There’s a lot that goes to waste at conferences.

Food, clothing, trinkets — you name it.

Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual user conference in San Francisco, attracts thousands of people from around the world. This year they expected over 170,000 people over five days — yes, you read that right.

Like any large-scale tech conference, Dreamforce’s expo saw Salesforce partners and sponsors show off their technologies in hopes of landing new customers.

What’s synonymous with an expo? Swag.

As you can imagine with a conference the size of Dreamforce, there’s a ton of swag that gets handed out to conference goers.

Knowing the amount of swag (i.e. t-shirts, pens, backpacks) that goes to waste at conferences and how well attended Dreamforce is every year, Datanyze reached out to Startups Give Back to co-organize a volunteering event where swag would be collected and donated to local nonprofits.


Even though this type of volunteering activity was uncharted waters for both organizations, we agreed on one thing: donating unwanted swag is better than it to going to waste.

Little did we know attendees felt the same way.


A challenge to conference organizers

It doesn’t take much effort to collect excess swag and donate it to a local nonprofit.

Whether it’s partnering with a third-party organization or having an internal team organize it, I challenge conference organizers to give attendees the opportunity to donate their unwanted swag. Not only is it a good idea, but they already want to.


Founder, Startups Give Back. Startup investor. Startup/nonprofit advisor.


  1. I think this is a great idea. I am looking for swag for an upcoming conference. Do you donate to non profit organizations?

    The Remarkable Women’s Conference is a 2 day event that empowers women by providing resources, nutrition and assistance. This is the 5th year (and going strong!) We would like some healthy snacks for the ladies. We are serving a vegan lunch.

    We can provide a 501c3 letter and any other documentation needed. We will also include your brand on the program if you supply us with a 300 dpi logo. Any other marketing materials such as business cards, coupons, magnets, t-shirts, brochures etc. will be displayed on it’s own table. Thank you so much for your consideration.
    Kerry Schrambeck
    2205 Oakleaf Lane
    Lake Villa, IL. 60046

    • Hi Kerry,

      We donated all the items we collect from Dreamforce (i.e. t-shirts) to a local San Francisco nonprofit that could put the items to good use (e.g. clothing for homeless). This was the motivation behind the event.

      Happy to help you incorporate the swag collecting idea if there’s interest.


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