Gift Giving Guidelines: 5 Tips to Help You Master Corporate Gifting Etiquette


Most business owners understand the importance and benefits associated with corporate gift-giving. Whether you provide gifts for your clients or employees, you strengthen valuable connections and show appreciation.

However, understanding the value of corporate gift-giving doesn’t mean you automatically grasp the best practices and etiquette involved. Thankfully, these aspects aren’t all that difficult to master. Simply take the following actions to enjoy a far more rewarding gift-giving experience:

Define Your Intention

Defining your intention is crucial, and it’s a step you should take long before exploring different promotional gift ideas. Once you understand your intent, you’ll find it much easier to find the perfect gifts more here.

Think about who you are buying gifts for and your reasons for doing so. For example, you might be treating clients for the holiday season or thanking employees for their hard work throughout the year. Knowing the intent will enable you to purchase more fitting gifts for your chosen recipients.

Be Mindful of Expenditure

You might be happy to empty the piggy bank for expensive corporate gifts, but be mindful of how much you spend. Whether you’re selecting gifts for clients or employees, you don’t want them to think you’re trying to buy their business or influence them.


In contrast, be careful about spending too little. It’s easy to make your clients or employees feel like you don’t value them enough. Think about gifts you’ve received in the past, and browse a few corporate gift websites. This will give you a good idea of the best corporate gifts to present to your most valued employees and customers.

Consider Branding

You might be purchasing gifts out of the kindness of your heart, but don’t waste the opportunity to benefit from much-needed brand recognition. Consider adding your logo or corporate colors to the gifts so there’s no guessing who they’re from. If your clients are walking around their offices with beautiful coffee mugs bearing your brand or in custom-branded socks (you can learn more here about creating custom socks for your brand), they’ll be much more likely to remember your business when they need relevant products or services in the future.

Get the Timing Right

There is a right and a wrong time to present a gift. At the end of a project or as the working year comes to an end, they are both appropriate. However, it’s typically poor form to present gifts in the middle of contract negotiations, during tenders, or while disputes are in play. At these times, gifts can be seen as a way to gain an advantage or smooth over a problem.

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If you’re unsure whether the timing is right, consult other leaders in your business to gain their opinion. You might even decide to continue with a gift purchase but wait until the most fitting time to present it.

Understand Your Tax Obligations

Gift-giving in business can be far more complex than gift-giving in your private life. Tax rules are among the most serious confounding factors. Only tangible items – such as gift baskets and reusable coffee mugs with your branding – can be classed as business gifts.

Not all business gifts count toward business expenses, either. In the US, there is a $25 per person annual limit. You also can’t write off entertainment expenses as gift deductions. So, if you’re thinking about treating your clients to sports tickets, do so knowing that you can’t claim the cost as a business expense.

Corporate gift-giving can strengthen ties between businesses and clients and make employees feel appreciated. In essence, companies can greatly benefit from being generous and thinking of others. However, it’s best to avoid shopping until you have all the facts. Instead, take the time to master corporate gift-giving by following the best practices above.

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