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Ask FVO!: How do I Hold a Staff Appreciation Event Without Breaking the Bank?



Ask-FVO-NEW-PICBellaNaija is pleased to announce a new column for our special readers – Ask FVO! Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO)  is an expert in event planning & management, and is now a  BellaNaija contributor.

FVO is the Chief Executive and Lead Production Designer of No Surprises Events. Her corporate client base spans industries as diverse as technology, entertainment, banking, government and consumer goods across sub-Saharan Africa.

Need help planning a family dinner, birthday party, seminar, wedding, board meeting, concert or just curious about how the professionals do some of their amazing tricks? If you have a burning question, just Ask FVO and get a focused, clear, no-nonsense answer!


Dear FVO,

I want to hold an appreciation event for my staff. We’ve had our most productive Q3 yet and I’d like to say thank you without having to spend too much money in the process. Any advice?




Dear Ifeoma,

There are so many ways to appreciate your staff without robbing the bank. Sometimes a limited budget forces you to be creative! You don’t have to have a big event if you can’t afford it. You don’t want to throw an event and not be able to pay your staff now do you?

You can award points for little things like punctuality, meeting deadlines etc. You can then create your own gift vouchers and staff can win things like ‘ A day off work’, ‘ice cream for two’ (with a nominated colleague) etc.

I once showed my appreciation to one of my team mates by pretending to drag him off for a meeting with a client at the Palms shopping mall and proceeded to get us tickets for a movie. I thought that was cool even if I say so myself. I think he liked it…I hope he liked it


As staff, what creative ways have your employers shown staff appreciation? And if you are an employer please share creative ways that you have shown staff appreciation from full scale events through to small gestures, I’d love to hear from you.

Send your questions for FVO to askFVO(at) stating your name and where you are writing from. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for content brevity and clarity. We regret that we cannot provide individual answers to questions sent in and cannot state at which exact date answers would be published.

We look forward to reading your emails and tweets with questions.

Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO) is the Chief Executive and Lead Production Designer of No Surprises Events. Her corporate client base spans industries as diverse as technology, entertainment, banking, government and consumer goods across sub-Saharan Africa. No Surprises Events practices an in-house methodology termed “Event Architecture” which they hold delivers world class events in a predictable on-time and on-budget fashion. Developed over the years, “Event Architecture” has become the company’s trademark as well as a FVO’s personal approach to creating and managing events for corporate and individual clients. The approach has since been incorporated into FVO’s other venture, The Wedding Company. Visit


  1. O'kel

    September 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I work in a large organization but manage a 9-man team. My team has been spectacular so far this year in service delivery and other aspects of their work, so I have been planning for some time now to have an eat-out with them at an exclusive restaurant, and maybe give an awkward speech about how awesome it has been working with them, blah, blah, bleh…
    Past years, I have given gifts of recharge card and cash.

  2. Njide

    September 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I am the HR Manager in a retail Company and i have over 150 sales staff and they have all been meeting their target for the year. I intend to have a proper award night during the Christmas holidays. Any ideas? i dont want to break the bank too 😉

  3. Bintata

    September 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    She never answers the questions.

    They asked about how to hold an event without breaking the bank, not how to appreciate staff in general.

    • koko

      September 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      so true!!!
      i always look forward to her segments but always leave unsatisfied…
      if you’re not ready to reveal trade secrets, please don’t bother!

  4. Funmi Victor-Okigbo

    September 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    @ O’kel taking your team to a restaurant is a good way to go and you can always meet with the restaurant owner/manager to discuss a fixed menu, this is always cheaper, also depending on the number of your team members you could get even more discount if you ask based on the numbers, sometimes all you have to do is ask. It doesn’t have to always be a fancy restaurant though, you can also take them out for pizza or even a picnic.

    @Njide, waiting for the Christmas holidays is also a good idea, you can seize the opportunity of the end of year/Christmas party to reward staff instead of having another party just to show staff appreciation, that way you don’t have to spend money on two parties

    @ Bintata I answered the question, today’s post is to encourage others to also share their ideas as O’kel just did, besides an event is not always a party, the dictionary meaning of an event is “a thing that happens or takes place, especially one of importance” an event could involve from 2 people to thousands of people, and could just be two people going out for lunch technically and that was what I was trying to say with my post this week. No one should be put under pressure to throw a party they cannot afford. I hope this was helpful?

  5. D

    September 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Disclaimer: I am not an Event Planner but this is just based on what I have seen my bosses do when we are pinch pennies during the last quarter. Do something informal, we have had cookies and ice cream floats for appreciation or finger foods, if you are in Nigeria, meatpie, donuts and the likes, We meet in a conference room that we have (Make sure it is during work hours, no one wants to take time out of their personal schedule for all that stuff at least in my company) and play games where you can give away recharge cards, free movie tickets or even a free day off with good advance notice. You want to do it during work hours because then they feel they are also getting time off even if it is only a couple hours and the games also help with team building or bonding as I call it. I guess my point is go informal so,No rice and chicken is necessary and only winners of games get a gift. You don’t appear cheap or appear to give someone preferential treatment that way. Saving you cost.

  6. mirilicious

    September 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Option 1: Buy them all a gift voucher at some store
    Option 2: hold a small TGIF with barbecue, drinks and pizza after work and of course make a small speech appreciating each of them. Pls remember to call their names out correctly, don’t generalize.
    Option 3: Take them all out to the beach or some resort eg, lekki leisure lake. You can allow them to come with their plus ones.
    Option 4: Buy them cheap deals on dealdey like Spas or cart riding or a special gift for each of them.

    Wish you all the best.

  7. Njide

    September 19, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Thanks Funmi, will be needing your help to plan that party

  8. Miracle Ibeji

    October 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Very Useful.

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