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by Linda Leier Thomason


What to give to whom? Where to leave the gift: registration table, meeting room, or guest room? What is meaningful and transport- able? What are the choices for the amount allocated in the budget? Do they represent the quality and message of the organization? Are they even necessary? Maybe planners are over-thinking meeting gifts. It’s true. The days of delivering simple baskets of snacks and bottled water to guest rooms are fading, but today options are more plentiful and affordable than ever. 10 tips to consider when making gift selections for meeting participants:


• Theme the gift to the location. For example, beach bags filled with a branded beach towel, sunglasses and mini bottles of sunscreen and hand sanitizer are perfect for beach or resort meeting locales.


• Local items are always meaningful. Bar-b-que sauces, home canned or dried fruit or locally made soaps pique the interest of registrants, especially if they come with a note about their origin and how to order.


• Consider replacing high-ticket gifts with random recognition throughout the meeting. Supply staff with low dollar gift cards, movie passes, special seating as- signments, etc. and ask them to distribute at random times throughout the event. Attach a note of appreciation to each card. The surprise element creates buzz amongst regis- trants.


• Understand who can and cannot receive gifts. Many government employees have strict limitations on what can be accepted and at what dollar amount.


• Consider limiting gifts to only those who meet the Early Bird Registrant cut-off date. • Leave a photo and gift description in the guest room with a note explaining this gift will be awaiting them at home. This solves the portability issue and eliminates shipping logistics and expenses.


• In lieu of registrant gifts, make a donation to a scholarship fund or non-profit organization and communicate this gesture from the 18 MIDWEST MEETINGS FALL 2012


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