Schwag Bags: 3 Useful Things in this Year’s NCVS Tote Bag

Free stuff revealed.

Can’t make it to NCVS this week? Sorry you’ll be missing out on all the fun in New Orleans. But you don’t have to wonder what free stuff all the conference-goers are getting! Here, at last, is your guide to the tote bag items this year’s 3,500-plus attendees are getting.

It’s In the Bag, Baby
For starters, it’s a beautiful and functional bag, deep and easy to carry. It’s also easy to see, what with the big Target Corp. logo and familiar red color. Target has long been a strong and supportive partner of national and community service in the U.S.

So what’s inside the grab bag? Well, it’s a hodgepodge, I must say.

  • A children’s book from a global media company
  • An inspirational reader with a forward by a politician/athlete
  • A big plastic plastic-wrapped drinking cup with the logo of a familiar bank
  • A cool garden-in-a-can thing from a well-known private university.
  • A bookmark
  • A promo for a do-gooder contest sponsored by a cosmetics company

I found four things that stand out to me in this grab bag. (Well, three things: the program book for the conference doesn’t count:)

  • A flyer from Salesforce Foundation advertising their free software program for nonprofits. – I love this one. I’ve written before in this blog that my two favorite free software offerings for nonprofits (after VolunteerMatch, of course!) are Salesforce’s nonprofit offering and Google’s free Adwords grants. Hopefully some nonprofit folks see this and decide to take the plunge.
  • An ad for HandsOn Connect, the new CRM system for volunteer centers and HandsOn affiliates. – Ditto on this. I’m not with a volunteer center per se, but if I was I’d want to make sure my online referrals are being integrated into my organization’s overall constituent management system. I also know some of the folks who helped HandsOn develop this system, and I know they do good work.
  • A package of single serve instant coffee. – ‘Nuff said.

Three useful things are better than none. But I must say I’m a bit underwhelmed. There aren’t many chances to reach this many change leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit professionals. Every touch counts… even tote bags.

But then again I’m no conference organizer. What would you, dear readers, want to see in the ideal conference tote bag? Post your ideas here and I’ll share them with the conference organizers, the Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service.