The Three Keys to Great Appreciation Gifts

February 18, 2016

Why do we give appreciation gifts? There are lots of possibilities. Most likely, someone has done something great and you want to say thank you or great job. You may give a gift because you want the recipient to d whatever they did again. Maybe you want the individual to have a token to remember an experience you had together or a reminder of your organization. You may simply want to express your appreciation for someone in your life because – let's be honest – we don't say thank you enough these days!

Regardless of the reason you're giving an appreciation gift, gifts matter. Choosing a gift for someone and giving it to them expresses the value that we hold for them. When we take the time and effort to shop, wrap, and give a gift, the process involved is not lost on the recipient. We all know it means something!

Giving a gift is also an effective recognition strategy. For more information, download our Non-Cash Recognition White Paper. It outlines the advantages of giving gifts to recognize and reward behavior. Gifts can improve performance and be a more lasting reminder. Read the white paper for the full story. If you want your gift to really make an impact, there are three keys that you need. For your appreciation gift to be memorable, it should be:

1. Immediate
2. Personal
3. Sincere

Key 1: Immediate - Timing is Everything
When you give an appreciation gift, you're reinforcing a specific behavior. You may be thanking the recipient for giving their time as a volunteer or recognizing her for an outstanding accomplishment. Either way, your timing is important.

A gift given immediately after the behavior is more effective. First, it will make more sense to the recipient. They'll be able to connect the gift to their behavior because they happened close together. It will also make the gift more memorable. When they use the appreciation gift or see it sitting on their desk, they'll be reminded of how they earned it.

Many appreciation gifts are given at an organized event. You may be selecting appreciation gifts to celebrate a recognition holiday (like National Volunteer Week, Employee Appreciation Day, or Teacher Appreciation Day), for team appreciation, or even a birthday.

The timing of gifts given at an event is still important. When you give appreciation gifts at an event, your focus should be on the agenda. Consider how your gifts will be a part of the event, how they support your theme, and how they will make attendees feel when they're leaving. Presenting appreciation gifts at the event is very important, too, and we'll talk about that during the third key, sincere.

Key 2: Personal - Gift Choice Matters
The second key to giving great appreciation gifts is being personal. This puts the focus on the gift you choose for the recipient. Your gift choice is very important! It should resonate with the recipient and be meaningful to their personal experiences. To give a personal gift, it's important to know personal information about your recipient.

We recommend having every member of your team complete the Tell Us About You form. It's a great resource to collect and store personal information that will be helpful to recognize someone. The form asks for favorite foods, hobbies, even restaurants. Keep all this information in an accessible file, and you'll never run out of ideas for appreciation gifts!

Another great way to choose a memorable appreciation gift is to personalize the gift with the recipient's name. It's easy and affordable to create a personalized gift, even for just one person. Choose a gift item, like a journal, gift set, or perpetual calendar, and have the recipient's name, date, and your company name or logo engraved on it. Because you took the time to personalize a gift for the recipient, they'll be more likely to fondly remember the recognition moment!

We also recommend using the Baudville Character Stories to create a personal gift. Character Stories recognize a specific trait, characteristic, or behavior through a story and imagery. When selecting a personal gift, consider using a Character Story. Even if you're recognizing a group, you can choose a unique story for each recipient. Character Stories are found on our popular Character Pins, or you can engrave any story along with the recipient's name, on a variety of engrave any story gifts.

Key 3: Sincere - Delivery is Crucial
The final key to great appreciation gifts is sincerity. We can usually tell when someone is being sincere or insincere, and insincerity can quickly ruin an appreciation moment. Make the extra effort to ensure your gift presentation is sincere, and your gift will be an effective token of appreciation.

If you are not able to give your appreciation gift in person, include a handwritten note with the gift. You can leave the gift on the recipient's desk as a surprise or even ship it to their home address. Your personal note serves as a replacement for what you would have said.

You can also present appreciation gifts in front of the team at a regular meeting or impromptu gathering. If you're recognizing an employee for going above and beyond with work hours and effort for a big project, present his gift in front of the entire team. This presentation will give him the recognition he deserves, and you'll have an opportunity to motivate the rest of the team, too.

When you present a gift in front of a group, spend time preparing your remarks. Sharing a story or specific examples from his work will show that you're a thoughtful individual who pays attention to the team. You can even download our Award Presentation Guide to help you outline what you want to say.

In addition to the words you use to present the appreciation gift, you should pay attention to how your gift looks. Putting your gift in a gift bag or wrapping it will make an impression on the recipient and send a message of your effort. A beautifully wrapped gift lets the recipient know you put time and care into it. Sometimes, that says more than the gift itself!

If you're presenting appreciation gifts at an event, it could be impossible to say something personal to each recipient or select a unique gift for every attendee. You have time working against you! Don't fret. Place your appreciation gifts on the tables at your event at each place setting. They provide decorations for your event and also get attendees excited when they discover the "goodies" at their seats. If your event is not sit-down, have the gifts at a table near the exit. To make them more personal, put a tag on each gift with the recipient's name. Attendees will enjoy the “hunt” as they look for their gift, and it will make the gift feel more sincere then simply asking them to pick up an item as they leave.

Caution for Appreciation Gift
Appreciation gifts are a great way to express appreciation, but if you don't follow these three keys of immediate, personal, and sincere, your gift can backfire on you! Imagine a manager recognizing an employee in front of her team for outstanding customer service. The manager means well, but his presentation is heavy on the sarcasm and deprecating humor. Do you think the employee is going to feel appreciated with the gift? Absolutely not! Consider another true story of an employee who was given an iPod as an appreciation gift. You may think an iPod is a pretty nice appreciation gift – except the employee was deaf! The gift was not personal to him at all!

When you give an appreciation gift, you have great intentions at heart to recognize a valued member of your team. Take the time to follow the three keys – immediate, personal, and sincere – before giving the gift to make the recognition count!

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