Copyright (c) 2007 Jerry Carpos
To cement excellent business relations there is nothing better than a little gift giving, whether to an important client or a valued employee. But be sure to follow the guidelines or corporate policy of the company which is to benefit from your gift. There are often restrictions placed on the value of the gift. Guidelines can be obtained from the personnel department.
It is best to check corporate policy regarding corporate gift giving prior to careful selection of the gift which is done according the position, interests and hobbies of the recipient. While the holiday season is the most popular time for the giving of corporate gifts, there are many other occasions which can be made the most of, including the anniversary of an important date for the business, such as its founding, the opening of a new office or the opening of a new office or branch. Retirement, marriage, birth of a new baby, and promotion are just few of the excellent moments when one can show deep appreciation by giving corporate gifts to encourage loyalty and strengthen team ties, that is gift giving should be limited to only a few occasions a year.
As for the company logo, while having this appear on the gift does act as free advertising, it is only appropriate for gifts which will be in use daily, such as key chains, drinking mugs, caps and ballpoints. If yours is a personal gift, never use your company logo onto it. Appropriate gifts include electrical goods and appliances, travel or alarm clocks, food such as hampers, tickets for shows or travel and that old favorite, desk accessories. Be sure if you are giving internationally that you are abiding by the customs of the country where you are giving. Inappropriate behavior could backfire and be extremely damaging to your corporate image. In 2005 corporate gift giving sank among U.S. companies against of pre-tax profits, despite the huge corporate responses to Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami which were so splashed across the media. US companies gave more than $1bn in disaster relief for victims of these disasters. The total amount given by companies like Wal-Mart, AIG and Citigroup went from 14% to $8.56bn, but a percentage of pre-tax profits declined to 0.9 per cent from 1.1 per cent the year before. The decline was perhaps not unexpected, given profit growth. Two-thirds of the donations from companies were in kind.
The top bods generally want their philanthropy to be aligned with their business strengths. Deloitte, the consultancy, prefers for example to withhold cash and to offer its services to charities instead. Pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Merck and Pfizer tend to give a larger proportion of medicine and supplies than cash. Annual contributions from 88 leading donors are in the region of $10bn, which is about half of all corporate philanthropy in the US. The median gift is about $32m. The other 17,000 companies in America are clearly not pulling their weight. .