Saving Green and Going Green with Giveaways for Your Next Seminar Event

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Guestpost by Heidi Thorne

Heidi ThorneYou spend money on giveaways, distribute a pile of them at your event, only to have attendees immediately toss them (or give them to their kids!). How can you avoid this vicious cycle of cash-stash-trash and help save the planet too?

Here are some strategies:

  • Tote Bags – If you have a mass of seminar materials and books to give to attendees, you may still need to buy bags. There are a wide variety of tote bags that are reusable, recyclable, or made of recycled materials. Luckily, prices are beginning to come down for these more environmentally friendly alternatives. However, you may also want to consider if bags should automatically be made available to everyone.Most attendees already come armed with their own briefcases, backpacks, and totes. Maybe charge an extra fee for those that want them. This will reduce the number of bags you need to buy and could create a profit center for your event. An idea would be host a contest for the most interesting tote bag that your attendees bring in. Make them tell a story about it: how or where they got it, why they held on to it, what makes it cool, or how it relates to the topic of your presentation. You’ve saved some expense, some of earth’s resources, and you’ve created a great icebreaker exercise.
  • Lanyards for your SeminarLanyards – With at least a half dozen lanyards on my car’s rearview mirror, I don’t need another lanyard for sure! Collect lanyards at the end of your event and reuse them at the next. You may get a few folks that want to hold on to them as souvenirs. So be it. But at least you’ll have to buy less the next time.
  • USB Drives – Ditch them! With “cloud computing” becoming the norm as more powerful smartphones flood the market, use of USB drives will begin to wane. Investigate whether the use of QR codes to link to documents or mobile apps might be feasible. Then all you need to do is provide the codes on signs or other documents.Additionally, unless USB drives are disposed of or recycled properly, they represent more e-waste that will head to the landfill. With many imprinted USB drives in the $5-$10 each range, this can represent a huge savings for both you and the earth.
  • Useful Giveaways – Don’t distribute any promotion just because it’s the hottest item out there, or even because it’s “green.” A bad example of this was an electronics firm that gave away reusable grocery bags. Make it relevant to your topic and company’s mission. For example, if you are discussing nutrition, imprinted snack containers for healthy choices would be a welcome choice. Even better would be an imprinted item that can be integrated into your presentation somehow. Using our nutrition example, a nutrition expert could show an ideal portion size could fit into the giveaway food container. Think relevant, think reusable after the event.

About the Author

Heidi Thorne is a promotional products marketing expert, specializing in products for the tradeshow and events industries, including many green selections. A variety of more ecofriendly promotional products is available at her shopsite. For more information on how to green up your marketing, visit her blog at

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Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP


  1. I think there is a huge landfill in Utah overflowing with Oriental Trading Company prizes from school carnivals, and SWAG from business meetings.

    Stick with consumables that guests will enjoy, like M&Ms. Go ahead and print your logo on them if you have the budget. Just serve green M&Ms if you need to. No waste, no mess!

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      I don’t know of any M&Ms that end up in a landfill! If anyone doesn’t know what to do with them, I am available to take them of your hands! Great idea, Anita!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daphne Bousquet, CMP, Heidi Thorne. Heidi Thorne said: Thanks Daphne! RT @bousquetcmp: Giveaways for your #seminars? Think relevant, think reusable after the event. #eventprofs […]

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