Rufus can tell you that I am a big fan of volunteering. I like that feeling of giving back and all that, but I find I meet some of the neatest people in doing so. Also, the experiences I've had volunteering in my life have not only helped contribute greatly to my present set of professional skills, but have actually led me to be where I am today.
So it should come as absolutely no surprise that I fell in love with this idea. The reason it works is simple, and I'll draw a quick scenario. R and I don't have tons of money to buy nice art for our house, but we both loooove art, all kinds of art, we want to fill our house with interesting things. They don't need to be expensive, but for now, art is not generally a priority purchase here. This set up gives us the opportunity to do three things:
1) do something great for our community that we will both enjoy and be proud of--more valuable than throwing down cash.
2) perhaps choose a charity that is in our field that will help us build professional skills (or not! whatever!)
3) at the end of the year, collect the art we chose and be able to hang it and be reminded of our positive experience, without ever spending a dime.
There are no losers in this arrangement. The artists win, the organizations win, and so do the participants.
This, is so cool.