Tag: epromos

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Trend Alert: Best Promotional Items, Giveaways and Swag for 2017


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Recently, our staff from ePromos attended the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo in Las Vegas. We had our eyes peeled for emerging trends and innovations in custom logo merchandise. This includes identifying the best-of-the-best products, and new decoration methods to help our customers’ brand look amazing and be effective with their marketing spend. ePromos helped you find the best promotional items in 2016 – now check out our top ten trends in promotional products for 2017 below!

1. Retail Appeal – Products Plucked from the Store Shelf

It’s referred to as the “retail effect”: the products you see on the shelves when you go shopping are now available as promotional products. Not only will you find popular brand names at ePromos, you’ll also find lower priced retail lookalikes that may better fit your budget. To garner more brand awareness, look to this latest trend. Retail-related products have a high perceived value and quality — and the quality of your product has never been more important. Even better, you can add to your logo to put your personal, unique touch on it. Take it one step further with retail packaging, which is a practical way to get more eyes on your logo! Aesthetically pleasing packaging will increase the perceived value of the gift you are giving.

 

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2. Refined Look of Copper

One of the biggest trends right now is copper. Try promotional products made entirely out of copper, or with copper accents and lining that adds to the performance of products. Copper used in drinkware adds insulation for extended thermal retention, keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for longer. Brand names to look for using the insulation qualities of copper are Grizzly®, and Pelican®. For the tasteful look of copper, check out our Copper Moscow Mule Mug, Copper-Insulated Tumbler to enhance the aesthetic of your at-home bar. Your customers will love Copper-Colored Water Bottles, which are a stylish piece to tote around the gym or town on a hot summer day. These trends are likely to remain for their fabulous look, their ability to fit any budget and their functionality.

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3. Matte Finish Credibility

Not all that glitters is gold! Look for products that have this aesthetic — sometimes called powder coated. It’s an elegant, soft matte look that everyone is loving! This look is a new trend in promotional products, and an original idea that will help you successfully promote your brand. A powder finish absorbs light rather than reflecting it, so this finish reduces highlights and you can see more of the branding. Customers with discerning taste will appreciate these items because with a powder polish, you get the appeal of a different texture. Many hot promotional items are getting a makeover with this trendy appearance.

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4. Bluetooth Earbuds Make Great Corporate Gifts

Today everyone is connected and dependent on gadgets, continually upgrading to current technology. That’s why useful technology products remain on our Top 10 list, especially Bluetooth-enabled products. Wireless earbuds allow the recipient to listen to their favorite music, book or podcast with cord-free convenience. Some features our collection of Bluetooth earbuds include: hours of playback time, volume control, built-in microphone, power switch, charging cable and earbuds easily pair with another device. Some of the best corporate gifts are ones that recipients can use both inside and outside of the office. New gear and gadgets are a valuable product that recipients will appreciate for a long time, keeping your brand on hand every day.

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5. Outdoor Inspired Promos

Some of the best giveaways are when you keep your client, customer or employee’s personal interests in mind. For nature lovers and adventurers that often head outdoors, gift promo products that fit well into a rugged environment. Even products that simply remind one of the great outdoors are slated to be extremely popular in 2017, as they were showcased at the Expo. If your customers and employees lean more toward the rugged side of recreation, you can effectively advertise to those enjoying activities and relaxation that are a bit more robust. Fishing excursions, field days, team building expeditions, camping and boat shows, sporting games and more are perfect events to reach those individuals with a passion for the outdoors. Forget your run-of-the-mill standard promo items – outdoor gear are unique corporate gifts that will be sure to impress. Gear up the people you most appreciate with binoculars, coolers, survival products, chairs, picnic blankets and more.

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6. Go for Full-Color Full-Wrap Printing for One of the Best Promotional Giveaways

Endless printing will spice up your marketing efforts. To wonderfully represent your brand, try the newest way to create stunning full-color images that wrap 365 degrees around your product. The illusion created is that the image has no beginning and no end. ePromos offers this unique option, so you can design your promotional products with artwork that wraps around the entire cylinder-shape of tumblers, bottles, glasses and more. Full-wrap printing creates an opportunity to expand on your overall marketing communication by using imagery that is seen no matter which way the product is turned. You can tell more of your story both visually and with text using this exciting new decoration method of printing. This seamless and continuous 360-degree design will change the way people are looking at your logo.

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7. Smart Technology

Considering how everyone today is connected and dependent on gadgets, the trend of giving away Technology items is here to stay. In 2017, technology is still strong trend and “smart tech” is the favorite for B2B marketing. Technology that comes in handy when people least expect it reflects well on your brand. For useful items at work, home, play and information, look to the favorites: Power Banks, Bluetooth Earbuds, USB Drives, Stylus Pens and Bluetooth Speakers. You can plan on the tech trend to remain a trend because they are becoming more cost effective and “smarter” by the day. You can guarantee your brand will be seen because these products have the potential to be used on a daily basis. Virtual Reality is still hot for a smart tech gift. Hand out these goggles and you’ll transport your customers to anywhere in the world. You can speak to one of our Brand Consultants about making your very own VR application featuring your brand! If you’re looking for one of the best trade show giveaways, look no further. Attendees will flock to your booth for quality smart tech gadgets.

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8. Soft-Sided Special

The next big trend that is sure to build a stronger relationship with customers and show your appreciation to employees is a soft-sided backpack. One of the best in the world is Engel…a legend in reliability®! These rugged 23-quart personal carrying coolers can be a backpack or a tote and they have an endless amount of quality features. First, this cooler keeps anything cooler longer with one-inch thick foam insulation. Its interior radiant barrier liner reflects the sun’s long-wave heat radiation to further enhance the backpack cooler’s cooling capabilities. Under typical conditions, the backpack cooler will hold ice for up to three days. In addition, the liner is removable so you can get food easier and clean the bag. Made of 500D tear-resistant polyester, these totes can carry almost anything you want to keep cold. Plus, the waterproof TPE coating easily cleans up after any adventure. The reinforced bottom is flat with non-skid feet. These backpacks are unique gifts for employees, and a thoughtful way to remind them you care about easing their commute and making their lunch breaks more convenient. These backpacks are available in white or Realtree Camouflage for an additional fee. You also get to co-brand with a brand of excellence — Engle® is printed on the front pocket.

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9. A Neon Touch

We love electric bright colors and we’re happy to see that neon-colored promotional products are still a hot trend. No matter what product you want to promote your business, there are options that feature this neon trend and style to make your company stand out it a crowd. We encourage you to jump on the trend with bright fluorescent-colored pens, ceramic mugs, sunglasses, markers, drinkware, t-shirts, caps and other apparel. Brighten up your employee’s or client’s day with any one of these stand-out items.

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10. Trendy Cork Elements

If you’re looking for cool giveaways and swag ideas, there was a ton of buzz at the show for Cork. Cork is the emerging trend of the year and one that is likely to remain in high demand in 2017. The great attributes of cork make it appropriate for promotional products. Cork is eco-friendly, durable, anti-microbial, doesn’t absorb moisture, and the shades of cork display beautifully. If you’re dying for an upscale look, check out our dyed cork custom merchandise. Uncork your imagination because your logo could be on drinkware, journals, USB drives, pouches and more. We offer a variety of cork-accented products at different price points, so this trend fits into any marketing budget.

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Take a tour of our promotional products to see all the products taking off in 2017. Choose any of these trendy products, and it’ll be a unique trade show giveaway that will certainly attract people to your booth. Whether you’re looking for a memorable, unique client gift, or want to get your brand name out there with personalized promotional products — you’ll find affordable, unique, colorful and universal ideas for your customers at ePromos. Shop our selection of 2017’s hottest, trendiest products today!


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5 Water Safety Promotion Ideas


All over our planet, people enjoy beautiful waters and beaches – canoeing, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, surfing, jet skiing, swimming. Fun on the water is always an amazing adventure; however, remember with sun, sand and surf, you need to be safe on the water and in the water!

You can bet if you are dusting off your flip flops and heading to the water, your customers and employees are doing the same! So, why not give your promotional campaign a water safety refresher? As a business, one of the best things you can do for a customer is to show them that you care about them and their families’ well-being. A gift of safety is a very good reminder of those feelings and a gift for water-front activities is just the ticket because they are appropriate gift all year long.

Security for Customers and Employees

The United States Coast Guard has requirements for safety equipment – basic items crucial in emergencies. However, there is other “equipment” that is not necessarily required by law, but may certainly keep the people we love safe or even save a life on the water. Here are water safety promotional products that should be a part of every adventure on or near the water.

1. Waterproof Cellphone Pouch

Recently, a waterproof promotional product was in the news when two young men called 911 after one of their kayaks sank on Lake Michigan. The call was possible because the cellphone was in a Waterproof Cellphone Pouch. Help arrived soon after the call and the young men were rescued. Many items you bring to the waterfront, besides your cellphone, need to stay dry. Giving a useful gift such as a Waterproof Dry Sack will keep towels, clothes, documents and cameras safe from the water. You can start your summer promotion off right with these perfect ideas for attracting customers.

Waterproof Pouch

PVC Custom Waterproof Pouch

 

2. Safety Whistle

Another personal safety tool that is simple and extremely reliable is a safety whistle. The U.S. Coast Guard regulations state that if a paddle board is operated outside a surfing, swimming or bathing areas, they are “vessels” and operators must have a life jacket and a whistle. A safety whistle is an effective way for customers to be listening to your promotion while making sure they are heard in case of an emergency or to warn boaters in the vicinity. Whistles fit into any type of budget and could be the perfect choice for your customers. In addition, to stay legal on the water, the U.S. Coast Guard regulations state that if you’re on the water after sunset, you need to have a flashlight, or similar lighting device.

Safety Whistle

3-Tone Plastic Custom Safety Whistle

 

3. First Aid Kit

Safety also includes being able to easily handle small injuries, scrapes and cuts with the help of a first aid kit. Gauze, bandages, tweezers and antiseptic should make the trip every time you venture to the beach. So, if you’re looking for an easy gift appropriate for water safety and more – problem solved! This is an affordable idea with a collection of protection that can be found in a variety of first aid kits customized with your logo.

Functional Promotional First Aid Kit

Functional Promotional First Aid Kit

 

4. Sun Protection

Fun on the water usually means sunshine. Too much sun can result in a painful sunburn or lead to more serious health issues including premature aging, eye damage and skin cancer. More than one million cases of skin cancer are reported in the United States each year. Your customers are free to enjoy time in the sun because you are helping to protect them from overexposure with a variety of carefully chosen giveaway ideas including: SPF30 sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, baseball caps, bucket hats and also UV protection/performance clothing.

SPF 30 Promotional Sunscreen Spray - 1 oz.

SPF 30 Promotional Sunscreen Spray – 1 oz.

Keeping your eyes safe from the sun is important. The bright summer sun is a great time to bring out summer promo gear to protect your customers! Shield your customer’s eyes from harmful rays, whether they are on a summer vacation or simply spending the day in a boat. Give sunglasses away as a picnic favor, inside a summer festival gift bag or at a sporting event. Or, how about the wide canopy of an umbrella to keep away from the sun at a golf event, celebrity baseball game or field day excursion.

Gradient Tinted Lenses Custom Sunglasses

Gradient Tinted Lenses Custom Sunglasses

 

5. Water

Sometimes safety is as simple as staying hydrated. When it’s warm, people head outdoors to enjoy the weather. Dehydration can creep up quickly on hot days full of fun and action. Giving away water bottles will be a simple reminder to stay safe during outdoor activities. Drinkware is a practical and durable safety gift that will be used by customers and seen for months, providing you with repeated brand exposure.

Matte Double Wall Custom Tumbler w/ Straw - 16 oz.

Matte Double Wall Custom Tumbler w/ Straw – 16 oz.

 

These innovative products are simple and effective, plus they are an amazing way to show your appreciation for customers and employees. Wherever there is water and recreation, your brand will be in front of people who are in “enjoyment mode”…the perfect way to positively connect with your target audience with greater impact.

 


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Glass Etched Wine Bottles – a Personalized Gift & Sophisticated Business...


Have you been looking for something to show customers or partners how much you appreciate their loyalty? Set yourself apart from the competition with etched wine bottles! Anyone can give out a pen or a stress ball, but those trinkets aren’t fit for repeat clients or generous donors. A nice bottle of wine is a sincere gesture that they can enjoy during a special occasion, while the bottle becomes a keepsake.

Our Process

We want to give you the finest quality decorated wine bottles that will be cherished by recipients. Our process is done by hand to provide a deep etching with luxurious texture for a one-of-a-kind design on every bottle. Add one color to create a branded message that catches the eye, or choose a full-color, vibrant design for a beautiful decor piece.

Select from LaTerre Cabernet, LaTerra Chardonnay, Monterey Cristal Champagne, and sparkling cider. For spirit or wine enthusiasts wanting a different selection, we invite you to work with one of our brand consultants to create a custom order.

Etched Promotional Wine Bottle - LaTerre Chardonnay - 750ml Etched Custom Champagne Bottle - Monterey Cristal Etched Custom Wine Bottle - LaTerre Cabernet - 750ml

Glass Etching On Bar Accessories

Our options don’t stop at wine and liquor bottles. We also have etchable bar accessories and packaging to choose from. Pairing a wine bottle with accessories that display a matching design is the perfect touch to make your business stand out from the pack. One of our brand consultants can help with putting kits together with various items, including some not listed on our site. Start brainstorming ideas with our list of example products below!

Glass Bar Accessories

  • Wine Glasses
  • Stemless Drinkware
  • Stemmed Drinkware
  • Flutes
  • Brandy Tasters
  • Martini Glasses
  • Rocks Glasses
  • Beer Mugs
  • Pilsner Glassware
  • Decanters
  • Wine Carafes
  • Leather Presentation Boxes
  • Wooden Presentation Boxes
  • Glass Front, Wooden Presentation Boxes
  • Glass Wine Holders
  • Glass Wine Stoppers

Customized Wine Bottles as Party Favors

Etched wine bottles go beyond customer appreciation, including gifts for large celebrations. Attendees of weddings, anniversary parties, and corporate holiday parties will appreciate a remembrance bottle of wine to take home with them. You can engrave the date along with a special message that fits the special occasion. Take a look below at some example phrases:

Special Occasion Wine Etching

  • A Special Thank you
  • Thank You for Your Service
  • Happy Birthday
  • Aging Finer Than Wine
  • Season’s Greetings
  • Happy Hanukkah
  • Merry Christmas
  • Happy Holidays from the Private Wine Cellar of (Insert your name)

Increase Business with Etched Wine Bottles

Nothing says “congratulations” quite like a bottle of wine. Many businesses help their clients with major life changes, such as buying a home. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gesture to show up with an etched bottle of sparkling wine, saying “Best Wishes on Your New Home,” with your logo and business information etched at the closing? They would admire that bottle for years, while their guests would see it proudly displayed every time they come over.

You can also achieve new deals and strike fruitful business relationships by using etched wine bottles as an out of the ordinary sales tactic. Often, if you want to do business with someone the only way to get to them is through their assistant. Sometimes those thoughtful touches are what help you get a foot in the door to land a big contract.

We hope these ideas make doing business and hosting events extra special. To start your etching, design a custom order, or build a unique gift set, give one of our brand consultants a call today at 844-768-0319!

Please Note: Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Utah prohibit shipment of alcohol by law. Non-alcoholic wines are available, please contact your Brand Consultant for details.

Our products’ prices include a one color/design imprint in any location. There is a setup charge per color/design. For each additional imprint or color added, an additional per-item charge will be added. The information below breaks out the pricing and available locations.


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ePromos’ Own Gives An Inside Look At The Crazy-Intense Sport Of Pond Hockey


More than 500 games were played on 25 rinks at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

More than 500 games were played on 25 rinks at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

As if the sport of hockey wasn’t intense enough, bring it outdoors on a frozen pond in the middle of winter in Minnesota. That’s the setting for the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championship, the nation’s largest outdoor pond hockey tournament.

If you’re a sports fanatic and you’ve never played pond hockey (or at least watched it), you should. ESPN.com listed the tournament as part of its “101 Things Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die.”

ePromos’ Karl Gilbert, a Brand Consultant who’s also a lifelong hockey enthusiast, was on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis last month, participating in his first-ever Championship.

Read on for his account of the sport he’s loved since childhood and his experience at the 2014 U.S. Pond Hockey Championship.

How many years have you been playing pond hockey?

I have been playing hockey since I was five or six. Pond hockey is just something we play for fun. This was the first time I participated in this tournament, so we were rookies in some sense of the word, but we had a good team.

How did you prepare for the Championship?

A lot of us play in men’s leagues in our towns, which helps keep our game sharp.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Being outside and playing hockey outside is something I did all the time as a kid growing up. If it was winter, and if it was a weekend, then that’s where my buddies and I would be – playing hockey on the outdoor rink (ODR).

What’s most challenging about it?

Having to be defensive. It’s easy to get lazy/want to be offensive because it’s pond hockey, but the actual tie breaker for any ties in the tournament is goals against. We didn’t really agree with that rule, being as we were the team that scored the most goals in one game and the tournament in our division, but it is something we learned and can use to our advantage next year.

How did you feel right before the puck dropped?

I felt good. Was all bundled up and ready to go since it was a bit cold!

Were there any outrageous moments during the game?

We had some teams try to start some stuff, but our enforcer, Mitch Ryan, put a few guys over the boards to restore peace out there.

How far did you advance? What was the final outcome?

We did not make it to championship Sunday, despite winning three of four games. We lost our first game 8-6 after we were up 4-0. We did not have any subs (you play with four guys on the ice and are allowed two on the bench), so that definitely hurt us. We won our next three games very easily (15-5, 33-2, and 16-7 I believe).

What does it take to be successful in pond hockey?

Creativity. Your team needs it to win.

Anything else to say about your experience or the sport in general?

Look for the team “The Warroadians” on next year’s Golden Shovel (the trophy for the tournament). We plan on going back and taking home the gold.

pond hockey team

Some members of Karl’s team (from left): Kyle Hardwick, Joe Harren, Karl Gilbert, and Gabe Harren

 

pond hockey 1

pond hockey 2

pond hockey 3


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ePromos Spreads Holiday Cheer In UberSLEIGH Toy Drive


ubersleigh toy drive

Presents under the tree in the lobby of ePromos’ building are ready to be loaded onto the UberSLEIGH.

ePromos’ New York City staffers got into the holiday spirit and chipped in more than two dozen toys for the UberSLEIGH toy drive.

Uber, the service that lets anyone summon a taxi, car or high-end sedan right from their smartphones, turned its shiny black Escalades into UberSLEIGHs to deliver toys to children in need.

The company called upon New Yorkers and residents of 10 other cities around the world to spread good cheer with donations to various charities.

In NYC, UberSLEIGHs are delivering unwrapped toys and baby items to Room to Grow, an organization that provides parents raising babies in poverty with one-on-one parenting support and essential baby items.

Uber initially planned to stop at the first 100 offices that pledged to donate 20 toys or more, but due to overwhelming response, it doubled its number of stops to 200.

ePromos joins the likes of Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in donating toys. That means thousands of toys for Room to Grow and a great feeling of giving back for all those who pitched in.


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ePromos Talks To Jeff Parness, Founder And Chair Of New York Says Thank You


Today, members of the ePromos team are offering some helping hands to New York Says Thank You Foundation (NYSTY). The organization, a 100% volunteer-based nonprofit, helps rebuild communities around the country that have been impacted by disaster.

The focus for its annual 9/11 Anniversary Project is right in ePromos’ backyard – in Long Beach, the Rockaways and Staten Island. Volunteers from ePromos’ New York office and people around the country are coming together to rebuild 10-15 homes over the weekend. ePromos is also donating 500 custom t-shirts for volunteers to wear during the rebuilding projects.

“This is the biggest project we’ve done, and I’m in awe,” says Jeff Parness, Founder and Chair of NYSTY.

If you’re not familiar with NYSTY, the story is fascinating. And nobody tells it better than the man who started it all: Jeff Parness. See our interview with Jeff here, and check out our blog next week for photos from the job site.

Jeff Parness, New York Says Thank You

Photo credit: CNN

What inspired you to start NYSTY?

It was a very personal reason. My friend and business partner, Hagay Shefi, was killed in the attacks. He had a wife and two young kids. That changed my life forever. I’ve thought about Hagay every day and what we could do to commemorate his life. Two years later in 2003, my 5-year-old son, Evan, was watching CNN and saw a news report about wildfires in California. He looked at me and said he wanted to send his toys to the kids who lost their toys in the fire.

Within three days we had volunteers. I put a big sign on the side of the truck that said: New York Says Thank You. It was my personal way of paying homage to Hagay. As New Yorkers, we’ll never forget what others did in our time of need. From that simple suggestion of a child, we’ve grown into the largest volunteer service organization dedicated to remembering what happened on 9/12. That’s what it’s all about.

What do you want people to know about NYSTY?

The fundamental message is not about 9/11 but about 9/12. It’s a powerful message. No matter what the tragedy, whether its wildfires, shootings, tsunamis, no matter how bad the tragedy, the sense of compassion and kindness is so much more powerful.

NYSTY started with disaster relief, and now we’ve created an education division: The 9/12 Generation Project where kids are learning about NYSTY through a beautiful educational movie. Teachers teach citizenship and how a child’s idea can turn into a national pay-it-forward service movement. We set a goal of a million and a half children to be touched by the project.

How is your family involved in the organization? Did your son design the t-shirts that ePromos made for the volunteers?

Both my sons, Evan and Josh, have grown up in the organization. Evan, the older, is very artistic. It was a few years ago that he came up with the logo of the statue of liberty holding a hammer. He took that logo, and in his own artistic sense, he wanted to acknowledge all the other cities that were helping. He drew beachy letters to convey New York and beach communities.

We’re so appreciative that ePromos turned it into a professional graphic. I wish I would have had a picture of his face when he saw it. It’s very personal to our family.

NYSTY has helped rebuild all over the country – how do you decide which projects to take on?

Over the years, I’d answer the question by saying I watch The Weather Channel and I’d wait to hear about some small place that got whacked. The secret sauce is that traditionally we go to small towns. These people are blown away. They think: Wait a sec, you’re going to bring NYC firefighters to us to help us?

This year, unfortunately, the decision was made for us. Hurricane Sandy was Katrina in our region. Most people don’t fully understand it. There were 650,000 people who lost their homes. These families are living elsewhere and struggling with the rebuilding. There were over 2,000 NYC firefighters and cops who lost their homes.

We were starting to plan a trip to go to Japan to help in tsunami relief, but when we realized just how many first responders lost their homes, we knew we had to help them. We made the pledge to rebuild 200 homes of first responders. So far, we’ve completed 65. By this weekend, we’ll be up to 80.

What happens after you select a project? 

NYSTY has become a family reunion. We have 9/11 survivors, and we have an extended family of disaster survivors from all over the U.S. With Hurricane Sandy, it’s been different and it’s been challenging. Normally we’ll do a big barn-raising and put up a big structure. For example, we went to Botno, North Dakota, and built a ski lodge.

It’s one thing to bring volunteers and build one big structure. With this it’s different. You have 650,000 of your neighbors who lost their homes. This year, we reached out to the commissioner’s office and said: If you could quietly publicize to have first responders who lost their homes register with us. I said there weren’t any promises, but we can see what we can do for them. We’ve had close to 300 families register with us. This is the first time we’ve taken applications. It’s been prioritizing based on who’s in the greatest need and who’s in a position for us to help now.

How many volunteers have participated in NYSTY’s rebuilding efforts?

More than 40,000 people have volunteered in any number of our projects. We’ve done one major rebuilding project a year since 2004, but a number of sites we’ve done as many as 14 service projects connected to the main project.

What do you think inspires volunteers to give their time and work so hard?

What makes NYSTY unique is that virtually all of our volunteers are survivors: 9/11, cancer, Katrina, domestic violence. They find it empowering to volunteer with us. That’s what makes NYSTY really special. It’s always been about helping people pay it forward.

You have more volunteers from outside New York than from the city itself – what does this mean to you?

This was never about New York – it’s always been about America. When I started this, I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I thought: We’ll do a little trip and bang nails for a day. I realized it kept growing, and it was about letting people go into these tiny towns and change people’s lives. They just become part of your family. What’s so humbling is that we have a lot of volunteers who don’t have much money, and they make sure they save their vacation dollars to be with us because they want  to be with their family.

What’s it like on the site of a project?

It’s total chaos. People can always find me easily – I’m the guy walking around in cowboy boots, shorts and mardi gras beads. It’s like a party. People are so happy to be with each other. People are hugging and crying and laughing and hammering. It’s been about the people and bringing them all together. Even a blind person will realize this isn’t your average construction site – it’s a family reunion.

Why do you think the organization has been so successful?

Two things: #1 is that everybody knows where they were on 9/11 and how powerless they felt. We deliberately chose to focus on the positive and to honor that day through service. It creates such a powerful, positive energy. #2 is that sometimes if you make it easy for people to step up and volunteer, they’ll be there for you. Because of this energy of empowering volunteers, there’s a momentum that I never could have imagined.

You’re at the helm of NYSTY – what’s the organization’s biggest challenge?

Me getting out of the way! I was the chief cook and bottle washer doing it all on my own, and we’ve been so fortunate to build such a great staff. We have people in Arkansas, Texas, Iowa – all over the U.S. To have this virtual organization and to have it gel together so well is amazing. As the founder of an organization to be able to trust your people and know you’ve been blessed with the right people and to step back and see the vision and passion drive them .

What has been the most humbling part of your journey with NYSTY?

Being around people with such deep faiths and strong convictions who have experienced such enormous tragedies – just to be next to them. They’ve gone through so much and they’ve let us into their lives and into their healing process. That’s been extremely humbling.

What has running NYSTY taught you? How has the organization changed you?

It’s interesting because we’re not a faith-based organization but the people who are involved have strong faiths and spiritual backgrounds. I always say I’m a nice Jewish man who builds Methodist churches with Amish people. You can’t help but say to yourself: What’s my purpose? Why did God choose me for this particular position? So many people have been able to answer the question: What’s my divine purpose? I’ve really found myself in this. I’m only 48. As a dad, from a purely selfish perspective, it’s been wonderful to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. It’s not about us – it’s what we can do for someone else.

What’s next for NYSTY?

We’re going to keep trying to build homes every single weekend until we get to our 200 goal. It’s going to be at least another year. As long as people want to volunteer and donate money, we’re going to keep at it. With our education division, there will be almost 1,000 schools across the country that air our video and get kids active. What’s next is up to everyone’s imagination.