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Of the 634 people who held an orange Lego brick in their hand yesterday, 531 of them cared enough to give it back.

Those 531 people made a conscious decision to make sure it got to the right place. They decided that making a quick detour to our Canterbury Tech Summit booth was worth it.

This year, Summit-goers showed us we were right to put our faith in people. In the end, 84% of attendees decided to do the right thing.

For those who don’t know, at the Tech Summit this year (just like last year), we opted out of swag bags, and opted in to giving.

Here’s how it works

  1. Media Suite chose three charitable causes to support, and left it up to Summit-goers to decide which they felt was the worthiest of our donation.
  2. Summit-goers received a Lego brick on their arrival and registration at the event.
  3. They were asked to swing past the Media Suite booth and decide which worthy cause deserved $10, to be donated by Media Suite on their behalf. No sign up or email address required, nothing to sell you while you’re there, and no obligation to interact beyond sticking your brick to someone else’s.
  4. Summit-goers came to our booth and chose one of the three charities to support.
  5. At the end of the day, we counted up the number of Lego bricks given to each charity, and multiplied that number by $10 per brick.

Media Suite will be making donations to the total value of $5,310 – representing the 531 bricks returned.

Ministry of Inspiration: $1210 (121 bricks)

Code Club Aotearoa: $2050 (205 bricks)

The Champion Centre: $2050 (205 bricks)

The final sculptures created by all our amazing donors.

Here’s what we were asked on the day:

Why do you do this?

Because doing something good seemed like a really good alternative to handing out branded pens. Because it’s money better spent. Because our team really loves to get behind good causes.

What’s in it for Media Suite? 

We get the good buzz from being able to donate $5,310 to causes we think are awesome, and know we used our swag bag budget to make a tiny difference to some kids who could really use it.

Loving sharing the love.

Do you really donate the $10 for every brick? 

Absolutely. Every single brick was counted, and every penny will go exactly where you intended.

What’s the feedback like on this idea?

We think the 84% says it all. Almost every person who voted, took the time to read the material we supplied on each charity, and listen to us talk about these awesome causes. They made an informed choice, and invested a few minutes of their day making sure their brick went to the charity they felt was most deserving. That’s all the feedback we will ever ask for.

Almost everyone made an informed choice.

Does the Tech Summit support this idea?

The Summit organisers are hugely supportive of our project. This year, they set us up with a table right by the entrance to ensure every attendee received their brick in their hand, and it didn’t get lost in their swag bag (a big logistics issue from last year). They set up a notification on the event app as a reminder to cast your vote, and the MC was kind enough to give a final prompt before closing address. Their support is a big factor in our success and one of the reasons why we can donate $5,310 this year, compared to $2070 last year.

How’d you come up with the idea?

In 2017, we thought about a lot of ideas for items that people would want in their conference swag bag. We did a lot of research on providing value. Then, after all that, we decided we couldn’t really provide value by adding some more stuff to the bag.

Someone (we forget who) suggested we should just take the money we would’ve spent on branded swag, and give it to charity. Then the question became, which charity? Our team had a lot of ideas. But what we really wanted, was to engage with Summit-goers. We could easily make a donation to a great cause, but wouldn’t it be great if Summit-goers could choose?

We decided to choose three charities up front, then ask everyone to vote. But, we didn’t want any of our three causes to miss out. So we decided a vote would have a monetary value, and every vote would add up to a total donation.

Next, we settled on Lego as a voting chip – because it’s recognisable, it’s fun, and it lines up perfectly with Media Suite’s primary goal – building the right thing.

From there, the idea took off! Last year, only 207 people gave us their brick and picked their favourite charity. That’s 34% of Summit-goers. This year, we’re at 84%.


Next year?

Well, that’s up to you.



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