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Swag Bag Ideas for Your Nonprofit, Club, or Association—On Any Budget!

Author: Sonia Urlando
June 15, 2023
🕑 13 min read

Whether you’re hosting an event, raising awareness for your mission or just thanking your members, swag bags are a great way to give back to your supporters and create unforgettable buzz for your brand.

Swag is great for events large and small, raffles, and giveaways. It can take many forms—from inexpensive to luxury! Read on for swag ideas for any budget, including tips for when to provide swag and the best ways to offer swag with staying power.

What is a Swag Bag?

Swag is short for Stuff We All Get. Think of swag bags like goodie bags for grown-ups: a way to show your appreciation to your supporters, or for people to remember your organization by. 

Swag can be simple or extravagant—anything carrying your organization’s name or message counts, whether or not you offer it in a bag! No matter what form your swag takes, it should ideally be:

  • Branded. Whether you’re offering tote bags, gift cards, or snacks, recipients should be able to tell at a glance who gave them the gift.
  • Useful. A gift card to a small business located only in your hometown may not be suitable swag if your organization has lots of remote members.
  • Targeted. Your swag of choice should reflect your organization’s mission. A branded baseball might be great swag for a sports club, but makes less sense for a literacy nonprofit.
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The Purpose of Swag

Swag is part thank-you gift, part marketing. It’s a way to give back to your supporters—your organization’s clientele, donors, volunteers or members. And it ensures they have a memento to remember you by!

Here are just a few ways swag bags can play a contributing role in developing your club, nonprofit, or association’s mission:

Raising Brand Awareness

You’ve worked hard to set up your organization’s brand; now it’s time to put it to work. Sending out branded swag is a great way to spread word of your organization and its mission. 

Strengthening Relationships

From establishing good donor stewardship to honoring your volunteers, swag can help bolster any relationship. Couple a thank-you letter with a branded memento to ensure supporters feel appreciated—and invoke fond memories every time they reach for your organization’s swag.

Attracting Attention and Supporters

Draw your intended audience closer with goodies. Incorporate some custom flashiness to your swag for added interest. For example, you could brand snack varieties uncommon in your region, or offer a flash drive that changes colors when it’s plugged in.

Helping Meet Fundraising Goals

Swag bags make great donation rewards. High-value swag can attract donors by itself, while tiered rewards can encourage higher average donations. Some ideas for how to make swag part of your fundraising campaign include: 

  • Prizes for contests. If your fundraising event features a contest, challenge, or raffle, throwing a swag bag in may even encourage entries.
  • Tiered donation incentives. This can work especially well if you have the budget for fancier swag, even on a limited basis: offer higher-tier items for higher-tier donations.
  • Rewards for monthly giving programs. Whether you’re trying to attract new regular donors or convince current donors to renew, sending them an exclusive gift may help sweeten the deal.

What’s in a Typical Swag Bag?

Despite the name, swag doesn’t have to be packaged in bags—but it can be! Other packaging you can use are  boxes, backpacks, gift bags, tote bags, envelopes, emails or any way you imagine!

The swag you offer should be relevant to your organization’s mission and targeted to your intended audience. Depending on your organization, you might offer:

  1. Clothing: Branded t-shirts, hats, and socks are not only practical, they’re also great marketing aids.
  2. Receptacles: Water bottles or tumblers will get used again and again.
  3. Crafts / Fibre Arts: Think tote bags, customized tea towels, or macrame plant hangers.
  4. Stationery: Notebooks, notepads, pens, and highlighters are incredibly useful—and might be good ways to get your brand into workplaces.
  5. Food: Snacks, candies, juice boxes, and granola bars might not last long, but they build good will in a hurry… especially among the hangry.
  6. Sports Equipment: Baseballs, shin pads, or even sneakers could be high-value gifts for the right organization.
  7. Pet Accessories: These are particularly great for animal or environmental rights groups.
  8. Athletic Accessories: These could be simple items like resistance bands and sweatbands, to high-value items like workout trackers and branded FitBits. 
  9. Cosmetics: Branded lip balm, hand cream, and sanitizer are both useful and soothing.
  10. Visuals: Stickers, pins, stamps, patches, and magnets are marketing classics for a reason.
  11. Ceramics: Mugs and bowls are high-value prizes that can be easily customized to winners of a prize.
  12. Technology: USB sticks and pen lights never go out of style.
  13. Tech Accessories: From phone charms to laptop cases, tech accessories are useful to everyone.
  14. Gift Cards, Discounts, and Coupons: These are great options for in-person or online distribution.
  15. Memberships: Another great online option, offering membership to a different relevant organization for free or at a discount could be enticing for the right audience.

These are just a few ideas to put in your goody bags. If you’re having trouble narrowing down what kind of swag you want to offer, keep reading for swag bag ideas for clubs and events at any budget.

Swag Bag Ideas for Clubs

The best swag for clubs speaks to the club’s shared interests. Customize your swag to your club’s activities to deliver high-value gifts and rewards your members will treasure. 

We’ve compiled a few gift bag ideas for different kinds of clubs below. If your club’s not covered here, don’t despair—use these ideas in your own brainstorming!

1. Sports Clubs

Whether you play casual volleyball on Wednesday evenings, golf for twelve hours on weekends, or compete in a league team, sports equipment creates incredible swag bag opportunities. Depending on the sport and the intensity of your group, you could offer:

  • Sunscreen / lip balm / moisturizer ($). Take care of your players!
  • Voucher for next season’s participation ($). Reward repeat membership by offering a discount to returning members.
  • Water bottles ($-$$). You could also include electrolyte boosters.
  • Branded / customized balls ($-$$). These can be for playing or memorabilia.
  • Athletic accessories ($-$$$). This could be as simple as shoelaces, as practical as a yoga mat, and as complex as branded Fitbits. 
  • Clothing ($$-$$$). For in-sport clothes, think golf shirts, visors, baseball gloves, or basketball shorts. Leisure wear could also be great.

2. Gardening and Nature Clubs

Whether you’re an association of balcony gardeners, natural rewilders, or enthusiastic birdwaters, environmental care always benefits from support. Consider sending out:

  • Seed packets ($). For bonus points, make sure the seeds are for plants indigenous to your region.
  • Plant hangers ($). Commission a talented member to make these for added value!
  • Workshop vouchers ($-$$). Beginning gardeners planting their first tomatoes and seasoned rewilders alike might benefit from a biodiversity workshop.
  • Gardening accessories ($-$$). From plastic starter pots to gardening gloves, any gardener will appreciate more tools.
  • Guidebooks on local flora or fauna ($$). Learning about local birds, flowers, trees, and insects is sure to delight the local gardener.
  • Composting assistance ($$-$$$). Whether installing composters in people’s backyards or incorporating manure into garden soil, gardeners at any level might benefit from this service.
  • Specialized equipment ($$-$$$). Engraved trowels, tillers, or specialized binoculars may be welcome.

3. Book Clubs

Maybe the book lovers in your life love the feel and smell of a hardcover in their hands; or maybe they’re digital and audiobook stans. Here are some swag suggestions for readers of all stripes:

  • Bookmarks ($). Simple, practical, and easily branded.
  • Book charms ($-$$). Jazz up bookmarking with colorful gems.
  • Quality book jackets ($$). Protect precious covers for readers on the go.
  • Ereader covers ($$). Extra points for customizability!
  • Book box subscription ($$). Give them more of what they love!
  • Headphones or earbuds ($$-$$$). Spring for bluetooth functionality for added value.

4. Outdoors Clubs

From hikers to snowmobilers, outdoors enthusiasts are always in need of new equipment. Try offering adventurers:

  • Snacks ($). Granola bars and trail mix could be a big hit!
  • Key chains ($). These can be purely aesthetic or more functional, like pen lights and location trackers.
  • Fitness accessories ($-$$). Bike lights, sweat bands, or running gel may be welcome.
  • Water bottles ($-$$). For added value, give one that’s insulated, clips onto a backpack, or fits into a specialized holder.
  • Emergency aid ($-$$). Bear spray, bandaids, or mini first aid kits could get anyone out of a tough spot.
  • Clothing ($$-$$$). From as simple as hiking socks to as complex as waterproof windbreakers.
  • Specialized equipment ($$-$$$). Cavers, mountain bikers, and triathletes might benefit from more targeted support.

5. Bonus Ideas!

No matter why your members have come together, these are highly customizable ideas for any club:

  • Stickers, pins, and patches ($). These are especially great for hobby-based clubs. People want to show off their passions!
  • Pens ($). Everybody needs a pen!
  • Face masks and sanitizer ($). For the health-conscious.
  • Tech accessories and cable organizers ($-$$). From cable organizers to USB sticks.
  • T-shirts or tote bags ($-$$). Functional and good marketing.
  • Playing cards or games ($-$$). Everyone needs to kill a little time.
  • Targeted gift cards ($-$$$). Whether physical or digital, odds are that you know where your members like to shop.

Swag Bag Ideas for Events

Whether for clubs, associations, nonprofits, or other organizations, events are an ideal time to hand out tote bags full of goodies to supporters. Attendees will remember the experience of the event every time they make use of your swag—and vice versa.

We’ve come up with swag ideas for a few different kinds of events below. Use these ideas when planning your event and come up with your ideal set of goodies!

New to event planning? Check out our article: 43 Event Management Software Tools You Need to Know About, for tips on making event planning a breeze.

1. Conferences

Conferences are ideal places to get word out about your organization. Attract prospective supporters with flashy, customized swag—then send them away with your organization’s branded merch.

Swag bag ideas custom-suited for conferences include:

  • Stationery suites ($). Never are notebooks, pens, post-its, and highlighters more useful than at conferences. Give attendees the tools they need to learn! Make this kit flashier with unusual post-it and highlighter colors.
  • Gourmet coffee kits ($-$$$). Send conference-goers home with a little morning joy. This can be as simple as a collection of different coffee packets from a local roaster or as complex as a pour-over setup.
  • Cafe or restaurant gift cards ($-$$$). Make networking a little easier by offering lunch, dinner, or the all-important morning coffee on you.
  • Spa days or skincare kits ($-$$$). Attendees might appreciate a little relaxation after a work-heavy conference. From at-home facial kits to gift cards to prestige skincare packages, these kits are great for encouraging self-care.
  • Tech suites ($$-$$$). These can include cord organizers, charging ports, adapters, phone and laptop cases, or even noise-canceling headphones for the jetsetting conference-goer.

2. Galas (Formal Events)

It can be hard to come up with replicable swag ideas that feel appropriate for fancier events like galas. Don’t fret—there are great goody bag options available for any budget. Send your gala-goers home with:

  • Photography package discounts ($-$$). Hire professional photographers to float around the gala taking pictures of attendees looking their best, then post the photos online and offer print packages for the photos of their choice.
  • Skin care and relaxation kits ($-$$$). Gala-goers may appreciate lip balms (especially if lipstick wears off at dinner!), foot scrubs, at-home facial kits, or bath bombs. For upscale events, partner with a local spa and offer spa days or massages.
  • Themed bundles / baskets ($-$$$). These can be ingredient baskets for a complete meal, or event-based baskets for a day at the beach or a picnic in the park. Put together a coffee bundle for coffee enthusiasts, or an organic bundle for the environmentalist.
  • Local tourism packets ($$-$$$). Partner with local tour companies for an unforgettable day learning about an important landmark in your area (bonus points if it’s relevant to your mission)! You could also throw in a night at a local B&B or other romantic getaway.

3. Outdoor Events

Whether you’re hosting a walk/run event or a festival outdoors, send your attendees home with swag that reflects your event—and takes care of your supporters. Here are a few ideas to say thanks to attendees of your outdoor event:

  • Fun in the sun package ($). This basic goodie bag could include kits for making lemonade, baseball caps, and sunscreen. For family-friendly events, include kids’ toys like skipping ropes and bouncy balls.
  • Self-care package ($-$$). This can include manicure/pedicure materials, foot peels, moisturizers, lip balms, or bath bombs. This package is especially great for athletic fundraisers like walks, runs, or triathlons.
  • Day at the beach package ($-$$). Give attendees another great day in the sun! Beach packages could be as simple as sunscreen and blow-up beach balls, or as customized and detailed as beach blankets and umbrellas.
  • Sports accessory package ($-$$). Depending on your organization, you could send home attendees with baseball gloves, bicycle accessories, jerseys, or headbands.
  • Hiker’s paradise package ($-$$$). Provide maps of local trails, mosquito repellant, water bottles, fanny packs, and thick hiking socks. For more advanced athletes, you could include more advanced items like wind-breakers and wicking shirts.

Like these swag ideas but not sure how to start? Ask local organizations to partner or even sponsor your event to help you stock your goodie bag and build up mutual good will.

Virtual Swag Bags

We’ve mentioned that swag bags don’t have to be physical—digital swag works just as well. Without a physical bag to fill, though, it can be hard to know what to offer your supporters. Here are just a few ideas for relevant and high-value digital swag:


  • Gift cards. Customize these to your organization’s mission. If your supporters are interested in you, what else interests them?
  • Tickets / memberships (free or discounted). Partner with a local organization and give your supporters a memorable and/or long-lasting experience.
  • Software license (free or discounted). With so much software moving to monthly pricing models, these subscriptions may offer considerable value.
    • Virtual workshops. Whether free, discounted, or exclusive, an evening or a month spent learning a new skill holds a lot of value.
  • Exclusive content. Ebooks, podcasts, or video seminars could offer considerable educational and entertainment value.

Cheap Swag Bags

If you like the idea of offering rewards but are concerned about your budget, not to worry—swag bags don’t have to be expensive to be effective! Here are some tips for offering swag on limited budgets:

  • Add value with customization. Offer your inexpensive swag with a creative twist to impress recipients. Think of a fidget spinner that lights up, reflective stickers, or a Livestrong bracelet with a custom slogan.
  • Seek sponsorships and in-kind donations. In-kind donations—that is, non-cash donations—can be great ways to get your hands on great merchandise on a low budget. A sports club could approach a well-known sports equipment provider, for example.
  • It’s enough to be practical and relevant. Don’t get too caught up in flashy gift ideas. Your birdwatchers society may be as happy with bird-themed fridge magnets as binoculars.

Still short on inexpensive swag bag ideas? Check out these ideas and get brainstorming:

  • Calendars. Ask a photographer you know and someone handy with image software to volunteer for a good cause. You’ll have a unique, exclusive item to send out, all for the cost of printing!
  • Pins. Easy to design, easy to craft, and infinitely replicable, pins are highly customizable and require little investment upfront. Buy the pinmaker yourself to make as many pins as you need on an ongoing basis.
  • Workshops and seminars. These can be as simple as asking your membership to run workshops on an area of their expertise and hosting them online. Facilitators may even volunteer their time!
  • Bookmarks. Another great, easily replicable, practical item, just for the cost of printing. They’ll last longer than a business card!
  • Discounts and coupons. Partner with local businesses or offer discounts on your own organization’s services or membership for the ultimate low-investment offer.

Luxury Swag Bags

When coming up with swag ideas, it may seem strange to thank your highest donors with your basic swag fare. A more luxurious, effortful thank-you may offer particular value to these donors—and seem commensurate with their support.

When coming up with luxury offerings, you may want to ask yourself:

  • Is it exclusive? Using language like “the first 50 people to donate $X will receive…” may incentivize higher donation values.
  • Does it reflect our organization? It may not be appropriate for a food security organization to spend lots of money giving back to donors, but a more complex thank-you may offer heightened value.
  • Is it unique? What sets your swag offering apart?
  • Is the investment offset by ticket prices? It might initially feel strange to consider different swag tiers, but if you’re selling tiered tickets to events, luxury swag could incentivize people to buy those higher-priced tickets.

In case you’re still stuck brainstorming, here are a few ideas for luxury swag offerings:

  • Themed food baskets. Try a “Picnic in the Woods” basket with local foods, an artisan blanket, and branded hats.
  • Test drive a luxury car. Approach a local dealership for partnership opportunities and offer the car enthusiasts an unforgettable afternoon.
  • B&B staycation. Contact a local bed & breakfast and ask about their most luxurious room package for an evening or weekend.
  • Adventurer’s bundle / treasure hunt. Send out backpacks with compasses, maps, and even branded hiking gear to give them an afternoon in the wilderness they won’t forget.
  • Tech bundle. This could include luxury earphones, wireless speakers, charging banks, cameras, high-end adapters, or even tech watches.

Remember that luxury may not need to translate to expensive. Luxury can be something intricate, with a lot of thought put into it. Giving recipients something they might not get anywhere else might be the greatest luxury of all!

Most Importantly—Have Fun!

To distill it down to a simple rule to follow: if you’re excited by what’s in the swag bag, your recipients will probably be too!

Whether big or small, your swag bag is guaranteed to make someone’s day—and give people something to remember you by. Swag that is customized, targeted, and reflective of your organization tells your supporters you not only appreciate them, but that you’re well worthy of their support.

Enjoy assembling your wonderful swag bag!

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