Crystal D selects nonprofit organizations for 2024 giveback program

    Crystal D, the leading supplier of corporate awards and gifts, has unveiled the four nonprofit organizations selected to receive donations as part of the company’s giveback program, Crystal D Cares, in 2024.


    “We created Crystal D Cares to honor the legacy of our late founder, Chuck Dahlgren, recognizing his deep belief in the power of generosity and profound desire to share what we have with others,” said Crystal D President and CEO Jeanne Dahlgren. “We are excited about the organizations we have chosen for this year, and beyond thankful for the work they do in our world.”


    With every purchase from the Legacy Gallery — a collection of 10 exclusive new award designs — the company donates 20 percent of the total product sale to nonprofit organizations with focus areas such as children, seniors, veterans, community organizations, animals, the environment, and health and research causes.


    The four nonprofits Crystal D Cares has selected for 2024 are:

    • Water for South Sudan — This charity works to address two areas of concern: human life and the environment. Nearly 60 percent of the population of South Sudan does not have access to clean, safe water — a basic human necessity — which is the key to good health and safety, and also affords communities with additional educational and economic opportunities. Just $2 is enough to provide clean water to one person for an entire year.
    • International Rett Syndrome Foundation — An organization dear to Chuck’s heart — as a close family friend is experiencing Rett syndrome — the Foundation is making strides with research breakthroughs. The FDA has
      approved trials for two therapy drugs to help extend the independent life of the patient so they can live at home longer. This gives hope to the family as well as others affected by Rett syndrome.
    • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain, has helped bring children to adoption through the foster care system for years. His Foundation is dedicated to finding forever families for the more than 140,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States and Canada.
    • 4 Paws for Ability This organization has provided more than 18,000 service dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities and special needs. The specially trained canines can help give the gift of independence and safety in any number of ways, including high and low blood sugar detection, mobility, seizure response, tracking and more. Donations are used to help provide food, veterinary care, and other essentials as 4 Paws for Ability prepares and trains each service dog.

    We invite you to learn more about Crystal D Cares.

    About Crystal D
    Crystal D (, a leader in awards and gifts, has been delighting recipients with the highest-quality recognition products for more than 30 years. We are known as the Home of “The WOW Effect” ® because every item is designed and hand-crafted by our artisans in St. Paul, Minnesota, and this meticulous attention to detail turns the emotion of a recognition experience into a lasting memory. Crystal D offers over 1,500 innovative and elegant awards and gifts, guarantees an industry-leading production time of just six to eight days after art approval, and has earned five-star status for our customer service. Contact us at (800) 544-1131 or email


    Voice of the Customer Survey: Results are in!

    Last year marked the 30th anniversary of Crystal D, and it was a milestone made possible because of the dedication of our employees and the faithfulness of our customers. There’s a lot for us to celebrate, and yet we also know that success in the future means we must be intentional about finding ways to enhance and improve our company.  


    That’s why last fall we worked with a third-party provider to conduct our Voice of the Customer survey, and more than 200 of our customers took the time to participate in it! Here’s what we know about them. 

    • They hailed from 29 states and have an average of 19 years in the industry.  
    • Collectively, their satisfaction with Crystal D came in at 9+ out of 10.  
    • They rated Crystal D at 90 percent or higher for timely delivery, and 90 percent or higher for service and support. 
    • 90 percent said they trust Crystal D to deliver on its commitments 
    • Their NPS score for Crystal D came in at 90. 


    We are grateful for the insights shared and are taking the opportunity to reflect on where we are doing well — as well as planning on how we can do even better.  


    What we learned 

    Our customers provided thoughtful and candid answers about working with Crystal D, which fell into five themes. In the months ahead, we’ll be digging into each of these themes closely and sharing more about them through our company blog.  

    • Customer service/employee excellence — Crystal D’s customer service team stood out as a deciding factor, with many mentioning specific employees by name for providing smooth and timely service, partnering with them to make complicated orders easy, and being both proactive and responsive.  
    • Simple, easy, fast (and worry-free ordering) — Customers feel guided, supported and informed through every step of the process. They appreciate always knowing the status of their order and the fact that working with Crystal D makes them look good to their clients. 
    • The Home of “The WOW Effect” ® To Crystal D, this means the recipients of our awards and gifts are blown away by the meaning and quality behind them, that they can’t help but say, “Wow.” We learned that, to our customers, “Wow” also comes to mind when they see one of our meticulous awards in person, comprehend the craftsmanship, watch people receive awards, or work with a member of our team to bring an idea to life. 
    • Recommending to others — Customers say Crystal D is “personable yet professional,” (in the words of one respondent), and they are eager to recommend us because they know us to be trustworthy, detail-oriented, easy to work with, creative, communicative, time-sensitive and “like an extension of your company, a real partner.”   
    • Loyalty — In noting our customer service, product selection, varied price points, high-quality workmanship, and the ability to take on both small and large orders, customers return to Crystal D time after time — some as often as every single week.   


    What’s ahead this year 

    To continue providing world-class customer service and keeping our promise of simple pricing, easy ordering and fast production, we’ve dubbed 2024 our year of refinement. This means we are purposefully looking across our business, in all the nooks and crannies (and systems and processes, and tools and trainings…) to remove any barriers, iron out any imperfections, and strengthen any weak areas — all so we can be in the best position to turn continue turning emotions into memories™ for hundreds of thousands more award recipients.  


    Everything we do and every decision we make is shaped by how it will support our customers.  


    As always, if you have feedback about your experience working with Crystal D, or ideas for how we can better support you in engaging with your customers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your territory manager or contact us. Thank you for being partners in making memories for award recipients around the world! 

    Honoring Crystal D’s Q4 2023 WOW Champs

    Crystal D isn’t just a company that produces awards and gifts for others — we also practice recognition and appreciation with our own employees. We have a variety of programs in place to highlight our Memory Makers for the ways they contribute, carry themselves and serve our customers.  

    With this, each quarter we honor five employees who were nominated by their peers for living out our Core Values on a daily basis. Congratulations to the WOW Champs for the last quarter of 2023, as announced this week! Here’s who they are and what was shared about them.

    Molly C. — Accounting

    Core Value: Integrity — “I do what I say I will do.” 
    “If Molly says she will take care of it, I don’t worry about it again. I know it will be the first thing she does. When she promises our customers anything, she will make sure it happens so they can rest easy knowing she has followed through.” 




    Grace K. — Production  

    Core Value: Quality — “I have the unyielding persistence to improve.” 
    “Grace is always hardworking. She does not slack off and always puts the best interest of the company first. Crystal D benefits from Grace as a Memory Maker because she never gives up. And once she gets a clear method or process, she is unstoppable in her ability to give her best.” 




    Laurie F. — Customer Service  

    Core Value: Respect — “I treat others the way I want to be treated.” 
    “I love to listen to the way Laurie speaks to our customers. I cannot tell from her end of the call what the customer’s demeanor is, but she is always calm, affirming and kind. When she is speaking with her fellow Memory Makers, she is funny, a little sarcastic (love it!), and just kind and genuine.”  



    Kayla G. — HR  

    Core Value: Commitment — “I am committed to the ongoing viability of the company.”  
    “Kayla takes sincere joy in watching new hires become Memory Makers. She works tirelessly to support the values and core purpose of our company to the best of her ability, often working outside of normal business hours and on the weekend. Kayla processes decisions and situations with the long-term good of the company at the center. She is calm, thoughtful and analytical and her insights provide value and wisdom to our company.”   



    Kip R. — IT  

    Core Value: Passion — “I have the burning desire to achieve, in all I do.” 
    “I had a 30-min meet-and-greet meeting with Kip … I ended up sitting there for over an hour. Kip was extremely knowledgeable about our website, but even more so he was a digital industry expert. I expected to spend our time chatting about websites. Instead, we spent our hour digging into display advertising, user experience studies, UX designs and geeking-out over digital e-commerce. Kip’s skillset … will enable us to better position ourselves to drive efficient traffic and sales through the website.”  


    3 steps to leveling up as an awards and recognition expert

    As the year gets into full swing, many companies are looking for new ideas to strengthen their business. Finding meaningful ways to connect and motivate their teams with employee recognition is a best practice that can reap better returns.

    At Crystal D we have seen the difference formal symbolic recognition can make — when an employee receives something representing prestige and honor, or recognizing their contributions and commitment, it’s something that sticks with them for years to come. An impeccable award customized with their name is something worth holding onto forever. We call this “The WOW Effect.”

    Studies show something Crystal D has been practicing for decades: Investing in employee recognition programs is always worth it. Organizations are paid back in better retention, stronger engagement, improved customer satisfaction and long-lasting business results. But not every employer knows how to get the ball rolling.

    Let’s pivot!
    As a promotional products consultant, you are perfectly poised to go deeper with your clients by serving as an advisor on internal branding and employee recognition. It’s a bit of a pivot to focus on recognition programs, but you’ve already got the tools to help your customers plan out annual, semi-annual, quarterly or monthly programs where they celebrate things like:

    • metrics, milestones and goals
    • projects and initiatives
    • ideas and innovation
    • team wins
    • employee engagement, retention and appreciation
    • company values
    • years of service and retirements
    • outstanding leadership qualities
    • customer satisfaction and loyalty
    • Founder’s, President’s or Chairman’s recognition

    Becoming an awards expert
    In our eyes, there are just three steps to achieving awards-expert status.

    1) Educate — Just because your clients don’t ask about awards every day doesn’t mean they don’t want or need them. Think about your last apparel order. Who presented who with the newest trends and options in styles? Awards work the same way. Your clients look to you for fresh ideas that will help their businesses stand out and succeed. Be proactive (and enjoy a competitive edge by doing something that sets you apart as a strategic partner) by educating them on the benefits of having a symbolic formal recognition program. Awards are a niche part of the promo market, with most promo distributors not offering them. We can get you set up with the tools to add awards to your arsenal.

    Start today with building one easy habit: Talk about awards! Every organization relies on people to carry out its mission, so you want to make sure that awards and recognition tactics are always a topic of discussion — and that you’re their go-to person to help them meet their business objectives.

    2) Innovate — The ideas and options are truly endless when it comes to helping your clients select awards. Understand what their goals are, the problems they want to solve, and how they want their brand to show up. Then, work with our team to curate a selection of unique, customized, and on-brand options for your clients to consider. Yes, it will require a little time to get your feet wet in the awards space, but once you’ve completed that first order, you can replicate the process for more clients, along with future orders for established awards programs.

    You can also reap the benefit of being a referral as companies share best practices with each other and say, “I know, it’s so beautiful! We worked with [your name here] to design it.”

    3) Celebrate — Join your customers in applauding the rollout of their formal recognition programs! As they watch recipients experience “The WOW Effect”™ when being handed a top-quality, optically clear crystal award and then see that appreciation and recognition pay off in stronger results, you’ll enjoy greater margins and repeat business as a trusted partner in the process.  

    Hit the ground running
    We’d love to share with you examples of recognition programs that we’ve worked on, and we can help you develop ideas to share with your customers. Contact us today!


    Help your customers shine this awards season with Crystal D’s Quick Ship Awards

    We’re smack-dab in the middle of awards season, and while the entertainment elite focus on upping their fashion game, Crystal D has something for you to try on for size: our Quick Ship Awards gallery. 

    This curated assortment makes it easy to fulfill fast-turnaround requests with impeccable, made-to-order items that ship out one to two days after art approval … but it will look like you’ve been working on it for weeks. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone!) 

    When you choose Crystal D, you can trust that every Quick Ship Award will be perfectly customized to your customers’ tastes — and perfectly timed to their deadlines.  

    Recognizing employees  
    We know that after year-end there is a lot a company can celebrate, prompting many employers to bring their appreciation events into January and February. You can help these customers meaningfully recognize the accomplishments of their teams by presenting award ideas that will be a tangible symbol of appreciation to their employees. It’s the smart thing to do for engagement and retention, and it’s a smart way to set up an organization for success in the year ahead. (Click to view the images above for some inspiration and ideas!)

    Recommending Quick Ship Awards to leaders and HR teams will help them quickly and easily select designs that fit their program needs and reflect to their employees how much they’re valued … while meeting every event deadline. We made our Quick Ship Awards for this mission.   

    You and your clients can easily order from our Quick Ship gallery and have awards at their event 24 hours after art approval! Now, that is fast! You know what else is fast? Using our marketing materials to present award ideas to your customers.  

    Three things to know about Quick Ship Awards

    • With Quick Ship Awards, your order is shipped just 1-2 days after art approval.  
    • Your clients can choose from more than 120 elegant awards with an endless array of options for personalizing and designs that fit all budgets.  
    • Our Customer Solutions Specialists are here to assist with product selection, customization ideas, questions and quotes.  

    When you choose a Quick Ship award from Crystal D, last minute never looks like late to the party. Browse our selection by visiting and clicking “Quick Ship” at the top left. Awards will ship out in as fast as two business days.

    For assistance, contact us! We’d love to help. 

    Thank You, UMAPP, for Chuck’s Lifetime Achievement Award

    There are moments in life that will be remembered forever, and this was one of those moments. On April 13, our late founder, Chuck Dahlgren, was honored with UMAPP’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Chuck was nominated by Hillary Feder of Ask Hillary’s who said in her nomination: “Chuck taught and instilled in his team all that he knew and believed to be true about recognition. Everyone inside the company that I have ever dealt with sings the same song. It is often difficult to get an entire company on the same page, day in and day out, and live a company’s brand. Chuck did that, and this is still evident even after his recent passing.”

    “He led Crystal D, one of our key award suppliers. Chuck was a leader-focused gentleman, guiding those working in the space to understand recognition beyond the award. From program development to what to recognize when selecting an award to how to present, Chuck was more than just selling products. Many companies sell awards. Chuck helped those in the space grow their blog with tools Crystal D provides them to help distributors become recognition experts, a space often overlooked.”

    Continue reading…

    We Remember Our Ultimate Memory Maker

    Chuck Dahlgren, our beloved Founder & CEO, passed away on Monday, October 10, 2022.

    Our hearts are broken.

    Charles Parks Dahlgren (February 22, 1952 – October 10, 2022) passed away at age 70 from complications during heart surgery. He was known as Chuck or Charlie. He was born in Olivia, MN, and grew up in Bird Island, MN. Chuck attended Concordia College and then farmed in Bird Island through 1982. In 1982, he enrolled in college again and obtained a degree in accounting in 1984, after which he became a CPA. He worked as an accountant and then as a Chief of Operations for a construction company before purchasing Ice Nine Glass Design in 1992. Ice Nine Glass Design was renamed to Crystal D, and it is where he made his impact on the world. His biggest accomplishments were found in his relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and employees that he called Memory Makers. Chuck was known for his passion for his work, drive and determination, love of learning, constant personal development, faith in Jesus, and love of family and the lake.

    He is survived by many. Jeanne Dahlgren, his beloved wife; three daughters; and many grandchildren: Audra and Matthew Lehnert, and their children, Nolan, Ryan, Ruby, and Grace; Bridget Dahlgren and her daughter, Madison; Crystal and Garrett Hoelzel, and their children, Olivia, Boaz, Viviana, Simeon, and Malachi. His siblings: Suzi and John Nelson, Rick and Margaret Dahlgren, Patti and Ron Peterson, Nancy Jurgensen, Kathy and Tom Krantz, and Gretchen and Howard Anderson; along with dozens of nieces and nephews.

    A funeral and tribute to Chuck’s life is planned for Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 2pm at Vadnais Heights Commons, 655 County Rd. F E., Vadnais Heights, MN 55127. All are welcome. Condolence gifts can be sent to Vadnais Heights Commons on October 25 between 9am and 11am.

    If you’d like to send condolences to the Crystal D Memory Makers and/or Chuck’s family, please use one of these options:

    Private Voicemail: 651-925-3499
    Private Email:
    Flowers & Gifts: 505 Atwater Circle, St. Paul, MN 55103

    50 Out of the Box Ideas for Selling Crystal Prints

    With the continual upgrades to the smartphone, more and more people are embracing photography. 1.2 trillion photos are posted to social platforms each day, creating vast amounts of visual data stored on mobile devices. Compare that to the 80 billion photos taken by traditional cameras almost 20 years ago. Technology has made it easier for people to take photos and print them without sacrificing quality.

    Enter a new product from Crystal D — IllumaPix™ Crystal Prints. It is the perfect solution for creating custom prints for any industry. IllumaPix™ is a popular choice for appreciation gifts, employee recognition, wall art, signage, and more! Continue reading…

    Day to day. Informal. Formal. How do you recognize?

    How Do You Recognize? Three Types of Recognition

    The dictionary defines recognition as “the state of being recognized,” which is not exactly helpful. To really understand recognition is to understand what the purpose is. Employees who feel good about their jobs tend to perform at a higher level.

    Your company can become more successful when you recognize and reward performance that matches your corporate goals. There are three types of recognition that you can use to help your employees reach those goals: day-to-day, informal, and formal. Continue reading…