Volunteers are the backbone of happy, healthy and connected communities. Without them, many organisations simply wouldn’t be able to do the important work they do.
However, when it comes down to it, often volunteers' time and efforts are taken for granted. To build a healthy and committed volunteer team, it’s important to understand exactly why your volunteers are choosing to give their time, what they are hoping to get out of it, and what motivates them to keep going. For some, it’s simply about giving back, while others might be hoping to learn a certain skill or get experience in an industry.
Once you understand their motivations, you can work on creating an engaging volunteer management program that appropriately rewards and recognises and motivates volunteers at every step of the journey.
It’s also important to keep inspiring volunteers by reminding them about the important and valuable work they do. We’ve collected 50 motivational volunteer quotes that you could use to encourage volunteers in various communication channels such as emails, newsletters, speeches, on social media or in the office.
What to say to encourage volunteers? 50 inspirational quotes for volunteers.
Let’s start with one of our favourite volunteer quotes here at Rosterfy:
1. “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” — Sherry Anderson
2. “Don’t ever question the value of volunteers. Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers, the Titanic was built by professionals.” — Dave Glynn
3. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” — Ronald Reagan
4. “You have two hands. One for helping yourself and one for helping others.” — Sam Levenson
5. Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” — Erma Bombeck
6. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — William James
7. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
8. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
9. “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” — Helen Keller
10. “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” — Elizabeth Andrew
11. “The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering: Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.” — Ivan Scheier
12. “Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” — James Durst
13. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank
14. “You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartache for other folks, you are a pretty rich man.” — Seth Parker
15. If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” — Betty Reese
16. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo Buscaglia
17. At the end, it’s not about what you have or even what you have accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” — Denzel Washington
18. “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll
19. “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” - Howard Zinn
20. “Without volunteers, we’d be a nation without a soul.” — Rosalynn Carter
21. “Volunteer. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe
22. “Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer.” — Allen Klein
23. “Living is the art of loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” — Booker T. Washington
25. “The heart of a volunteer is never measured in size, but by the depth of commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.” - DeAnn Hollis
27. “It wasn’t the reward that mattered or the recognition you might harvest. It was your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion – these were the things that counted in life. When you gave purely, the honour in giving, and that was honour enough.” — Scott O'Grady
29. “Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.” — Henry David Thoreau
30. “Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.” — Marianne Williamson
31. “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” — John F Kennedy
32. “Volunteering is at the core of being a human. No one has made it through life without the help of someone else.” — Heather French Henry.
33. “Selfless action is a source of strength.” — Mahatma Gandhi
34. “The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.” — Terri Guillemets
35. “For some people, volunteering is about giving. But for the likes of you, it is a way of living.” — Unknown
36. “Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.” — Unknown
37. “He who feeds a hungry animal, feeds his own soul.” — Charlie Chaplin
38. “There’s just nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” — Randall Wallace
39. “There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” — Woodrow T. Wilson
40. “Part of being a person is about helping others.” — Regis Murayi
41. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
42. “When you volunteer, they learn they can change the world.” — Unknown
43. “Helping others without expecting anything in return is what true self-worth is all about.” — Gavin Bird
44. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Muhammad Ali
45. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” — Robin Sharma
46. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” — John Holmes
47. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” — Anne Frank
48. “The best way to pursue happiness is to help other people. Because there’s nothing else that will make you happier.” — George Lucas
49. “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — Tom Brokaw
50. “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde
Here’s to all the volunteers, those dedicated people who give selflessly of their time, treasures and talents. Thank you for making the world a better place.
How do you inspire people to volunteer?
In addition to these inspirational volunteer quotes, your volunteers might be motivated by something like a rewards points system, such as Rosterfy’s reward and recognition software. From merchandise and apparel, through to event tickets and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, gamifying your volunteer involvement is a great way to increase the engagement of volunteers.
Another way to motivate volunteers is by understanding the individual motivations of your volunteers. Read more about ways to keep volunteers engaged in our blog, 5 Great Ways to Keep Your Volunteers Engaged.
Not sure what to look for when recruiting volunteers? Check out our article on the top 10 qualities to look for when recruiting.
Ready to sign up as a volunteer? Check out the 12 different types of volunteering you can get involved with.
To keep volunteers engaged and motivated, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to get involved, and the easiest way to do this is through technology.
Volunteer management software such as Rosterfy allows volunteers to register for shifts when they want, based on their specific skill set. It allows for personalised and consistent communications that ensure that volunteers are engaged from start to finish, and it allows you to offer some great additions to your program including reward and recognition and training.