Volunteering makes an invaluable contribution to society. It is an important driver of inclusive growth, which contributes to both social and human capital, and fosters intergenerational solidarity, while also offering significant economic value. Involvement in voluntary activities is a tangible expression of participatory democracy and there is a strong connection between volunteering and active citizenship and participation. According to the widely used (in EU institutions) definition of the term, "volunteering" refers to all forms of voluntary activity, whether formal or informal, undertaken of a person's own free will, choice and motivation, without concern for financial gain. It is estimated that there are 100 million volunteers in the EU, making an important contribution to the development of the society, the economy and the individual.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free
human being with an independent will.
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre