Organizing The Work Farewell Gift

Organizing a work farewell gift can be another chore on top of your workload,  but it doesn't have to be hard.

Just follow the tips below to make execution easier than thinking up the goodbye gift itself.

If you find farewells fun, or in fact the only creative thing about your workplace, then the whole thing is a lot easier.

But you may still need to get other people on board.

This can be harder when the workplace is particularly transient, with a high turn-over.

Sometimes it's just hard getting people motivated to contribute ("if you want love look in your pay packet" is one comment I've overheard!) so it will help to describe how the person leaving has helped people/ went above and beyond to make things easier for others/ made everyone's work day better. 

This way, you are priming people's feelings and hopefully it will make their wallet less stiff!

The other challenge is what to get that person - you may not know them very well, or you don't know what they already have, or you don't know what they would really like.  There are plenty of ideas on this site but try to use the human capital, that is, your fellow workmates, to help you out.

Follow the principles below to make it easier for people to put money in.

Step By Step Guide

1. Take charge.

Plan ahead, make sure you start with plenty of time.

Email and let people know that you will be organizing the going away gift.

Suggest a price range that you think the workplace together should spend.  Be discreet if people email you back with a different idea of how much to spend.   Nobody likes to be judged for their thriftiness!

When people know that you are in charge, it makes things easier for them.

Solicit replies that include suggestions on the goodbye gift or price, especially if you don't know the person very well.

For people who don't want to give their money, ask if they can make a cake for morning tea (see below), or help decorate the morning tea table (giving time).

Note: If you can find something online, such as the farewell gift shop, you can send the link around, further brainwashing work colleagues and gaining their tacit acceptance. People are more likely to donate if they know exactly what their money is buying.

2. Tell them what and how much.
    After a period of time (e.g. three days), decide on the present.
    Then email people to tell them how much each they are required to donate.
    This serves as a further reminder to donate.

3. Keep a list, and purchase.
    It is better to get the funds from people before buying the farewell present.
    Keep a list of who has donated, and how much. 

    When you have the required amount, go ahead and purchase.

4. Make the process transparent.

    Refund excess money, or buy a second item.
    An excess of a couple dollars, however, is ok for you to keep for your labour.
    If that will become an issue, then spend all the money on going away gifts.

5. Be discreet, polite and professional

Everyone wants to leave on a good note - how you act to your colleagues as you collect money actually reflects the vibes onto the person leaving!  If you bully people to donate, the person leaving is resented!  And you'll still be there, not having a great time in a workplace where people don't like you!  So above all, represent yourself well.  Hopefully your eventual farewell will be lovely too.

Lacking Donations?

  • People are happier to donate if they think the purchase is really good value (e.g. the item is free and people only need to pay for the engraving).  This should mean a small donation anyway from colleagues, so it should not be an imposition.

  • Of course, it would be much easier if there was no donation required - if the workplace could provide something free, or the purchase can be funded from petty cash or a miscellaneous budget - find out beforehand.
  • You are more likely to get donations if the person leaving has been at the workplace for a certain amount of time (at least a year in some organisations, longer for others) and if most of the people in the workplace has worked with them during that time.

    So a workplace with mostly new starters of 6 months, even if the person leaving was there for 5 years, is not going to have a high donation rate...
    Start enquiring about the petty cash.

  • All things should be voluntary, so if people don't want to contribute, don't force it.
    Everyone has their own reasons, and you don't want to make workplace relations difficult.
  • It can be very painful if you are buying a farewell gift, and getting out of pocket, that the whole workplace takes the credit for.

           If you find yourself in this situation - just make it a             personal gift.

           List yourself and any other contributors in the goodbye gift card.

           Whether you want to present this farewell gift in 'public' is up to you.

  • If the workplace is very transient, with a farewell every six months for people who don't stay long enough, think about whether it is worth going to the effort of the farewell gift. Maybe a card would suffice, if at all.

    Those who stay longer are also not going to be happy to have to donate every six months for people constantly leaving.

  • A cost effective idea is to say goodbye during an informal morning tea.
    The company should be able to provide some cake or cookies, or someone kind can bake something.  Having everyone turn up to farewell the person leaving, in a congenial atmosphere, is still a lovely send-off.

How to create a nice goodbye vibe

It's not what you give, it's how you make them feel.

No time to think of gift ideas?

Click to browse the farewell gift shop!