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Herzing University

Jessica Dickenson

Best MSW Graduate Gift Ideas From Family and Friends

If you know someone who is graduating from a Master of Social Work (MSW) program, it is the perfect opportunity to give them a meaningful gift to start their career path to becoming a social worker!

Social workers are an essential part of so many organizations. They provide services in hospitals, community organizations, schools, shelters, therapy offices, and many other places. They serve a very public-facing role that is as demanding as it is rewarding.

If you have a personal friend or a family member who is graduating or graduated from a Master of Social Work (MSW) program, it is the perfect opportunity to give them a meaningful gift to start their career path to becoming a social worker or help them continue their lifesaving work!

What Makes a Good Gift?

A good gift is not only functional but also heartfelt. If you know your social work graduate personally and know something that he or she would appreciate, you should thoughtfully give it to them. Your gift does not need to be grandiose for them to love it. If you are brainstorming a gift to give a recent graduate social worker for the holidays, to say thank you or for national social worker month, here are some gift ideas for you to consider.

1. A Heartfelt Letter

Although you may thank your social work graduate for all their hard work, sometimes putting your gratitude into writing can be more impactful. Writing a note can help you think carefully about what you exactly want to say and how you want to say it. You could purchase a nice card or make one at home depending on your preference. Although your letter may not seem like much, it certainly has a greater impact than you know.

However, if you want to give your social work graduate something more tangible, there are many physical gifts that they would appreciate and find useful that you could give in addition to a letter.

2. Travel Mug with Handle

Social workers are often on the move whether it is going from clients' homes or merely focusing on a variety of different projects. Having a quality travel mug for them to hold their hot (or cold) beverages can be a lifesaver. Many brands of mugs are specially designed to keep drinks warm or cold for long periods. Thanks to your thoughtful gift, they will appreciate drinking warm coffee several hours after pouring.

3. Quality Bag

Social workers may frequently travel from location to location during their workday. Instead of carrying armloads of materials, having a sturdy bag on hand is both comfortable and convenient. A secure laptop bag could also be a game-changer for the always-active social worker.

However, if you’ve ever had a bag break, you know that not all are created equal. A flimsy, cumbersome, or small bag could be as much of an inconvenience as just carrying all their items. You will want to find a large, strong canvas bag that will hold all their materials safely. Bags with pockets can also be useful to hold necessities such as keys, water bottles, and folders.

4. Warm Clothes

If you live in a cold climate, you may consider gifting your social work graduate something to keep warm. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to refrain from clothing that requires you to know your social worker's size. Common gifts such as socks, scarves, or a cute hat are nice gifts to slip into on a cold winter morning. If you don’t feel comfortable making style choices, you could also give your social work graduate a pair of hand or boot warmers. The short-term heating packets can be slipped into a bag for later use and can be a lifesaver in the bitter cold.

5. Phone Accessories

Some social workers spend a lot of time in their cars driving to several neighborhoods in one day. Consider purchasing a phone mounting system or other hands-free systems to add to their vehicle. If their car does not have a Bluetooth speaker and/or auxiliary plug, you can either purchase one for them or find a phone plug that can be added to the car's cigarette lighter. Try to find out what type of phone they use before buying something. Different phones use different plugs and attachments.

6. Relaxing Gifts

People who go into social work are often people who put their own needs last. By giving the gift of relaxation, you’re encouraging social workers to prioritize their own needs sometimes. Gifts like a movie, Apple gift cards, books, or music reminds them to prioritize “me time” and treat themselves with the same grace they treat their patients. If you are not sure what exactly they like, you could consider purchasing a gift certificate for a massage, spa treatment, or manicure. Your social worker will feel as if they can tackle the world after just a little pampering. 

7. Gift Card

While gift cards may seem impersonal, they are simple but thoughtful gifts. A gift card ensures that the social worker treats themselves but enables them to pick what they want. The type of gift card you purchase is up to you! You could select a local restaurant, books, games, or a prepaid gift card that allows them to think about what would help them most.

Learn More About Our Master of Social Work Degree


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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