Swagging for Good

I LOVE swag.  Who doesn’t?  It’s free. It’s usually fun. And did I mention it’s free?

But I wonder if I’ve let it get out of control.

I know, I know.  This coming from a woman who gave away a GINORMOUS swag bag at the KidzVuz event we held with The Big Toy Book at BlogHer 11 last weekend in San Diego..

And I got plenty o’swag too.  From little cute things, like a strawberry shaped re-usable shopping bag from Shari’s Berries (which I love), to the Sinusense sinus cleaner-outer thing  from Waterpik that I’m hoping will help out my perpetually clogged daughter, to cool stick-ums from 3M that will let my daughter keep her Glee wall without messing up my paint job, to the holy-crap this stuff actually works Eye Know Eye cream from Mama Mio.  Which, I will gladly pay for when it runs out…because it’s just that good.

I won an absolutely gorgeous Stella and Dot necklace at the MomTrends Fashion File party. And since I never win anything, I then spent the rest of the evening annoyingly showing it off to total strangers.  The Redakai cards I got for my son (from my own party!) are sure to be a hit, and the Shanesware jewelry will thrill my daughter. I swear that my Oscillococcsinum samples from last year’s BlogHer saved me from a house full of sickies over the winter.  And you can bet I took more this year. I got geekily excited over a power strip  and a etyomic Blue Tooth head set from Clever Girls. And I’ve already bought Sabra Hummus and Stacey’s chips with my coupons. Seriously.

I honestly don’t know if I could list all the stuff I got at BlogHer.

And I love it all .  And I’ll use it all.  And I’ll write more about it (especially that eye-cream, since it also comes with facial exercise routine (seriously!) that I’ll have to try and get back to you on.)

But here’s the thing: It’s kind of  excessive, and a bit…icky.  I feel a little cheap. And I wonder if there’s a way to cut down on the swag, and turn it into charity.

Here’s my thought: give bloggers the choice – take the stuff you really want, and for the stuff you don’t want, click on an app (an app that only exists in my mind, but a girl can dream, can’t she?), and have the company donate $.50 per click to charity instead of giving you the swag. Hopefully, it’ll be a charity for women in need.  Companies can set a limit. They don’t have to donate much.  But think of all the companies, and all the swag, and all the things you might not take if you knew that if you didn’t, money would go to charity.

There would still be swag.  You’d still get stuff you really want or need — and not just the stuff you took because it was there…and free.  And think: if each of the 3600 women at BlogHer left just four things behind, we could generate $7200 dollars for a worthy cause.

Sponsors would still get their products out there (and a tax deduction) but instead of getting home, opening your bag and thinking – why did I schlepp this across the country?  You could think: I made a difference in someone’s life.

And that might be the best swag of all.


  1. says

    I echo your thoughts (except for the eye cream; bummed I didn’t get any of that). Swag is, but can get excessive. I appreciate that at least BlogHer had the swag recycling suite where bloggers could drop off things they didn’t want and possibly pick up something they do, a la one gals trash is another treasure. I know I’ve left plenty of cool items behind for the housekeeping staff in my day.

    I’d love to see swag used for good.

    • says

      Kim, I’m glad you mentioned the swag recycle suite — I should have mentioned it in the post. That is definitely a great start towards making the swag-fest more palatable – and towards making it have real value to those who get it.

    • says

      Yeah, that really is the big question, right? I suppose if enough people hear about the idea?….But I also think it’s complicated – brands want their products used and posted about – that’s why they give them to us. Plus, many companies already have charities they support.
      I didn’t say it would be easy…but I still think it could happen.

  2. says

    I love this idea. I gave so much of my swag away to my roommates or friends this year,who had children in a certain age range, or who could appreciate something more than I could. The swag exchange room is great–except that sadly the hoarders or vultures were there too. Just grabbing stuff.

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