After reading the blog post of Heidi Thorne of Promo with Purpose Today about Promotional Tradeshow Lanyards - How to save money and go green, I was inspired to write one of my own which I think (hope) complements it.
The badgeholder and lanyard....they are simply a given for conferences and events. We have come a long way in greening that industry with lanyards made from recycled pop bottles and badgeholders made from corn, but how can we take this one step further? Heidi talks about asking attendee's to give back their badgeholders at the end of the event. Some relinquish theirs without even asking, others seem to want to hold onto them. What can we do to encourage more attendee's to hand theirs back which ultimately addresses the first and second "R" - Reduce and Reuse (we can use them again at the next event).
Trade the attendee something for their lanyard! At one of my events I asked the caterer to bring in freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when there were only 10 minutes remaining to the event. The smell was heavenly and everyone's mouth was watering. Standing at the exit, our staff "exchanged" or "traded" a cookie for a badgeholder and lanyard. We got over 80% back!
Have a draw! Advertise throughout the event that there will be a draw from those who hand in their badgeholders/lanyards. At the exit, have containers clearly marked for that purpose. We have given away such things as an IPOD, but wouldn't a Kindle be great!
Heidi was right about being fairly generic with the lettering on the lanyard. That way, you can reuse it at any future event.
If you have personally collected a number of badgeholders and lanyards when attending conferences and events, give them away to non-profit groups in your community to use for their smaller events. They often need badgeholders for support groups and seminars.