May 28, 2019

How to create conference gifts that are impactful, sustainable and don't break the bank

Summer is here and so is the season of conferences. Whether you’re responsible for planning, operations or the in between details, executing impactful gifts for your attendees, sponsors and speakers can seem like a daunting task on top of it all. This is where we come in!

To keep your budget in check and leave a lasting impression on recipients, we wanted to share a few important guidelines.

1. Less branded swag, more durable, high quality products

More often than not, we see companies jam pack their conference gifts with branded swag and a few snack items. And while the intention is there, most recipients don’t need another branded pen (that doesn’t work great), notepad, or highly manufactured good that everyone already has. Sadly, more often than not, we see those items end up in the trash.

Wit & Delight Desktop Notepad

Wit & Delight Desktop Notepad

So how can you keep your brand in front of attendees without the waste? Think about investing in more high quality, reusable products. For example, this Wit & Delight notepad is a great alternative. It’s durable, celebrates a local artist and long lasting.

Convince decision makers that this kind of product makes a bigger impact - the likelihood that someone using this over a branded flimsy notepad is much greater, increasing the chance that your brand will stand the test of time in their memory.

2. Reusable vessel

As we all try to be more eco-friendly, this guideline is a no-brainer. Not only is a reusable gift vessel better for our planet, but it’s also a great way to spread your brand name. For conference gifts, we usually suggest a canvas tote. That way attendees can easily carry their gift and add any extra marketing materials to the tote they may pick up along the way.

3. Create a plan and trust your gut

We’re always flexible here at M&P and can definitely roll with the punches when it comes to project changes on the client side. However, sometimes when your in doubt it’s best to let go of the fears and trust your gut (and the professionals - we’re here to help you!)

We know investing into more artist driven gift can be scary when you may be used to a jam packed gift basket wrapped in cellophane but trust us in that your audience will appreciate the care and thoughtfulness of a meaningful gift much more. The best way to follow through on your initial ideas is to establish a set plan at the beginning project and stick with it throughout the entire timeline.

4. Intentional, subtle branding

Adding subtle branding to your gift can enhance the overall look, feel and keep your company name front of mind. For conferences, we usually recommend branding the canvas tote with your logo. If you want to avoid altering the vessel, a customized card with your company's logo and a simple message can add a nice personal touch without significantly affecting the total price.

One type of branding we suggest avoiding is too much branding. Plastering your logo over every item and vessel tends to look cheesy and takes away from the artistry. Plus, as we mentioned, there’s a lower likelihood someone will use your products if you’re logo is all over it.

North Central University Mugs

North Central University Mugs

Minnesota Vikings Coasters

Minnesota Vikings Coasters


Have an upcoming conference you need unique + impactful gifts for? Our team wants to help. At Minny & Paul, we handle it all in house from our studio in NE Minneapolis. We design the gift, source products, package and ship. Learn more about the process here or reach out to us at