My niece collects Harry Potter wands. For her birthday last month,  I sent her Lord Voldemort’s wand — one of the last she had to collect.

As always, about a week later I received a note from her. It was green with owls illustrated all over the front. Inside was her “new-to-cursive” script thanking me for the wand, which was her favorite in design even though it was Voldemort’s.

I doubt my niece writes those thank you notes because she has ulterior motives to get a bigger, better gift next year. She writes them because her mom told her that was the right thing to do.

When clients ask me about the return on investment from cultivation, I get frustrated. I know that budgets are tight. But sending a thank you letter, or a note about how a donation is helping drive impact seems like something our mother’s taught us to do. It’s respectful and it shouldn’t come with a quid pro quo.

Getting thank you notes from Anika makes me feel happy. Of course, I will always continue giving her birthday gifts regardless of notes. But her appreciation — expressed through her notes — makes me give those gifts with a little more gusto.