The gratification of volunteering

I am still chewing on the ACE issue, but I have now thought about it, and am considering leaving a political project is like splitting up a love relationship, but in ‘Zeitraffer’ (fast motion).
Reading the letter I got from ACE after I left, it was astonishing that it rather pointed out mistakes I made and seemed to slag me off, and chatting to somebody left me wondering why, when you leave a political collective, people rather send letters out critising volunteers than “Thank you for all your help in the past years” notes.
If i would write a “good-bye” letter to myself, than I would have pointed out all the good stuff I have done and which I am proud of, along with a “you are always welcome back” note, rather than critisism.

But apparantly, with political projects you never get that. You never get a “Thank you for all your help, time and resources expecting nothing in return” note.
Talking to other political people, they experienced the same.
That’s why I also think leaving a political project is like splitting up in a former love relationship – it is pretty irrational and emotional and not based on logic.
Political projects seem often to experience leaving them as hurtfull, too, maybe even as a criticism of their ideology and politics.
Blaming individuals leaving, seems for political projects often the sole solution to carry on without changing anything and without reflection nor evaluation, trying to give sense and fulfillment and pride and reason for the people staying behind continuing with the work.
So I wondered when and if putting money, time, energy and resources into a voluntary project (political or unpolitical) would be worth it for the individual, or for me in particular, worth enough to put several years of lifetime into it.
So this is what I came up with:

It is worth volunteering if you get something out of it like:
– learning new skills
– meet new friends and have good social relationships
– gain more self-confidence out of successfull projects
– get attention
– get praise and positive feedback
– solidarity: give and receive
– new links to new projects
– outreach/PR
– mutual aid: give and receive
– learn conflict resolution/mediation
– responsibilities
– trust
– references
– communication increases
– expenses paid e.g. travel or food
– use of resources also for private use and personal projects
– invitations
– helping other people

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