The Best Gifts and Swag Ideas for Intern Appreciation

Company Swag & Gifts for Intern Appreciation
Scott Kalapos on Nov 21, 2023

Interns are usually temporary members of your staff who join the team at lower pay or sometimes unpaid to gain work experience. Internship programs can be helpful for your business, and even though they are learning, you should always treat your interns as you would any other employee or customer. 

Your interns are probably eager to learn, and while interns are gaining valuable business skills, you don’t want them to feel underappreciated. 

Giving interns gifts and promotional swag can make an intern feel like part of the team and create a positive company culture. Remember you are the mentor to your interns. If they do a great job and enjoy working with your team, they may very well go on to become full-time employees. Interns who get hired after their internships are even more likely to stay with the company (opens in a new window) long-term than traditional new hires. 

The Importance Of Making Interns Feel Valued

Make Interns Feel Valued

We show appreciation for customers and make employees feel valued, interns should be treated with the same respect. When employees and interns are recognized for their contributions, it boosts company morale and creates a positive work environment for everyone. 

How do I make my intern feel welcome? You can make your intern feel welcome with verbal encouragement, giving them recognition and guiding them to additional skill sets that will help them grow, and giving them branded swag apparel of office items during onboarding. You want your interns to know they're a valued member of the team and that their work is appreciated.

What do you give a student intern? When giving a student intern gifts, consider where they are in life. Students may value a gift card to feed themselves over a t-shirt with the company logo. Show your appreciation with a personalized gift, that matches the student’s needs and is memorable for your business. A good gift idea, for example, is a high-quality tumbler with your company logo and a bag of gourmet coffee or tea they can use with the tumbler. 

When To Give Interns Swag and Gifts

When to give intern gifts

Welcome gifts are popular for onboarding new hires & team members, and they are great for introducing new interns to your brand. Of course, you’ll want to do something special for National Intern Day too. This holiday takes place on the last Thursday of July, so it's a great time to give a little something special to a summer intern. 

The last day of the internship is the most common time to give your thoughtful gift.

What do you give an intern on their last day? On your intern’s last day, consider gathering the office for lunch or having a party so everyone can bid the intern farewell. Most companies will give intern gifts that can help the person in their professional life and be a memento of their time at your company.

Benefits of Giving Branded Swag

Custom logo gifts for interns are great for reminding the interns of the time they had with your organization. When you give a practical gift they will use, not only will it be appreciated, but it also signals to others that the intern was proud of their time with your company. 

Here are some additional benefits:

  • Interns will keep your company in mind as a potential future employer
  • Your interns will know you value their contributions
  • Logo imprinted intern gifts will continue to make impressions for your brand
  • Onboarding gifts can create a positive and encouraging work environment from day one
  • An appreciation gift will foster feelings of connection to and identification with your company
  • High-quality and sustainable swag will make a powerful statement about your company's values

Best Intern Gift Ideas to Show Appreciation

The best gifts for interns reflect individual contributions and interests. So, what is a good gift for an intern? We’ve been helping businesses make promotional gear and corporate gifts for 19 years, and this is our list of items that make good gifts for interns:

1. Company Swag

Items that your interns will use a on daily basis are beneficial swag gifts for both you and the intern. A coffee mug or tumbler can be a great option to use at home and in the office. T-shirts and hoodies are wearable, make your intern feel like part of the team, and as a bonus, create brand awareness when they’re worn out and about. A water bottle might be a better option over a coffee mug, for a more active intern. Remember you want to keep their interests in mind.

When you’re going to offer an onboarding package or multi-item thank-you gift, putting them all together in a tote bag with your logo is eco-friendly wrapping and another gift! Don’t forget a sticker for their laptop too! 

2. Technology and Gadgets

Company logo tech gifts, like a charger or power bank come in handy when phones and tables are running on empty. Earbuds are a perfect tech gadget gift because everyone can use them. They work for people who listen to music on a run, kill time in waiting rooms with a podcast, or stream TV episodes while commuting on trains and buses. If your intern is a gamer, or you know they work best without distractions, noise-blocking headphones are an even better choice than earbuds. 

3. A Useful Gift For Their New Job

Some of the best custom intern gift ideas are items that they'll be able to use at their new job. A personalized pen set, classy desk clock, personalized stationery, or a sturdy briefcase can make the next step in their career feel more professional. By the end of their internship they’ll have new skills and the perfect gift for their new office can help them transition to their full-time role. 

4. A Social Media Shoutout

Not all gifts have to be material in nature. Announce to the world that you’re so excited to bring your intern aboard. It can make them feel welcome and they can share it to let their friends and family know that they’ve landed at a company that cares. 

When it is time for their departure, a fond farewell can also be posted. Your intern will likely be starting the job hunt in the near future and some publicity to their LinkedIn account can help broaden their network. You don’t have to wait for them to leave for an online shout-out either, whenever they make a noteworthy achievement or go above and beyond in their performance, give them the recognition they deserve for their hard work. 

5. Gift Cards

Most of the time your interns will be students. Most students are taking out loans and living on tight budgets to pay for their education. Even if it doesn’t seem very personal, giving a gift card, whether it's for Amazon or a favorite restaurant, gives your intern a little flexibility to use the gift where and when they need it.

Pairing a gift card with a related promotional item can make the gift a little more meaningful.

6. Letters of Recommendation, References, and Mentoring

Offer to provide a letter of recommendation or serve as a reference when your intern is applying for a new job.  It is something that can sway hiring managers and do more to help your intern than any gift you give. If your endorsement is what lands your intern their dream job, you can rest assured that they will never forget the favor. 

Take the time to answer questions or act as a general mentor to interns too. Your experience can serve as a valuable resource to a young person who is trying to establish a foothold in your industry. Always being available to provide support and advice can be key to an intern's success.

7. A Gift Box or Gift Basket

When you want to treat a hardworking intern to something really special, consider a gift box or gift basket. This can consist of a basket or box filled with delicious snacks, a wellness-themed package of self-care items, or a drinkware gift set. If your company operates in a particular industry or your intern has a niche interest, you can pick a theme and create your own gift box too!

8. A Graduation Gift or Christmas Gift

If you're looking for a thoughtful gift idea for interns who aren't presently with the company, consider getting them a birthday present or perhaps a graduation or Christmas gift. This can be something as simple as a greeting card. It’s always nice to know that the company you interned with is still thinking of them, even when they're not around.

9. Your Time

One of the most important gifts you can give to your intern is your time. Outside of mentorship and serving as a professional reference, spending some time with your interns off the clock can be very meaningful as well. Offer to treat them to a morning coffee or a restaurant lunch. They may feel more comfortable asking questions and getting to know the industry in a casual setting than in an office.

This can provide a chance for you to get to know each other better too. Something as simple as sending a text or email to say hello and ask a former intern how they're doing may brighten their day and remind them of the times they had at the company.

10. Unique Gifts to Leave a Lasting Impression

Unique gifts can leave interns with a smile. Cutting boards or other kitchen goods become a part of their home life. A fun idea is to give them scratch cards, where they have a chance at winning various prizes from your business.

For an intern whose internship is ending, but doesn’t yet know they’re being offered a full-time role at your company, create a set of their own business cards as a surprise. A surprise gift is always memorable. 

Get Custom Logo Gifts For Your Interns

Choosing the right corporate gift for your intern will not only leave a good impression, it is a way to make them feel like part of the team, and to acknowledge their hard work and contributions. Even though they are there to learn and grow, they can make a significant impact on your business. Show your appreciation with one of our great gift ideas. 

Order custom gifts for interns from 4AllPromos


Trends in one-year, five-year intern retention rates. Default. (n.d.).  (opens in a new window)



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