Voluntary action in Indonesia is often state-driven, emerging not in relation to bottom-up grassroots initiatives, but encouraged or even enforced by the state. This article examines the ways volunteers in a development programme in the city of Medan use state-created opportunities for volunteering to critique the practices of the state and experiences of citizenship. Volunteers articulate an ideal relationship between citizens and the state, based not on the impartial distribution of welfare according to rights, but on personalized relationships of care. Volunteers suggest that their position outside of formal state structures makes them better able to form these relationships with citizens. In making these claims, volunteers both carve out a role for themselves within state-led development, while also conveying the impossibility that state-actors can achieve this citizenship ideal. At the same time, volunteers' entanglement with the state-their association with the norms and practices that constitute it-limit their ability to transform citizenship practices.