When I meet volunteers and staff around the world, which is one of the best parts of my function as President of the International Federation, I want to hear about what activities they undertake but even more, I want to hear about why they do it. For the defining aspect of our principle of Voluntary Service is indeed our motivation.

A motivated, dedicated, and well-qualified volunteer force is every National Society’s greatest asset.  Yet this principle reaches far beyond the act of volunteering. The principle of voluntary service is extends to the work of all of our staff members, to our governance members even to partners.

For the principle of voluntary service is as much about our state of mind as it is about action. We all have different reasons for wanting to serve our Movement. And we all get different things out of the experience, diversity being life of our Movement.  In some cases we receive compensation, skills or experience in addition to the feelings of good will and achievement that come with humanitarian service – perhaps sometimes in equal measure with a sense of frustration that we can never do enough.

Ultimately, even when our work is the most difficult, when we are tried and we are under great pressure, I believe our principle of voluntary service asks us simply to put others at the centre of our action, doing all we do with a sense of humility and care.