Gifts for clients, customers and employees need not be mere gestures to maintain a business relationship. You can add meaning to these gifts and build a reputation as a company that cares.
Consider these cause related, green and company charitable gifts and ideas for the ecologic and altruistic business owner. And communicate with colleagues and clients not only your appreciation for their business – but your values as a business.
1. Choose Eco-Friendly Coffee Cup Alternatives
Of course, any travel mug is potentially environmentally friendly if it stops you from carrying around disposable coffee cups at the office or on your morning commute. But some alternatives take things to the next level, actually duplicating the experience of a light and easy to handle disposable cup without the environmental issues.
Take “I Am Not a Paper Cup” from DCI Gift Inc. The porcelain cup with silicon lid has the look of a disposable cup (as opposed to a bulky plastic travel mug). Yet you can wash it when done and presto, it is ready for your next hot or cold beverage. And it’s also microwave safe.
2. Give Girl Scout or Boy Scout Products
Not only will your purchase go to supporting local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. It will also bring a smile to anyone who receives it. Unfortunately these products can be tricky to find. Ask around to see if any children of friends or co-workers are selling cookies or popcorn, and avoid common allergens like peanuts, just in case.
3. Run a Drive for a Local Shelter or Community Non-Profit
Bringing people together to help others is a gift in itself, and planning a holiday drive or collection for a local shelter or other community non-profit is the perfect way to do just that. Get everyone into the spirit of giving by collecting donations of canned goods for food kitchens, supplies for pet shelters, or clothes and blankets for local homeless shelters. Everyone can take part in order to give back to their community.
4. Give Women’s Bean Gift Baskets
Since 1989, the Women’s Bean Project has been striving to empower unemployed and impoverished women. It is hoped with support these women will “develop the work and interpersonal skills needed to function independently in the workplace and community.” The organization offers fun gift baskets (with your own company logo, if you wish) and gift sets for nearly any occasion as well as jewelry, gourmet food, and beverages, through their online service.
5. Create a Memorable Experience
Instead of buying something that might end up in someone’s basement or guest room by the end of the week, giving the gift of an experience provides a unique alternative. Oh Happy Day has a list of 10 ideas for experience gifts, from hot air balloon rides to lecture tickets. And there are apps like Vayable that offer unique secrets to inside experiences in big cities.
6. Make Something by Hand
Whether it be a card, cookies, or a hand knit scarf, making something by hand provides a more personal alternative to a store bought holiday gift anyone else could have given. Sites like Pinterest are stuffed to the gills with home-made gift ideas. And you can customize your search with a few key words in the search bar to find just the right project.
7. Highlight Locally Made Wines
Find a local vineyard and create a wine gift basket. This not only helps support other local businesses, but a bottle of wine is a quick and easily found gift idea when you need to grab something on the fly. Tie a bow around the neck and you’ve got a beautiful presentation. If you have the time, consider adding some home or local made goodies as well.
8. Offer Charity Gift Cards
Rather than simply donating money to a charity in someone’s name, consider a charity gift card instead, and let the recipient experience the rewards of donating to a charity of their choice. Offered by Tisbest, these work almost like regular gift cards. The difference is that instead of the recipient buying something for themselves with the card, they can use that money to donate to a cause through the Tisbest website. The cards themselves are 100% recycled plastic, and can be customized with your own photo and logo. A paperless email option is also available, or you can print the customized cards at home for a last minute gift fix.
9. Check Out These Organic Candles
These 100 percent beeswax candles from BsaB are about as eco-friendly as you can get. They feature biodegradable plastic, chemical-free pure cotton wicks, and more. The candles are long lasting, all natural, and even offer aromatherapy options. You can also get a refillable bamboo essential oil infuser or a glass candle packaged entirely from 100 percent plant materials.
10. Give the Gift of Recycled Golf Balls
Dixon offers many varieties of eco-friendly balls which are comprised of rock salt, rather than heavy metals. Four styles are featured: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Spirit. The latter is a pale pink color for the female golfer. The site also sells non-chemically treated bamboo and cotton blend clothing and accessories.
11. Give Green with Solar-Powered Battery Chargers
Companies like ReVIVE market solar powered batteries for phones and other electronic devices. They are unique and functional gifts and are surprisingly affordable. Available on the cheap for a wide variety of tech, they make a great gift for employees, colleagues, and clients alike.
12. Support Community with Local Foods
If you have a favorite bakery, why not pick up a few extra orders of cookies next time you stop by? Local food shops provide great last-minute gift ideas, from cookies to deli platters to locally made spirits. Or consider taking your employees out for lunch, dinner, or drinks at a local restaurant or bar this holiday. Websites like Independent We Stand can help you find restaurants and other businesses in your area. Or just use Google to search local eateries.
13. Give an Animal to a Family in Need
Heifer International has spent the last 70 years assisting those in need. Through their site, you can buy gifts for people who need them most. Animals like water buffalo, sheep, goats and heifers can be donated to families, small businesses can be launched, and clean water provided all with a few clicks. These donations benefit not only the individuals receiving them, but the entire community as more and more people are helped to self-sufficiency. Price ranges vary; donations can be made entirely by one contributor or shared among several.
14. Give the Gift of Trees
What’s better than a gift certificate to your employee’s, partner’s or client’s favorite restaurant? How about a certificate given for planting some trees to help save the planet? Groups like CarbonFund give you a unique opportunity to give a gift that also fights climate change. For example, donate $25 to plant 25 trees and CarbonFund will give you an eGift card from Restaurant.com, redeemable at any participating eatery in the same amount. You can also donate $50 or $100 to plant more trees if you so choose.
This is part of the Small Business Trends holiday article series featuring tips, advice and news about the latest holiday trends taking place in today's business world. Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more.
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