Nov. 15, 2016 11:57 AM

Tips for Corporate Gift Giving and Party Planning from the ABiz Staff

Looking to share the holiday cheer with a little less cash in the kitty? There are still many ways to say “thanks for your business” or tell your employees “thanks for all the hard work!” in ways that won’t bust the bottom line.

It starts with a budget. First decide how much you have to spend. Some companies even set amounts by categories, such as clients or customers, important service providers and employees. Then make a list for each category and make sure you do not leave anyone out. Next do the math to determine an average price for each category. And finally tweak gift selection and/or the list as necessary by prioritizing within the budget you have.

Hopefully, your budget will allow you to select one standard gift for everyone in each category so that you can take advantage of bulk prices that might be available, standardize necessary shipping and make the most efficient use of time.

Although there are many variables, a good rule of thumb for many small businesses for corporate gifting is $20 to $50 per person. Food, branded specialty items and live seasonal plants often fall into this range. Remember: Gifts that are too expensive might embarrass the recipient, as policies in many large corporations limit the value of gifts their employees can receive to a $25 maximum.

Take the time for personal delivery whenever possible and practical. It gives your sales team a reason to pop in and reinforce important relationships. The additional attention can also enhance the return on the investment you make in business gifting. Is there a bottom line benefit to corporate gift giving? Some companies consider it an essential part of their marketing strategy, and though hard data is difficult to come by, a survey by Promotional Products Association International suggests that vendors who gave were twice as likely to improve their chances of being contacted by recipients as those who didn’t have a gift program.

When individual gifts are impractical… If your business has a large number of customers or clients, giving gifts to each one might be unrealistic. An open house event is an efficient and effective way to show appreciation for your customers and vendors. It can also showcase your office or store. It pays to work with an experienced caterer who can offer turnkey service, providing food, bar and personnel. Most caterers will also incorporate host-provided food or beverages, which can add a personal touch to the gathering or sometimes hold down costs. A party planner is a good investment for large gatherings or when staff time is short. Consider hiring a local artist or graphic designer to make your invitation memorable. And don’t forget holiday décor and music to enhance the gathering.

Most of all…The past year has been a challenging one for us in Acadiana, and the new one could be as well. Remember to go to your local vendors first for gifting and party planning to spread those important fourth quarter dollars around in our community.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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