by Morton D. Rosenbaum | October 01, 2004

goody bag illustrationEvent attendees are coming to understand what eight-year-olds on the birthday circuit have known all along: A party is only as much fun as its goody bag. With giveaways taking center stage, M&C asked New York City-based supplier Goody Bag Gifts ( how the planner with a small budget can meet attendees’ big expectations.

Solicit sponsors. Before buying anything, invite local companies to take advantage of a good PR opportunity by donating coupons or sample-size products.

Bag as billboard. Soften the expense of the bag itself by offering to brand it with the logo of an underwriting sponsor. 

Make it useful. Mundane products like post-it pads and pens get a bad rap, but attendees will actually use them. These items are the most affordable and the least likely to end up littering the exit. Other (relatively) inexpensive standbys: mints, lotions and badge holders.

Mix it up. Add an element of chance by saving pricier trinkets for every 10th bag or so. Be sure to notify attendees of the lottery-like arrangement, however, lest nine out of 10 feel swindled.