13 quotes about volunteering that will inspire you to make an impact

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: June 1, 2020

    If you’re looking for the motivation to take the plunge and volunteer abroad, you’ll find it in the words of global leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, the Dalai Lama, and Gandhi. 

    Be inspired by these quotes about volunteering and start planning the types of adventures where you can make a positive impact. 

    The wide-reaching impacts of volunteering have been acknowledged by great leaders, artists, and intellectuals. 

    Inspiring volunteer quotes can paint a picture of what it’s like to volunteer abroad, and make the reasons why you should do so even clearer. It’s hard to argue with the logic of some of the world’s most inspirational leaders. 

    Their words might inspire you to embrace adventure and the spirit of making an impact, and enrol in a volunteer abroad program. 

    The benefits of volunteering


    First things first, though. Why should you pay attention to volunteer quotes? 

    The benefits of volunteering are felt both by volunteers and the communities in which they work.

    Many quotes about volunteer service encompass the merit in travelling abroad, having empathy for people from all cultures, and showing kindness to everyone you meet. These values are epitomised in volunteering.

    On a personal level, you’re bound to return from your trip a much more globally-minded and compassionate individual. You will have gained maturity and important life skills while expanding your worldview. 

    On a community level, you can contribute towards activities aimed at achieving the global United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), supporting worldwide efforts to establish a brighter future for all.  

    The best volunteer quotes touch on these benefits, encouraging you to travel the world and make an impact while you do so. 

    Quotes about volunteer work

    Peruse these quotes about volunteers and the work they do to get a major dose of inspiration to do good deeds in the world. These words were spoken by great thinkers from around the world, yet they all centre on the same core themes. 

    Reading through these will help you think more deeply about the reasons you should volunteer. 

    Acting on your values


    “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” — Winston Churchill

    “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde

    “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” — Aristotle

    “It is not enough to be compassionate — you must act.”  — The Dalai Lama

    “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Armchair activism is easy. But how willing are you to dedicate your time contributing to solutions? People who volunteer are turning their values into action. And as these quotes acknowledge, actions are more powerful than words. 

    To make a tangible difference in the world you need to get involved in solutions. 

    GVI’s volunteer abroad programs are an opportunity to make a contribution. Each project is focused on impact. No matter which program you choose, your actions as a volunteer will help to support the 17 UN SDGs. 

    Learning more about yourself


    “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —  Gandhi

    “You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” — Marie Curie

    One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is how much you will grow as an individual. You’ll learn more about yourself, your passions, and potentially find a future career path.

    As well as the practical and professional skills you’ll pick up during your project, learning more about local and global issues could shape you into a more caring individual. 

    So choosing to volunteer is an opportunity to actively improve yourself. 

    Collective action for the greater good

    “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

    “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” — John F. Kennedy

    “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop



    “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  —  Anne Frank

    “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

    Volunteering is a powerful channel for change, as most people can get involved in some way. Through the power of collective action, volunteers can make a positive impact in the world. 

    For example, GVI’s projects, powered by the contributions of volunteers, help to achieve the objectives laid out by the global goals. Whether you choose to take part in a wildlife conservation project, or volunteer with children in vulnerable communities, you’ll be assisting in moving the world in the right direction. 

    As these quotes illustrate, we are all capable of having a positive impact in the world, but it’s up to us to make a start. 

    Feeling inspired? Make volunteering abroad a reality and start browsing through GVI’s ward-winning international programs, and online courses today. 

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.