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.

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7 thoughts on “Schwag Bags: 3 Useful Things in this Year’s NCVS Tote Bag

  1. FYI: Schwag is low-grade marijuana. Swag is a promotional item. Now, based on the low quality of the swag contained within the NCVS swag bags, you may argue it was a bag of schwag swag. But if your intent was not to make a casual drug reference, you may wish to amend the title of this post. :)

  2. I would like to know where in Philadelphia Penna. I can volunteer for diaster relief/or some where in the Delaware county

  3. Coincidentally, I just discovered that a key resource for young people had disappeared from our local volunteer center’s website. If anyone had a handbook (on a flash drive) targeting young people about to try service for the first time, I’d consider that the pot o’ gold in my bag of swag. A quick search brought up lots of individual orgs. guidelines for working with teens, but very little is available underscoring the importance of complete sentences in a written form, eye contact in a meeting, and tone of voice on the phone. How to handle yourself when there’s a lull in activity. What to do if you’re sick, late, injured…if there’s a family challenge or conflict…how to self-advocate if you would benefit from special accommodation of any kind. Volunteering IS different from a paid job – why not show how they are similar, and when they diverge. (ie you might want to ask for a raise at your job, but here’s why it’s not okay to ask for $$ at your service site) I’d become the Joanie Appleseed for that particular resource and spread it far and wide.
    Yup – since you’ve asked – that’s what *I’d* be looking for from one of the most expensive volunteer-related conferences in the country!

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