Giving Christmas gifts to clients and partners is great way to show gratitude for the past year’s relationship as well as gain some client mindshare during the holiday season. However, giving presents can be complicated by a few matters, especially when the ethics of corporate gift giving come into play. But by following a few gift giving guidelines, you’ll have a better shot at keeping the corporate governance officer happy and spreading a little holiday cheer to your clients.
Check the corporate policy on gift giving
Be sure to review and adhere to your company’s policy on gift giving as well as that of the recipient’s company. If you send your client a gift that they shouldn’t accept, you’ll be putting him or her in an awkward position. Worse yet, you could both get in serious trouble and face termination. So do your homework beforehand by reaching out to the governance officer or HR.
Keep it nominal
If neither company has any restrictions on gift giving nor receiving, it’s still recommended to only send a nominal gift. Gifts of significant value can lead to allegations of favoritism, bribery, and conflicts of interest. Sending your client a pair of front row Super Bowl tickets as you await his or her decision on which contractor to select for an upcoming major project would not be taken lightly. It could even land you in jail.
Decide on a budget
To help you keep your gift’s price tag sensible, decide on a reasonable budget in advance and stick to it. Take into consideration your client or partner’s country, position, and the context of the gift and choose a budget’s that’s nominal in relation to those factors. If you’re having trouble deciding on a budget, seek input from your supervisor and HR. They should be able to steer you in the right direction
Include a handwritten note
A neatly penned note adds an extra level of thoughtfulness to your gift. By taking the time to write a personalized message to your recipient, he or she will feel more appreciated and less like a part of a mass gift mailing campaign.
Only send sensible, quality items
The gift you choose serves as a reflection of your company, so sending a sensible but quality-made present is your best bet. This is especially true if you’re sending branded gifts. Promotional material that displays your company’s logo helps keep your business at the forefront of your client’s memory. But if the gift you send is of low quality or in poor taste, you might just be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Send a card instead
Sending a card in place of a gift is acceptable and is recommended in cases where policy forbids gift giving or receiving. As long as you offer your thanks and holiday greetings in a suitable manner, it doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of a card or present. Check out our tips on Christmas card etiquette for some additional guidance.