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Corporate Gift Giving Guidelines
by Susan Kurth Clot deBroissia

Gift giving is an excellent way to build or maintain business relations, whether with an important client or a valued employee.

Before sending corporate gifts, be sure to check the corporate policy on gift giving. Some companies have strict policies concerning gift giving. For example, many companies place restrictions on the value of the gift or on the situations in which gifts may be given. Ask the personnel department for the company's guidelines.

Once you have checked the corporate policy on gift giving, keep in mind that gifts should reflect careful attention paid to the recipient's tastes. Try to choose gifts fitting to the client or employee's hobbies, interests, or employment.

Gift Occasions...

While the holiday season is the standard time of the year for corporate gift giving, many other occasions merit gift giving and will make an impact on the recipient:

To Promote: 

  • Your company's products or services

To Show Appreciation To: 

  • A hard-working employee
  • A client for new or continued business
  • Someone who has referred business to you

To Motivate or Encourage: 

  • Employees facing boring, unpleasant or difficult tasks An ill client or employee

To Celebrate or Congratulate: 

  • A business anniversary
  • The birth of a baby
  • A birthday
  • A retirement
  • A new job or promotion
  • Completion of an important project
  • The opening of a new office

Etiquette to remember in gift giving... 

  • Appropriateness

    Keep in mind the closeness of the business relationship. If you have a client who is not particularly open or friendly, do not think that by sending a gift the individual will loosen up. This often backfires. oBe careful not to create the wrong impression with a gift. oAvoid extravagant gifts that could be misinterpreted as bribery. It is important that the recipient not feel uncomfortable when accepting the gift. Any gift seen as inappropriate could quickly damage or even destroy a business relationship.

  • Personality

    Gifts should reflect the interests and tastes of the recipient whenever possible.

  • Timing

    Frequency of gift giving should be limited to major holidays and special occasions. Depending on the nature of the relationship, it is appropriate to send gifts on personal occasions, such as to mark the birth of a child. oAvoid gift giving during a bidding process.

  • Presentation

    Nice wrapping paper and presentation are very important. Remember to enclose a personal note with the gift.

  • Customizing

    While the corporate logo on a gift provides free advertising, it could be interpreted as tacky. It is more appropriate to leave logo customization to gifts that will be used daily such as mugs, keychains, notebooks, etc. Never put a company logo on a gift when you want to leave the impression that it is coming personally from you.

Some appropriate business gifts include... 

  • Desk accessories, such as pens, desk blotters, letter openers, clocks, business card holders, calculators
  • Travel accessories, such as travel alarm clocks, carrying cases
  • Food or gift baskets
  • Picnic Baskets
  • Electronic gifts
  • Entertainment tickets to sporting events, the theatre, the opera, etc.

Done properly, gift giving is an excellent way of showing appreciation to long-standing customers and valued employees.

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Susan Kurth Clot de Broissia works for Netique Gift Boutique, a one-stop internet source for rare, unique and elegant gifts, including a nice selection of executive and business accessories. Netique extends special terms and services to corporate gift buyers. Visit Netique at or call toll-free at 1-888-WEB-GIFT.

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