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Business gurus, motivational sages and savvy speakers are aware of the value of a timely quotation. Here are some favorite quotations to use whenever delight and inspiration are needed; with your colleagues, your board, in training materials, presentations and donor communications. Even with your morning coffee before tackling the dreaded email tsunami. Emphasize the mission and the message with these inspirational quotations from people who knew (and know) passion, determination and the meaning of grit.




Changing the world

  1. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
  2. “He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.” Confucius
  3. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
  4. “Beginning today; treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”  Og Mandino
  5. “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” Benjamin Disraeli
  6. “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Steve Jobs
  7. “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead
  8. “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
  9. “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the creative light of altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgement.  Life’s persistent and most urgent question is “What are you doing for others?”  Martin Luther King Jr.
  10. “Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.” John D. Rockefeller
  11. “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” Albert Einstein
  12. “Life is never so busy that there is no time to serve.” Author Unknown
  13. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou


  1. “To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.” Aristotle
  2. “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. Tom Brokaw
  3. “Helping people doesn’t have to be an unsound financial strategy.” Melinda Gates
  4. “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” Brian Tracy
  5. “It’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life.” Oprah Winfrey
  6. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” Henry David Thoreau
  7. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” Dalai Lama XIV

No regrets

  1. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor… Explore. Dream.”  H. Jackson Brown
  1. “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” Stephen Hawking


Nothing is ever too small

  1. “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” Mahatma Gandhi
  2. “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale
  3. “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” B. Reese
  4. “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little — do what you can.” Sydney Smith
  5. “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa
  6. “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” Norman Vincent Peale


  1. “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon
  2. “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner
  3. “Life tests the big dreamers – the passionate revolutionaries.” Robin Sharma

Nothing is impossible

  1. “According to the theory of aerodynamics, the bumble bee is unable to fly because the size, weight and shape of its body in relation to the total wing spread make flying impossible. But the bumble bee, being ignorant of these profound scientific truths, goes ahead and flies anyway and manages to make a little honey every day.” Author Unknown
  2. “Difficult things we do quickly. The impossible takes a little longer.” David Ben-Gurion
  3. “Turn strangers into friends. Turn friends into donors. And then… do the most important job: Turn your donors into fundraisers.” Seth Godin

Vision drives change

  1. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
  2. “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Flight to Arras)
  3. “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus
  4. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James
  5. “The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” Leo Rosten
  6. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle
  7. “Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going no matter what.” Spryte Loriano
  8. “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. “ Chinese Proverb
  9. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Helen Keller
  10. “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 your verb agree to serve… You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
  11. “Only a life lived for others, is a life worthwhile.” Albert Einstein
  12. “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” Seth Godin
  13. “Never give up when you truly believe. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” H Jackson Brown
  14. “If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” Bob Hope
  15. “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievement.” Napoleon Hill
  16. “Volunteers are love in motion!” Anonymous

Only fifty favorite quotations out of thousands? Feel free to share your favorite quotations with us in the comments!

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