Proverbs/Common Wisdom

Share your favorite quotes about volunteers and volunteering so that others can add a spark to their presentations!  Also look at the other categories of "Quotables":  poems, humor, songs, stories, and parables.

We post quotables by newest submissions first.

You tell me and I forget. You teach me and I remember. You involve me and I learn.

-- Ben Franklin     Submitted by Prof. Andrew Lewis, Director of Community Development, The Learning Institute for Nonprofit Organizations

Bloom where you are planted.

-- Mother Jones     Submitted by Keeble

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. 

-- Ethiopian Proverb     Submitted by John Stankiewicz, President, Northern Ohio Valley Area Search and Rescue, WV, USA

With a sweet tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant by a hair.

-- Persian Proverb     Submitted by Mike Corbin, Membership Chair, Metropolitan Detroit Volunteer Administration Network

One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something. 

-- Henry David Thoreau     Submitted by Nan Hart, Director, RSVP and The Volunteer Center, Vermont, US

A candle loses nothing of its light when lighting another.

-- Kahlil Gibran     Submitted by Lauren Quaile, Bonner Scholar - University of Richmond

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.

-- Chinese Proverb     Submitted by Ed Madara, Director, American & NJ Group Self-Help Group Clearinghouses

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

-- Aesop     Submitted by Judy P. King, Director of Volunteer Services, Georgia

Past the beggar and the suffering walks he who asks, 'Why, oh God, do you not do something for these people?' To which God replied, 'I did do something, I made you.'

-- Sufi saying     Submitted by Mike Corbin, Membership Chair, Metropolitan Detroit Volunteer Administration Network

Be the change that you wish to see in the world

-- Gandhi     Submitted by Brian Cugelman, IYV Webmaster, UNV , Germany

A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit.

-- Greek Proverb     Submitted by Judy Gross, Volunteer Coordinator, Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. 

-- Mahatma Gandhi     Submitted by Mike Corbin, Membership Chair, Metropolitan Detroit Volunteer Administration Network

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

-- Chinese Proverb     Submitted by Alane Hill, Project Director, Friends Foster Grandparent Program

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-- Margaret Mead     Submitted by Maureen Stenquist

When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

-- Chinese Proverb     Submitted by Jennifer Cali

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows

-- St. Francis of Assisi     Submitted by Nancy McGee

I believe in the spirit of sharing and I believe we are what we are because of those around us.

I am what I am because of other people and they are what they are because of me being around.

One hand cannot clap on its own but it needs the other hand to make a clap. 

Many hands make light work.

-- Maasai tribal sayings     Submitted by Kores Ole Musuni