Holiday event giveaways – what works when your budget won’t budge

Although there are glimmers of recovery, this year is shaping up to be another lean holiday season. Some groups are scrapping their holiday events altogether. Others are just scaling back. Still others will host an event, but will consider the event itself their gift to the attendees.

Holiday event giveaways on a budget

If you are still holding a holiday event, but have a budget restraint on giveaways, what are some options that will make an impact while saving cash?

  • Playing Santa – If your party group is going to be made up of lots of parents with younger children (or grandparents with grandchildren), focus on giveaways or gifts for the kids. Most adults get a kick out of delighting younger kids. And in a tough economy, these extra gifts for the little ones could help stretch the household gift budget. One word of caution: Make sure any promotion you buy for children is intended for the age group of the recipients. Some people are enamored with “cute” promotions that actually present safety or choking hazards (stress reliever balls are a big no-no for children). A safer, and usually inexpensive, promotion to consider would be holiday colouring books and non-toxic crayons.
  • The Grand Prize Game – Instead of giving everyone something, you could also have a drawing or game for one or more larger prizes. This helps keep attendees engaged at the event and creates excitement. You could use scratch-off cards for one prize, then collect all non-winning cards for a drawing on another prize. With the popularity of scratch off lottery cards in many regions, people do find these games to be a fun activity. Some of your vendors may be willing to donate prizes. Can’t hurt to ask.
  • Doing Good – This could be an activity that starts well before the event. Building on the Grand Prize Game idea, you could have your employees or group members collect donations—cash, food, clothing, etc.—that will be given to a local charity. Those who bring in the greatest number or volume of eligible donations could be in line for a prize. You could have first, second and third place prizes. Or you could award some smaller prize or giveaway for each donation given. Easy items to give away in volume would be music download cards, free movie tickets or rentals, discount coupons at popular stores, or cash gift cards that function like credit cards. The more they donate, the more they collect. You might even want to approach local partner businesses which may want to donate gift coupons to help promote their company and participate in your charitable effort. This also offers a public relations opportunity for your company or organization. With their permission, take photos of your group with the pile of donations or one of those larger-than-life cheques.

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