Making Some Social Good Out of Coronavirus Canceled Conferences & Events  - Good360

Making Some Social Good Out of Coronavirus Canceled Conferences & Events 

Cancel everything.

That’s one of the trending hashtags in the age of coronavirus and one of the most visible repercussions of the current global health crisis.

In an attempt to slow the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of events across the country and around the world have been shuttered or postponed. Included in this growing list are some of the biggest gatherings all year, including South by Southwest, Coachella Music Festival, New York International Auto Show, Natural Products Expo West, and many technology and business conferences. Additionally, the NCAA canceled its March Madness tournament, and the NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended.

According to this tracker maintained by Forbes, at least 25.5 million attendees have been affected worldwide by coronavirus-related cancellations. 

But all is not lost. There’s one way to generate some good out of this dire situation: Consider donating any unused product samples, and needed items like apparel, tote bags, and office supplies to Good360.

As the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, Good360 can ensure that your in-kind donations get into the hands of carefully vetted nonprofits and charities, and distributed directly to people in need. Our network of more than 90,000 nonprofit organizations, schools and churches serves a huge range of vulnerable communities, from homeless youth to veterans to cancer survivors.

Here are some ideas for how we can together give excess product from canceled events a second, useful life:

Branded apparel: Conferences typically produce t-shirts, hats and hoodies emblazoned with the name of the event to give out to attendees, volunteers and staff. These can now go to people in need who may be struggling to buy new clothes for their families.

Pens, notebooks and other office supplies: Many conferences feature rows and rows of booths, many laden with freebies like pens, Post-It notes, USB flash drives and the like. These kinds of supplies can be quite useful for nonprofit organizations that usually operate on slim budgets. The less money that they spend on office equipment and supplies to run their operations, the more they can put toward direct assistance that helps their communities.

Personal care items: Hand sanitizer has been a popular item in the conference goodie bag for years now. Who could have predicted that it would be the most hoarded item in 2020? Those bottles of hand sanitizer can now help many people, especially the elderly, stay infection-free. Other personal care items that would be useful for nonprofits are hand lotion, wipes, lip balm and sunscreen.

Kitchenware: Who hasn’t picked up a travel mug or water bottle at a conference? Those items can now find a second life in the kitchen or home of a family in need. Good360 also works with many organizations that serve and house vulnerable populations, such as at-risk and homeless youth, people suffering from drug addictions and mental illness, and domestic abuse survivors.

Other useful items we would gladly accept and distribute to our nonprofit network:

  • Tote bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlights
  • Umbrellas
  • Product display samples such as furniture, kitchen items, bedding, linens and similar

What we don’t take: However, there are many items from your canceled event that we won’t be able to accept. These include:

  • Food
  • Tchotchkes (paperweights, stress balls, keychains)
  • Magnets
  • Bottle openers
  • Mobile phone accessories
  • Name tags
  • Lanyards
  • Calendars
  • Display booth components
  • Brochures/handouts

Unfortunately, a quick end to the coronavirus crisis doesn’t seem likely. We may see many more cancellations of conferences and events to occur over the next days and weeks. 

By partnering with Good360, you can create some social good out of a bad situation, helping numerous nonprofit organizations to serve communities in need around the country as well as possibly diverting unusable product from landfills. Your in-kind donations could also help charities withstand the effects of any economic downturn to come as a result of the pandemic.

To find out more about how your organization can donate to Good360, visit

Shari Rudolph

Shari Rudolph is Chief Development Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Good360. She is an accomplished retail, digital commerce hand media executive with a strong track record of building audiences, revenue, and brands. Shari’s previous experience includes management consulting as well as various executive and leadership roles at both start-ups and large media and retail e-commerce companies in Southern California, New York, and Silicon Valley. She is also an adjunct professor teaching marketing, advertising, and entrepreneurial studies classes. She earned her MBA from The Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.