We proved that when we said thank you, people volunteered more. Thanked volunteers completed four more projects during the year, on average, than people we left alone. Volunteers in the recognition group volunteered 15 times during the year; unrecognized individuals just 11 times. Sixteen percent of our total 97,000 volunteer opportunities filled just because we said thanks.

The recognized group also became volunteer leaders at a faster rate: 8% versus 6% for the non-recognized group. This generated 50 additional Team Leaders ready to start new projects and expand to meet the needs of our Community Partners.

Gary Bagley, Executive Director of New York Cares, in a thoughtful blog post last winter about why thanking volunteers matters and how they proved it with an experiment of directly thanking all but 600 control volunteers.

If you are managing a summer internship or volunteer program, this is a great time to start thinking: how will I say thanks?

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