Corporate Gift Giving Guidelines

Business Gift Giving Guidelines

Gift giving varies from culture to culture, region to region and business to business. And in the business world, there are plenty of potential gift-giving pitfalls. For example, the last thing you want to do is to send expensive executive gifts — which may be seen as bribes — to a company or media outlet that has a $25 maximum corporate gift limit. Here are keys to successful corporate gifting:

  1. Create occasions. In addition to the usual holidays, when promotional gifts are expected, make corporate gifts a regular habit. Avoid the December crush. "Off season" business gifts can make you stand out from the crowd.
  2. Identify key dates in a client's life, such as anniversaries, birthdays and promotions that you can celebrate with executive gifts.
  3. Remember that corporate gifts are a great way to say "thank you" and also to promote business products or services, enhance the image and reputation of your company, show respect, express an apology and acknowledge someone else.
  4. Find executive gifts that suit the taste of the recipients — not your own. Contact others who know the intended recipient and ask about a favorite food, special interests, color preferences, if they collect anything, favorite sports teams, authors or musicians.
  5. Write a personal note to accompany each corporate gift. All notes should be hand-written. Send business gifts first-class or via your preferred supplier.
  6. Make sure your corporate gifts are distinctively packaged. Promotional gifts in paper and boxes from prestigious stores have high impact because they offer cachet and status.


A business gift can be food for thought

Who doesn't like delicious gourmet goodies as corporate gifts? Food is always a good choice to build and maintain business relationships, especially if it's a gift basket that the entire office can enjoy.

I recommend: Numerous Web sites can point you in the right direction with their various business gift specialties, whether it's chocolate, coffee or otherwise. Visit Gevalia, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Hickory Farms, Maui Coffee Co. and Gift Basket Village  or see the listings of vendors of corporate gift baskets at  


Keep it personal with executive gifts

Offering personalized or engraved executive gifts to customers enhances your image and shows extra thoughtfulness.

I recommend: Check out Tiffany, World Lux, Zagat and L.L.Bean for ideas on executive gifts.


Promote yourself with a business gift

Send promotional gifts imprinted with your company name and message.

I recommend: Manufacturer's Direct, for example, offers scores of business gift products from trusted brands, including Watermen pens, 3M Post-It-Notes, Chelsea clocks and Swiss Army knives. Also see ePromos, Promopeddler and’s listings of vendors of promotional gifts.


Discover more business gift giving do's and don'ts

There are many ways a thoughtful corporate gift idea can go wrong.

I recommend: Yahoo! Small Business has tips as well as business gift giving do's and don'ts. Lucma Designs offers helpful tips and etiquette on giving executive gifts.

Tips & Tactics
Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide

  • If you're the business owner and have received a business gift from one of your employees, acknowledging the gift and reciprocating is a must.
  • Fitness and health gifts can backfire if it appears you think the recipient is in need of greater fitness. Best avoid a health-related corporate gift, even if you're a fitness buff yourself.
  • Don't confirm delivery of business gifts or corporate gifts by asking the recipient if they've received it. Call the vendor or shipper of your corporate gift.
  • Vendors not accustomed to shipping items as business gifts sometimes forget and include order confirmations with pricing and other information inside the box. Make sure that does not happen.