Voluntary action, under its many names and guises, is in most cultures deeply embedded in long-established, ancient traditions of sharing. Be it understood as mutual aid and self-help, philanthropy and service, or civic participation and campaigning, voluntary action is an expression of people’s willingness and capacity to freely help others and improve society. It brings significant benefits to individuals and communities and helps to nurture and sustain a richer social texture and a stronger sense of mutual trust and cohesion. Volunteering constitutes an enormous reservoir of skills, energy and local knowledge but it is unusual for volunteering to be recognized as a strategic resource which can be positively influenced by public policy. It is even rarer for it to be factored into national and international development strategies.