‘When You Get, Give’: 14 Quotes About Volunteering


The benefits of altruism are varied and vast: Volunteering is a way to help others in need, to build community, and, perhaps most importantly, to remind ourselves that we are all part of a bigger society. The ways that we can volunteer our time and skills are manifold, ranging from cleaning up public spaces or tutoring children to building houses or reading to the elderly in nursing homes.

At the core of volunteerism is the idea of giving back — recognizing that in order for our society to thrive, we all need to do our part. As an added bonus, studies have shown that volunteering actually benefits the volunteers themselves, too. In addition to reducing stress, volunteering has also been found to increase feelings of joy and gratitude, which in turn improve our mood, sense of optimism, and immune system. In other words, as the idiom goes, “you get what you give.” Below, we’ve collected 14 quotes that prove the veracity of that sentiment.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
— Audrey Hepburn

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

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.
— Muhammad Ali

To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.
— Abraham Lincoln

Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.
— Albert Schweitzer, theologian

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.
— Elizabeth Andrew, writer

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
— Kahlil Gibran, poet

Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds.
— Bill Clinton

Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.
— Horace Mann

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

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.
— Sherry Anderson, writer

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
— Barack Obama

When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
— Maya Angelou

Photo credit: lianamikah/ Unsplash

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About the Author
Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder based in Seattle, Washington.