4 Ways To Give Conference Gifts

4 Ways To Give Conference Gifts

Giving gifts? At a conference? GROUNDBREAKING.

Sure, handing out branded swag and conference gifts is nothing new — but what if we told you there are specific ways to get conference gifting right? After all, these gifts should be working for you, helping you to achieve your goals!

It’s way too easy to get caught up in the conference swag noise — giving gifts just to give gifts, just because everyone else is, and doing it the same way over and over again. 

Not only is it important to think of alternatives to standard conference swag, but it’s equally important to be strategic in your approach to conference gifts.

In this post, we’re sharing 10 unique conference gifting ideas, PLUS some tips on different strategies for giving conference gifts.

10 Unique Conference Gifts

Here are some unique ideas for conference swag that are sure to make a splash!

1. Conference gifts that support local businesses

1. Conference gifts that support local businesses

Step up your conference swag by celebrating the host city in style! No matter where the event is taking place, supporting local businesses is always a good idea! Incorporate treats from the neighborhood bakery, source products from artisans in the area, and really lean into the local culture.

Check out these awesome conference kits we designed for Paycor to hand out at the 2022 SHRM Conference in New Orleans. This custom swag box was PACKED with flavor! We included Mardi Gras king cake pralines from The Famous Praline Co., beignet-flavored popcorn by Cajun Pop, a Cajun spice blend, and more. You can bet folks were ready to hit Bourbon Street after snagging this corporate gift box!

2. Conference gifts that share small business stories

2. Conference gifts that share small business stories

Gifting treats from small businesses? Consider highlighting the makers behind the gourmet items! 

Take this one for Deacon Construction as an example. They wanted to make sure their recipients knew alllll about the awesome small businesses that made each item. So we included a custom card amplify to tell their stories!

Sharing these small business stories made for a much more thoughtful corporate gifting and event experience.

3. Surprise welcome gifts

3. Surprise welcome gifts

Hosting a conference in Miami? We’re not *not* jealous!

If you’re hosting an event in a sunny destination, consider gifting branded hats and branded sunglasses.

When Drift held their FLASH Conference in Miami last year, we dreamt up these awesome corporate gift boxes that were full of beachy fun!

What better way to kick off a conference than by surprising attendees with a custom conference kit? Whether there’s a specific theme for the event, or maybe it’s just being held in a host city that deserves to be celebrated — no matter what, it’s always a good idea to lean into it. That way, folks will use their branded swag during the whole conference. Talk about making a good first impression!

4. Gifts from the guest speakers

Have a special guest speaker at your next big conference? Round out the experience with a special keepsake from them!

Take these conference kits for Zendesk’s Women’s Leadership Conference as an example. These goodie bags were filled with useful products that the attendees could actually use during the conference — like a branded water bottle (hydration is key!) and cookies for sustenance. The best part? They included a signed copy of The High Five Habit from their speaker, Mel Robbins.

Looking for Unique Corporate Gifts?

See All Our Gifting Options

5. Sustainable conference swag

5. Sustainable conference swag

Custom tote bags are always a good idea for conferences thanks to their versatility and eco-friendly vibe. These bags go beyond the event scene, becoming your go-to for groceries, work gear, or just about anything. Plus, they’re like a high-five to the planet – a reusable, sustainable alternative to those pesky plastic bags.

And the best part? You can jazz them up with cool designs, from event logos to artsy creations. With options like organic cotton and recycled materials, tote bags are the eco-warrior of swag box choices. They’re not just event accessories; they’re everyday reminders of a great experience!

6. Eco-friendly conference swag

6. Eco-friendly conference swag

One of our favorite designs, these sustainable corporate gift boxes for When I Work included amazing products from small businesses committed to eco-friendliness: 

  • Sustainably sourced and ethically made custom socks by Conscious Step, which donates a portion of every purchase to nonprofits
  • custom logo candle by Modern Sprout, with a ceramic candle vessel that transforms into a planter after the flame burns down (it even comes with seeds so you can reuse the planter to grow herbs and flowers!)
  • Two seed-bearing lollipops from Amborella Organics (After you finish the lollipop, you can plant the biodegradable stick in soil, cover with a layer of topsoil, water daily and grow an herb or flower!)
7. Practical conference swag ideas

7. Practical conference swag ideas

Practical gifts are always in style!

Keep your event attendees engaged and ready to take on the conference with useful gifts, such as:

8 Practical conference swag ideas

8. Swag for on-the-go attendees

Whether your attendees are local or taking a cross-country flight, travel gifts are always a great option. Some of our favorite travel items included branded luggage, custom luggage tags, and travel totes.

Check out this Away suitcase and custom luggage tag gift set the team at IAS put together. Also, note the tasteful branding efforts!

9. Energizing conference swag

9. Energizing conference swag

Conferences can be exhausting – new information, new people, the list goes on and on! 

Keep your attendees engaged and excited for the day (or days!) ahead with a caffeine-inspired gift set. 

Lessonly created a *buzz* about their virtual conference with these coffee-themed gifts! To invite attendees, they enticed them with locally roasted coffee and a branded mug to enjoy a cup of coffee during the event!

10. The snack conference swag box

10. The snack conference swag box

We saved the best for last. Who doesn’t love snacks?! Keep your attendees fueled all-day long with a snack themed swag kit. 

We’ve found that delicious treats are the top requested items for conference gifts!

Best Conference Swag Items

4 Ways to Give Conference Gifts

Now that you have ideas on what to give your attendees – when should you send the gifts?

Here are a few options!

1. Send Conference Gifts Before the Conference

Take a step back from the conference itself and put yourself in the shoes of the folks who are likely to attend. How can you make sure they’re stopping by YOUR booth? How can you get them excited about your product? How can you incentivize them to attend the conference in the first place? 

Consider sending a custom gift before the conference! That’s right — instead of being passive, be proactive in your approach. Make them want to come to the conference with a unique corporate gift. Pique their interest before they even meet/see/talk to you! 

2. Give Gifts During the Conference

Sometimes, it makes the most sense to give out gifts during the conference, like at your company booth or as a door gift for corporate events. Not only is it a thoughtful gesture, but it’s a great way to make a lasting impression!

3. Send a Gift After the Conference

What better way to WOW a prospective customer than to surprise them with a corporate gift box when they’re least expecting it — after the conference! This is a great opportunity to really stand out from the competition. 

You may be wondering, how are you supposed to get a gift in their hands after the conference? Great question! When they sign up to attend the event, make sure there’s a field where they can input their address (either residential or business – leave it up to them!) 

Or if you’re limited to collecting that kind of information at your conference booth, that works too — simply set up an iPad where folks can “check in” and they can add the information then.

4. Let Attendees Choose Their Own Gift

We know how much work goes into a successful conference. The planning, the logistics, the preparation — it’s a lot! And that’s without worrying about putting together conference swag boxes and gifts. But imagine a world in which:

  • Your company avoids overbuying a bunch of swag 
  • You don’t have to cart deal with shipping, storing, and carting around conference gifts 
  • Attendees are hands-free during the conference, making their experience more enjoyable 
  • You still get to WOW prospects with a stellar and unique corporate gift (but we handle all the logistics for you)
  • Swag waste has been officially reduced

Well, folks — no need for imagination — the future of gifting is here! Now, you can let attendees choose their own gift (before, during, or after the event) with our corporate gifting platform, which we call Gifting Portals.

Here’s how it works: At your conference or trade show booth, attendees simply scan a QR code that leads them to your company-branded Gifting Portal with selectable gifts. They choose their favorite gift, and it goes right to their door — all they do is enter their shipping address. 

We handle the rest! It’s truly a win-win for everyone!

Written by Molly Ledwith. Updated Feb. 2024.