Packaged With Purpose: The 6 Essentials of Corporate Gift Giving

During the season for giving, corporations might give gifts to everyone who helps the business succeed: top customers, vendors, and employees. These offerings are great for saying “thank you” and lifting spirits while quarterly deadlines approach.

Before going wild with the company credit card, managers and owners should understand the basics of corporate gift giving. The wrong gift could be offensive, and in some cases, gift-giving can violate policy or result in tax problems. 

Know IRS tax deductions

Like many corporate financial decisions, the IRS may offer benefits for gift-giving. Understanding the rules about tax deductions matters. For example, presents like a turkey voucher function as a gift certificate, and don’t have to go through company payroll.

In the United States, some types of businesses can deduct corporate gifts on a per-person basis. IRS Publication 463 provides information about the $25 per-person tax deductions that need to pass through payroll. 

Know corporate gifting policies

Before you give gifts to vendors or government offices, take time to investigate their gifting policies. Some organizations don’t allow their employees to accept presents from clients. More conservative businesses may see gift-giving as a conflict of interest, while others may appreciate the thought. You want your gift to be a nice gesture, not an HR headache, so be sure to check first.

Show your knowledge of your employee or customer

When you give a gift, show the recipient that you remember details about them. For example, if you have customers that don’t drink alcohol, gifting them an expensive bottle of wine would suggest that you don’t know them as individuals.

Following a one-size-fits all approach to gift-giving is certainly easier, but it’s less sincere. Who wants to get the same fruit cake or coffee table book that everyone else received? To keep your customers and employees happy, treat them with a gift that’s unique to them.

Show respect for cultural differences

If you are sending gifts to customers in other cultures, show sensitivity to their differences. You can customize gifts to something you know they’ll enjoy. 

When you talk to your customers and employees, talk about their hobbies, then record that information in your CRM so you can access it during the holidays or other celebratory events. The essentials of corporate gift giving include giving presents that help you keep your customers and employees, not drive them away. 

You can avoid disrespecting cultural differences by abstaining from gift-giving during religious holidays. Instead, deliver items at secular celebrations, like the anniversary of the business’s grand opening or when a company reaches an important milestone. 

Give quality gifts that showcase your business’s image

When you give a cheap gift, it can damage your business’s reputation. Low-quality choices make your business look low-quality, too. If you cannot afford high-quality gifts, then don’t send purchased gifts at all. You can show your appreciation in other ways, like product discounts or hand-written notes. You can visit Swag Bar to see some great gifting ideas.

Personally deliver your gifts

Rather than sending a gift in the mail or having your assistant deliver it, try giving your customers, vendors, and employees their gifts in person. If you show up at their doors or cubicles personally, they’ll see that you care about them and that you’re proud of your gift. 

Wrap up

It’s always healthy to indulge the spirit of generosity and show people that you appreciate them. No corporation succeeds by itself, so it never hurts to send a special thank-you to those who help make your company what it is.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team