How to Create a Gift Budget for Your Business

How to Create a Gift Budget for Your Business

Sending holiday gifts to your clients, employees, partners, and service providers can help you show your appreciation for their hard work and support throughout the year. However, gift giving can also get expensive. That’s why you need to set a business gift budget before going on a shopping spree.

Are there a lot of people on your gift giving list this year? That can add up quickly. Here are some tips on coming up with a gift budget for your business:

  • Review Your Financials: Determine how much you can afford without compromising essential operations.
  • List Recipients: Include everyone you’re considering giving a gift to, such as clients, employees, partners, etc.
  • Allocate Budgets: Assign a rough budget for each category of recipients.
  • Tax Deductions: Remember that gifts costing $25 or less might qualify for business gift deductions.
  • Consider Alternatives: Think about non-material gifts or gestures to recognize contributions.
  • Spread the Expense: Consider giving throughout the year rather than all at once.

how much should you spend on business gifts

Creating a Business Gift Budget

Determine the Total Amount You Can Spend

Every business, be it a startup or an industry giant, operates with diverse financial frameworks. Young businesses, particularly, are focused on frugality and cost-saving measures.

Such businesses might find it tough to allocate significant amounts for holiday gifting compared to their established counterparts.

Therefore, as an essential first step in budgeting for gifts, comb through your annual financial statements. Identify what remains after covering crucial operational costs.

This gives you a clear picture of the disposable amount for gifts without hampering crucial business activities.

  • Analyze your year-end financial statements to identify disposable income.
  • Ensure that gifting does not impact essential business operations or cash flow.
  • Consider past years’ gifting expenditures for reference.

Create Your Gift List

Before diving into the gifting process, it’s essential to quantify the recipients. A business that boasts a vast network comprising numerous employees, collaborators, and clients will naturally have to be more frugal with each gift.

On the other hand, if you’re steering a smaller ship with a tight-knit crew, the leeway for individual gifts could be broader.

Regardless of the financial value, the symbolic value of appreciation remains priceless.

While penning down names, remember to account for everyone—employees, clients, freelance partners, colleagues, and even behind-the-scenes helpers like service providers. Every entity that’s touched your business journey deserves acknowledgment.

  • Categorize recipients into groups such as employees, clients, partners, and service providers.
  • Ensure no key person is overlooked; consider length and depth of the relationship.
  • Prioritize recipients based on their impact on your business.

how much should you spend on business gifts

Break It Down

Some simple math can help you determine how much to spend on each person on your list. You should spend roughly the same for the people in each category. But you don’t necessarily need to keep it consistent throughout different types of recipients.

For example, you should spend about the same on every employee. But you will probably spend a bit less on the gift for your letter carrier.

You might also spend a bit more on clients with big accounts or people in your upper management team. Just make sure not to show overt favoritism with your gift budget.

There isn’t a specific rule about what to spend one clients or employees. If you have a huge team or extensive list of clients, you might get small gifts that are worth around $10.

But if you have a small, close-knit team then you should spend a bit more if you’re able to. With service providers, the amount can also vary depending on their relationship with your business. But gifts of around $20 in value are usually pretty safe for people like postal workers.

  • Divide your total gifting budget among the recipient categories.
  • Consider the nature of your relationship with each recipient group to determine appropriate spending.
  • Allocate more for clients or employees who have significantly contributed to your business success.

how much should you spend on business gift

Remember Business Gift Deductions

While the act of gifting is rooted in gratitude, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of its financial implications. Business gifts, while an added expense, can swing in your favor during tax season.

If your gifts hover around or below the $25 mark and you meet specific IRS criteria, you stand to gain from business gift deductions.

It’s a silver lining that can offset a portion of the gifting expenditure, providing a financial cushion. Check the details on the IRS website to ensure you leverage this provision to the fullest.

  • Familiarize yourself with IRS rules regarding business gift deductions.
  • Keep individual gift expenses around or below the $25 mark to qualify for deductions.
  • Maintain proper documentation and receipts for all gift purchases.

Consider Alternative Gifts

Monetary constraints shouldn’t dampen the spirit of gratitude. If the budget tightens, it’s time to think out of the box. After all, it’s the thought that counts, and sometimes, more heartfelt gifts come without hefty price tags.

Personalized letters, offering exclusive service/product discounts, or sharing a batch of homemade treats are all gestures that scream appreciation.

Another avenue to explore is hosting an office or business festive gathering. It might come with its price tag, but the shared moments and camaraderie can more than compensate.

  • Get creative with non-material gifts such as service discounts, exclusive offers, or heartfelt notes.
  • Explore group activities or events as alternative ways to show appreciation.
  • Personalize gifts to add emotional value without significant financial costs.

how much should you spend on business gift

Spread Out the Expense

Strategic financial planning is key to sustainable gifting. If the holiday season feels financially overwhelming, it might be wise to stagger your gifting throughout the year. This not only ensures your bank doesn’t break but also offers regular touchpoints of appreciation.

Maybe, service providers get a token of appreciation during the festive season, while top-tier clients get a new year gift. Employees might be celebrated on personal milestones like birthdays.

The crux is to remain consistent in your appreciation, ensuring that delaying gifts doesn’t translate to forgetting them.

By forward-planning, the financial burden gets diffused, making the process more manageable.

  • Plan to give gifts throughout the year to manage cash flow better.
  • Celebrate individual milestones or seasons to keep the gesture meaningful.
  • Regular, smaller gestures of appreciation can be more impactful than a single large gift.

Embrace Bulk Purchasing

Bulk purchasing involves buying gifts in larger quantities, which often leads to cost benefits and streamlines the gifting process.

  • Cost Savings: Bulk buying usually comes with reduced prices per unit.
  • Uniformity: Provides consistency in gifts, especially beneficial for larger teams or client groups.
  • Time Efficiency: Reduces the time spent on selecting and acquiring individual gifts.

Leverage Promotional Deals

This strategy involves taking advantage of special offers, seasonal discounts, and vendor relationships to make the most of your budget.

  • Seasonal Offers: Utilize holiday or seasonal discounts for savings.
  • Early Bird Discounts: Purchase gifts early to capitalize on early offers.
  • Vendor Relationships: Cultivate vendor relationships for potential discounts on large orders.

Incorporate Handmade or DIY Gifts

Opting for handmade or DIY gifts adds a personal touch and can be more cost-effective compared to buying ready-made items.

  • Personal Touch: Handcrafted gifts offer a unique and memorable experience.
  • Cost-Effective: Typically more budget-friendly than purchasing retail items.
  • Team Building: Creating DIY gifts can be a team activity, enhancing team bonding.

Gift Experiences Over Items

Instead of physical gifts, offering experiences can create lasting memories and provide a range of options to fit different budgets.

  • Memorable Impact: Experiential gifts tend to be more impactful and memorable.
  • Cost Versatility: Range of options from affordable local experiences to more exclusive ones.
  • Personalization: Tailor experiences to individual tastes and preferences.

Utilize Digital Gifting Options

Digital gifts such as e-gift cards or online subscriptions offer flexibility and are an increasingly popular gifting choice.

  • E-Gift Cards: Convenient and adaptable to a wide range of preferences.
  • Subscriptions: Offer subscriptions to relevant services or digital platforms.
  • Flexibility: Allows recipients to choose their preferred items or experiences.

Implement a Gifting Policy

Establishing a company-wide gifting policy ensures consistency, fairness, and financial discipline in corporate gifting.

  • Set Clear Guidelines: Clear policies help in maintaining uniformity and fairness in gifting.
  • Budget Limits: Define and adhere to budgetary constraints.
  • Transparency: Ensures clarity and prevents misunderstandings or disputes.

Focus on Charitable Giving

Incorporating charitable donations as gifts aligns with social responsibility and can provide tax benefits.

  • Social Responsibility: Reflects the company’s commitment to social causes.
  • Group Impact: Donations made in the name of employees or clients can have a broader impact.
  • Tax Benefits: Often, charitable donations are tax-deductible.

Monitor and Adjust Annually

Regularly reviewing and adjusting the gift budget strategy helps in maintaining its relevance and effectiveness.

  • Annual Review: Assess the budget and strategy’s effectiveness yearly.
  • Feedback Inclusion: Use recipient feedback to refine future gifting plans.
  • Adapt to Changes: Modify the strategy based on business evolution, financial changes, and feedback.

As you work to determine your gift budget, utilizing a structured breakdown can simplify the process. The table below provides a framework for you to fill in, allowing you to tailor your budget allocations to different recipient categories within your business community:

Recipient TypeApproximate BudgetNotes
Employees_______Consider spending roughly the same for each employee.
Clients (big accounts)_______Adjust based on client's importance or account size.
Service Providers_______Think about individuals like postal workers, cleaners, etc.
Upper Management_______You might opt to allocate a bit more for these individuals.


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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.

2 Reactions
  1. You need to know what you should give away and to how many. This will help you keep track of how much you are spending on gifts.

  2. Thank you for sharing this post with us. It has helped me a lot to build backlinks for my website.

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