Remember the last time you attended a conference or trade show and how you stocked up on items such as tote bags, pens, and maybe even a hat or two? Event goodies are something that attendees look forward to. It is one of the perks of attending events in person. Even if you host an online event, you should give out some virtual event goodies.

Reasons to Offer Event Goodies, Raffles, and Prizes

In addition to being something attendees look forward to, there are a variety of benefits to offering something free to those who come to your event.

  • Gives you an opportunity to collect updated contact information that may have changed between when the person registered for your event and when he attends.
  • Spreads goodwill and a feeling that you care about whether the attendee gets value for their registration fee.
  • Allows vendors and keynote speakers an opportunity to get promotional products in front of your attendees. Win-win – presenter gets info in front of attendee/attendee gets free item.

Event Goodies, Raffles, or Prizes?

There are many different ways to get these items into the hands of your attendees.

Event Goodies Bag

One obvious way is to offer the traditional goody bag. This is typically a nice tote bag. The tote itself might promote your annual conference or events or even your business. Inside the bag are the promotional items being offered. The easiest thing to do is to pass the bag to the person when they stop in at the registration table. However, the smarter way to offer this bag is to give them a form to fill out with updated contact info and send them to a room to collect their bag.

Fill Your Own Bag

Another option that is often seen at writers’ conferences is the opportunity to fill your own goody bag. The way that this works is that the person is given a ticket when registering that gives them a time slot to go to the goody room.  He or she then goes to the room, is given a bag or a tote, and chooses items that are set out on a table. This is an easy way to get the goody bags filled if you are short on volunteers to pre-fill them. The drawback is that it takes more time. Someone must monitor the room. It also presents a challenge if an item isn’t very popular and not many people take that item.


Individual vendors and presenters often offer a raffle in order to gather attendee info for their own private mailing lists and email newsletters. The raffle prize could be almost anything. A gift basket, tickets to stay somewhere, freebies from the company, and so on. The idea is that the attendee fills out a form with his or her contact info and is then entered into a drawing for the prize. Although traditionally raffles involve buying tickets, it is a good idea to offer the raffle entry for free so you don’t run into issues with holding a lottery.


There are many ways to create some excitement and buzz and offer prizes for event visitors. For example, a vendor might host an on-the-spot contest where participants win prizes. This makes your display interactive and you can incorporate your product or service into the game.

What Goodies to Offer

There are so many different event goodies possibilities. Promotional printing companies offer products such as pens, pads of paper, tee shirts, and hats. You can pass out umbrellas, samples of your product, or literature (least popular). Try to find a product that:

  • Is somehow related to what you do or what product you offer. For example, if you run a luxury golf getaway resort, you might pass out golf balls with your brand name and website address.
  • Offers a reasonable price so the return on investment ratios are reasonable. You probably don’t want to spend $5 on every item if you are giving out $10,000 of them.
  • Is evergreen. If you don’t give all of the item away, can you take it to the next event?

For your next event, consider what items are related to your business or event and see what kind of response you receive from those who gain your freebies.