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Key Tips for Creating a Corporate Gift Budget

Do you want to show your employees that you care about them? Or, do you want to strengthen your relationships with your clients? Corporate gifts are a great way to do it.

According to Christina Concord, an expert on corporate gifts, you should definitely adopt the practice of giving corporate gifts. It’s a great way to show how much you appreciate your workers and boost their morale. They’ll feel more motivated and loyal as a result.

Corporate gifts can also help solidify your client relationships. The gifts signal that you value them and that you want to continue working together. As a result, your clients will be more likely to come back and do business with you again.

Having established that corporate gifts are a great idea, you still have to approach it strategically. If you fail to create a clear budget, for example, you might end up spending far more than planned. And in the worst-case scenario, this could eat into your profits.

But if you plan your gifts properly, all of those headaches will go away, leaving you with just the good stuff. You’ll be showing your employees that they are essential and your clients that you value the relationship.

If you don’t know where to start budgeting for gifts, take a look at the following advice.

The Tips

Start with the Maximum Spending and Work Backward

Of course, companies are different and that includes what they can afford to spend on corporate gifts. If you own a small startup, for example, you don’t have to attempt to outspend a corporate giant. It’s another story if your company is raking it in.

Whichever the case, you should start with the total amount you want to spend. How do you arrive at this number? Take a look at your company’s books and see how well you’re doing. Make sure that it’s not going to affect your essential operations in the near future.

When you have the total figured out, you can break it down to how much you want to spend per person. The amount per person will depend on how many gifts you have to buy. If your total budget is $1,000 for 20 presents, that would return $50 per gift or person.

You may also want to take the individual position into account. For example, you probably won’t want to buy the same present for a front desk employee as your top executive. Or an entry-level HR officer versus a strategic partner. You get the idea.

That said, it’s not a good idea to aim for wild differences in gifts either. That could be taken as a sign of blatant favoritism, which can only be bad for your company culture.

Finally, don’t think that you have to avoid small gifts. Quite the contrary, luxurious gifts might work against you. Bruce Bachenheimer of Pace University has the following to say:

If you’re rolling out the red carpet for a customer, they’re going to assume you have incredibly high margins to do all that spending. They’re going to think, ‘Oh, he’s overcharging everyone — including me — in order to afford all this.

Determine Who Are in Line to Receive Gifts

If you have a limited gift budget for this year, you might want to shorten the list of recipients. 

Let’s say that you have two clients. The first has been with you for a decade and spent thousands of dollars with your company. But the second has only been around for the last three months and spent less than a thousand.

In this case, it’s totally within your right to give a more expensive gift to the first client. A thank-you card might be enough for the second client. 

Furthermore, some companies forbid employees from receiving any gifts at all. If this applies to your company, a thank-you card would be your only option.

Remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but almost everyone can appreciate a gift. Research beforehand to make sure that you’re in the clear. Also, most of the big religions have holidays in December. It’s why gifting toward the end of the year is a great choice.

Here are some things to consider when deciding who should get a gift:

  • Long-term clients should come before the recent ones.
  • Always honor your anchor clients.
  • Is the client easy or hard to work with? Do they pay on time or not?
  • How much work have you invested in working with the client? If the answer is a lot, you might want to send them a gift.
  • Do you have any highly valuable ongoing projects with the client? If yes, put them on the list.

Create a Shortlist of Potential Gifts

Now that you know the budget and recipients, it’s time to decide what to buy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Gourmet Sweets - who doesn’t love sweets, right? Let alone something special. The only catch is to get everyone’s taste right. You can go with gourmet nuts, cookies, fresh fruits, and many others.
  • Gift cards - with gift cards, everyone can get what they want. You can hardly go wrong with the most popular online or big box stores, or even a Visa or Mastercard gift card that all merchants accept.
  • Branded tumblers - everyone loves tumblers, perhaps because they’re super practical. A mug with your company logo can really boost morale. It can also advertise your company on a client’s office desk.
  • Alternative gifts - you might not be able to afford to buy presents for everyone on the list. That’s where alternative gifts come in. For example, you might offer a discount on a product to some clients. A handwritten card is also a good idea. You can even throw a holiday party in the office.

Avoid Multiple Presents Where Possible

If your budget allows it, you can buy several gifts for everyone on the list. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also unnecessary. One gift per person works well enough, especially if you have a limited budget. 

You shouldn’t feel bad about it either. Not if you know that people often go for multiple gifts out of fear that some might turn out to be duds.

If you put some effort into it, most recipients will appreciate the gift. Those that don’t probably don’t deserve the gift anyway.

Spread Out the Expense

In the best-case scenario, you have no problem buying presents for everyone on your list at the same time. But if your budget doesn’t allow it, you can just spread out the expense.

Birthday gifts would work well in this scenario, assuming that your employees aren’t all born in the same month. The most important thing is to give them recognition for their work and loyalty. You can also send gifts to your clients around the New Year, instead of Christmas. 

Again, it’s the thought that counts in the act of gift-giving. The when is not so important, though you wouldn’t want to put it off indefinitely.

Spend Smart and Make People Around You Happy

Corporate gifts are a great way to show your employees and clients that you care. But you should have a plan for this. If not, you might overspend and this can only hurt your company.

First, determine the total amount that you can allocate to gifts. Then, create a list of employees and clients who should get earmarked for a gift. Next would be to actually select the gift or gifts. You don’t have to go for multiple presents if it’ll blow your budget, as one gift per person is sufficient. Finally, you can spread out the expense if necessary. Birthdays and project completion days are also excellent gifting occasions.

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