That's right, I took the plunge. I donated to Postcrossing. I believe in throwing money at services I use.
Postcrossing's ordinarily a free service, and they subsist at least in part by the graces of their donors. I think that's amazing: they offer such an excellent service, and their Web site looks very nice! I've been to other pen pal organizations that run on low budgets and they look crappy. Poor Web design, poor graphic design, terrible site infrastructure and support. Some of them only serve as virtual ghost towns, haunted by Nigerian scammers and Russian brides-to-be.
But Postcrossing is a top-shelf service, and as much as I crow about it, I'm always finding someone new to get interested in it. Once again: you submit your address to their database. You click on "Send a Postcard" and receive an address for some random person anywhere on Earth; you write a little note, affix the appropriate postage and an ID code; send it off. In about two to four weeks you get an e-mail update saying that some grateful person has received your card, and you get a little map of the postcard's trajectory.
And at some point in the future, suddenly you receive a cute little postcard from some other random person, anywhere on Earth. It could be someone from Ohio or someone from Australia's exterior islands. (More than likely it'll be someone from Finland, and it'll be a card of a river, a mountain, some trees, and a superimposed flower graphic.)
It's fun. If you can stand to write a couple sentences and can spare 40 cents for a postcard and 98 cents for a stamp, it's more than worth it to receive cards from all over the world.