The ethics of corporate gifts

corporate gifts

When it comes to showing appreciation for clients or people you work with, corporate gifts are a great way to do it. Some of the best gifts for clients and customers are thoughtful, personal and show that you want to maintain a long, mutually beneficial relationship with them. 

While corporate gifts have a number of benefits, you do have to be aware of ethical considerations. 

For example, there are some industries where you might not be able to send a gift. There are also considerations as far as the IRS, and these are the things detailed below. 

cigar gifts ideas

What If Someone Can’t Accept a Gift?

It might feel heartbreaking to send a corporate gift only to have someone tell you they can’t accept it. Ethics and transparency are essential across all industries, but some are stricter than others regarding gift policies. Maybe it would be best to ask someone from the company to give you corporate gifts ideas. What can you send someone to express gratitude without being offensive or breaking the rules?

The pharmaceutical industry is an example. Others include media, government, technology, nonprofits, and financial services. 

In recent decades, the business world has become increasingly concerned with corporate gift-giving policies. 

A lot of companies are putting in place or already have in place gift and entertainment policies. 

Employees have to think if they accept a gift whether it could compromise the duty to act in the client’s best interest. Regulators indicate firms should have strong control and recording measures if gifts are received or given to avoid anything that could even appear as a conflict of interest. Companies want to ensure they’re not doing anything that could damage their reputation. 

Why Are There Policies About Giving Gifts In Corporate Settings?

This is touched on a bit above, but corporate gift-giving policies are meant to make sure organizations stay compliant with anti-bribery laws but also are able to maintain their reputation and integrity. 

If a company doesn’t have policies in place, they’re at risk of fines, or they could lose opportunities. There is even the potential for jail time. 

The concept of giving someone a gift is meant as a way of showing appreciation and kindness, and that’s almost always what it’s meant to be and how it’s received. 

However, in decades past, particularly in financial services and medical marketing, vendors and sales reps would take their clients to expensive events and gift them with luxury items. These clients were usually the decision-makers for big purchases. 

The media industry, which can be heavily influenced by advertisers spending that’s in the millions of dollars, was also scrutinized for gifting. 

In some industries, there are guidelines determining who can give and accept gifts, the value of the gifts, and other elements of gift giving. 

What’s a Bribe?

The General Federal Bribery Statute defines bribes as directly or indirectly giving corruptly, offering, or promising anything valuable to someone who’s a public official or a person selected to be a public official. The intention is theoretically to influence an official act or to influence the gift recipient to commit fraud or act otherwise unlawfully. 

These laws apply specifically to elected officials and the people who work for them. 

Bribery laws can also apply to witnesses for trials or hearings, members of Congress, people who work in a government agency, or an officer who’s legally authorized to hear testimony or evidence. 

There’s the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act also, which was put in place to prohibit people and organizations from making payments or promising to pay foreign government officials. This includes gifts as well as money. 

Of course, in a corporate gifting situation, you may not have to worry about any of these things, but these laws provide some of the background as to why it’s relevant. 

What will a Corporate Gift Policy Usually Include?

There are many variations of corporate gift policies, but most will include details on which employees can give gifts and the situations where it would or would not be appropriate. They’ll include who outside the organization can give gifts and when it is and isn’t considered appropriate. There may be policies for receiving gifts and what’s generally considered acceptable, generally unacceptable, and unacceptable. Policies typically include a maximum monetary value for gifts too. 

What Gifts Are Usually Considered Acceptable?

If you’re a recipient of a corporate gift, make sure you’re clear on the company policies of your employer and the law. You can ask HR or the finance department at your office to review policies that could be applicable to you. 

Most often acceptable gifts include low-value items with a company logo, meals, and perishable gifts. 

Gifts may need to be approved by a supervisor, which would be noted in the policy too. 

As far as what’s not permitted, corporate gifting policies often say that gifts can’t be given to government officials or be high-value or lavish. 

Good ideas for things you can gift in a corporate setting include:

  • Things that are sharable, like a team lunch or baked items. This allows an entire department or office to enjoy the gift without it seeming as if you’re showing favoritism to your main contact. 
  • Charitable gifts can be a great way to build your brand. 
  • Low-cost, fun, and unique items are often a good way to go. You can do anything from tech gifts to mugs, sunglasses, or tumblers. Low-cost and even quirky gifts show you’re thinking of someone or that you appreciate them, but you aren’t getting into a risky legal or ethical area. 

If you ever find yourself dealing with a situation where you have doubt about whether or not someone can accept a corporate gift or if the gift you’re thinking about giving is appropriate, it’s always best to ask. Some large companies will publish their codes of conduct online, so you can check that. For smaller companies, or if you can’t find the information online, just give the company a call. 

If someone such as a prospect or client refuses your gift, you can use that as a chance to clarify the policies and let them know you’ll keep that in mind going forward. 

If you want to show someone appreciation in a highly regulated industry, it’s especially important to ask before you send anything. 

Other articles from – –

Air vent cleaning Montreal
Before and after picture of a typical air duct cleaning in a home

Dryer vent cleaning in Montreal and surrounding areas – Mtl Duct Cleaning

Mtl Wine Gal

Mtl Wine Gal bringing affordable high-end private imported wine to your table

Is it possible to get an A for a 5-paragraph essay assignment in 1 hour? We can safely say yes, a student can get an A+ mark if he turns to EduJungles

Travelling to Toronto

Is Toronto really a great city to live in?

Almost everyone wants to be able to work and support their families, own a home with a nie basement waterproofing, and live a quiet existence while being safe and happy, regardless of where they are in the globe. Toronto ranks among livable cities in the world, most recently ranking #4 on that list. It makes

Guinness 0

Guinness 0 officially made it to Canada

Guinness 0 Non-alcoholic Draught from the world’s leading stout, has officially made its way into Canada, featuring the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour, and unique dark colour that is unmistakably Guinness. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Guinness invites Canadians to enjoy a can of Non-Alcoholic Guinness Draught through unexpected means — a vending


Cricket Betting in Canada

Betting on cricket games is a global phenomenon, and Canada is no exception. The game of cricket has been growing in popularity across the nation, with more Canadians showing an interest in both the sport and its betting possibilities. But what exactly is cricket betting, and how is it regulated in Canada? Let’s delve into

Politicians flout their own rules on self-islolation – social distancing

Rules on self-islolation – social distancing – It’s a truism that politicians speak out of both sides of their mouths. The tone-deaf politician who upends their own message is a staple of stand-up comedy. Nowhere is this proving to be more true than in the rhetoric-reality divide on COVID-19 except that there is nothing funny

Montreal boat show

Montreal boat show in the Old Port

From Friday September 22, 9:00a.m., to Sunday, September 24, 4:00p.m., it’s the rendez-vous for boating and recreational water sports enthusiasts : the Bateau à flot de Montréal.  The event is back for its 14th edition, with over 100 new boats to discover all in one place!  It’s an opportunity to visit and try out boats on the water all weekend long.

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox