Black and white Adidas gift card on a flat surface

Gift Cards for Coaches: How to Choose One They Actually Want

Gift cards for coaches are the perfect way to show your appreciation and say thank you at the end of a season or on special occasions.

They seem like a straightforward gift to purchase. But when you go to choose one for your child’s coach, some questions may arise.

  • How do you choose the right gift card that shows your coach just how much they mean to you and your family?
  • Are there any legal considerations that should be taken into account?
  • What’s the best way to package and deliver the gift card to the recipient?

Today’s blog answers all of these questions and more. If you’re looking for great ideas for getting your coach a gift that’s unique yet practical, read on.

Table of Contents

How to Choose the Right Gift Card for Your Coach

Legal Considerations When Giving Gift Cards to Coaches

How to Organize a Gift Card as a Group

Gifts to Accompany Gift Cards

Recap of Tips for Buying Gift Cards for Coaches

Free Download: How to Make Organizing a Group Gift Easier

How to Choose the Right Gift Card for Your Coach

Meaningful gift cards for coaches reflect their interests and preferences. Use the process below to guide you.

First, think about your coach’s likes and preferences.

  • What type of activities do they enjoy?
  • Do they like to go out to eat or shop for new clothes?
  • What’s their favorite sports team?

Next, think about what they need.

  • What could facilitate or bring pleasure to their life?
  • Would that be a grocery store gift card so they can buy food for their family? A movie theater gift card so they can take the kids out on weekends?
  • What practical items could make your coach’s life easier?

Finally, think about your coach’s personality.

  • Are they an outdoorsy person?
  • Do they like fashion?
  • Do they like brand names or are they a bargain shopper?

No answer to any of the above questions is right or wrong. The answers are just meant to guide you in choosing a gift card that your coach will truly appreciate.

How to Figure Out Your Coach’s Preferences

If you don’t know your child’s coach that well, you’re not alone. But if you want the coach to feel truly appreciated, it’s important to know what kind of gift card will make the most impact in their life.

Here’s how to determine your coach’s interests so that you can purchase a gift card accordingly:

  • Pay attention to your coach the next time you see them. What brands/style of clothing are they wearing? Do they carry a water tumbler or certain brand of drink? Are they wearing any accessories? Take note of anything you see that could make a great gift card.
  • Strike up a short conversation. Does your coach mention their spouse or kids, a restaurant, hobby, movie, etc.? Take note of any repeated phrases or excited facial expressions when they talk about a certain topic. Use those to guide your gift card choice.
  • Find them on social media. Nothing helps you determine someone’s personality and likes/dislikes than their social media content. What does your coach post? Pictures of family, friends, and/or social events? Do they talk about certain restaurants, hobbies, events, sports teams, etc.? You can turn any of that information into a meaningful gift card.
  • Ask your child. Your children spend much more time with the coach than you. Ask them if the coach ever mentions a sports team, food, movie, or activity that they really like. Pay attention to any inside jokes they mention from the team. This can give you hints about what the coach finds funny/enjoyable.
  • Ask past athletes, coworkers, friends, etc. If you have access to anyone who knows your coach better than you do, consider asking them what type of gift card your coach would like. These people might be parents of students who have had your coach in the past, other teachers who know your coach, or people in the community who have had more interaction with your coach than you. Keep a log of gift recommendations from these people. You can refer to it on the next gift giving occasion to make this process even easier.

Still not sure what your coach likes?

If you haven’t been able to gain much intel about your coach, that’s okay. Maybe your coach isn’t on social media. Or maybe they don’t reveal much about their personality. Perhaps they are just a very private person.

For whatever reason, sometimes it’s just plain hard to determine what type of gift card your coach would really like. In that case, consider doing the following:

  • Purchase a Visa gift card. Prepaid Visa gift cards can be used at virtually any brick-and-mortar or online store. This gives your coach flexibility in where they spend the gift card instead of locking them into a particular establishment.
  • Give them cash. Giving cash to a coach may feel crass or impersonal. But consider this. Most likely, your coach is not getting paid. They’re either volunteering out of good will, a passion for the sport, and a passion for coaching kids and students. Or, if they’re a teacher, they’re also volunteering as part of their expected duties. Cash gives your coach the ultimate freedom to spend your gift how they wish.

Now comes the not-as-fun part of shopping for a gift card for your coach. The legal side.

Local laws and regulations may have specific requirements for gifts given in educational or sports settings.

Before buying or donating, consult with the governing body of the sports league. Ask the school, local Parks & Recreation Department, or other governing organization about policies around coach gifts.

Additionally, some tax implications may apply to gifting a coach with a gift card. For example, some states require that taxes are paid on these types of gifts if they exceed certain amounts.

Finally, it is essential to know the more “implied” rules around gift giving culture of your child’s sports league. For example, gifts exceeding a certain amount of money may be either encouraged or frowned upon.

Don’t Forget State-Specific Gifting Laws

State laws are a consideration. For instance, in 2022, California required that gifts exceeding $16,000 must be reported to the IRS by an individual such as a coach.

Additionally, some states limit how much can be gifted without having it count towards an individual’s estate tax liability.

Conversely, other states allow unlimited gifting without taxation consequences. Understanding these nuances ahead of time can save you from potential headaches in the future.

Researching gift rules and policies can be boring and tedious. However, you’ll be so glad you spent a bit of time up front to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

Taking that step helps protect everyone involved in giving and receiving group gifts for coaches.

Adhering to relevant statutes is essential in order to avoid any sanctions or repercussions that may result from not conforming with local legalities associated with this kind of activity.

Key Takeaway: Here’s the thing. The repercussions of accidentally violating gift card rules and policies may be unlikely.However, you’ll sleep much better after doing some quick research into your state and organization’s rules and ensuring your gift adheres to them.

How to Organize a Gift Card as a Group

Organizing group gifts for coaches can be a daunting task.

Fortunately, there are several simple steps that you can take to make the process easier and ensure your coach loves their gift.

First, create an internet-based donation page. This allows everyone who wishes to contribute to do so easily and securely.

Contributors to gift cards for coaches of course includes parents of the children on the team, the children themselves depending on their age. Additionally, contributors can include:

  • Other staff and faculty if the sports league is through a school
  • Community members, such as teachers who work with the coach, business owners who sponsor the league, and school or team alums
  • Parents and children who aren’t directly affiliated with the coach, but still want to appreciate them.

Next, consult with your group. Settle on a budget and kind of gift card. Consider what your coach likes or needs before making any decisions. Not sure what they like? Use our questions above.

Then, use the funds from the donation page to purchase the gift card. Select one that truly reflects the coach’s likes and personality.

Now, package the gift card. Consider placing it in a small gift bag or nicely designed small envelope.

Finally, present the gift card to the coach. You might do this at an end-of-season party, last game before a school break, or another auspicious time.

You might ask one of the athletes to tell the coach at the end of a game or practice that the team has something for them. Present the gift and get ready to feel the happiness that comes from demonstrating appreciation for someone.

How to organize a cash gift

Is your group giving a cash gift? That’s a great idea. Use our tips below for seamless organizing:

  • Designate someone in your group to gather cash donations from all contributors
  • Choose one digital platform to collect money–Venmo, Zelle, PayPal etc.
  • After all contributions are submitted, send the balance to the coach via the digital platform. Ask the coach beforehand if they’d consider downloading the platform so that you can transfer the cash easily. While this might ruin the surprise of a cash gift, it makes delivering the cash fast and simple.

Gifts to Accompany Gift Cards

Sometimes a gift card in an envelope makes a great gift. However, depending on the occasion, coupling the gift card with another small gift can be the perfect token of appreciation for a coach.

A present that accompanies a gift card doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming to put together. In fact, it’s best for the accompanying gift to cost little to zero dollars and require little effort.

It may be tempting to include flowers, candy, or a homemade item with a gift card to your coach. But if you don’t know the coach that well, those gifts may not make them feel appreciated.

In fact, gifts such as flowers and candy could cause the coach some frustration if they have allergies, dietary restrictions, or people or pets at home to consider.

Best Gift to Accompany Gift Cards for Coaches

So, what’s the best gift to include with a gift card to your coach?

Here’s some guidance from actual coaches we found from a simple Quora search:

  • “I’ve always preferred more sentimental things from my team–I don’t need them to go all materialistic on me.”
  • “The best gift is always a card from a kid that simply says thanks for making a positive difference in their life.”
  • “I really don’t need gifts, I just love the heartfelt thank yous that come in from the athletes and parents.”

Based these answers, the best accompanying gift for coaches is a personal note or signed group card.

Why is a personal note or card the best gift? Two reasons:

  1. It requires little effort and expense from you and/or your family
  2. It allows you to speak from the heart about the impact the coach made on your child and/or family. That’s what coaches want. They want a simple, sentimental gift that speaks to the time and energy they poured into your child–for free–all season.

Not sure what to write in a note or group card? Adapt these sentence-starters for a message to your coach.

To make the note or card even more special, you can personalize it with photos from throughout season.

Key Takeaway: Formulating a meaningful, affordable token of appreciation for your coach can be achieved through a group gift card and simple, personalized notes from the team.

Recap of Tips for Buying Gift Cards for Coaches

To summarize, here are the key points to consider when purchasing a gift card for your coach:

  • Purchasing the perfect gift cards for coaches requires you to know their likes and preferences. Check out their social media, take note of what they wear, listen to any mentions of restaurants, movies, or sports teams they like. Use that intel to select a gift card that you know your coach will like and use.
  • A cash gift is a perfectly acceptable–and even superior–gift for coaches. It gives them ultimate flexibility.
  • Be sure to consider any rules or policies around giving gifts to your coach. Call the governing body of your sports league and do some research on gifting rules and tax implications in your state. Also, ask around about the “implied” rules about coach gifts.
  • If you’re organizing a gift card as a group of parents/students, use an online donation page to collect contributions. Then, use the funds to purchase the card or send the coach the cash balance.
  • A personal note or signed card from the team is a perfect gift to accompany a gift card. Remember, coaches want to know that they’ve made an impact on the kids and students they’ve coached. Personal notes or a group card with individual messages is affordable, simple, and impactful.

Free Download: How to Make Organizing a Group Gift Easier

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