved in a local community project.
Rather than splashing out on goody bags and their contents, provide delegates with the option to re-energise with a short neck and shoulder massage during breaks. This would make it a more memorable experience and add more value than branded merchandise.
Fund a Delegate
Instead of using funds to purchase a goody bag and its contents, offer free delegate place/s to those who may have previously found the event cost-prohibitive. It is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and gather a broader range of perspectives.
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, hopefully it will start you on your path to a sustainable event! For more information and resources, check out our Sustainable Toolkit here.
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