from the New York Times:
Last fall, when the Neversink Valley Area Museum in Cuddebackville, N.Y., set out to raise $11,000 for architectural renderings of a new building, museum officials turned to strangers for fund-raising using the Internet.
Through a Web site called Kickstarter.com, the museum met its fund-raising goal in fewer than 90 days with help from 69 donors. Some of these supporters had been friends of the museum for years; others did not even know where Cuddebackville was. (It is pronounced Cuh-da-BACK-ville and is about 90 miles northwest of New York City.)
The fund-raising process, known as crowd funding, has enabled the museum to move forward with long-term plans for a state-of-the-art center to replace the historic buildings where it currently resides.
… This site, which bills itself as a fund-raising platform for a variety of creative endeavors, was started in April 2009. It enables visitors to support projects with any amount of money they wish. Projects are financed on an all-or-nothing basis; if a project does not meet its fund-raising goal within a maximum of 90 days, it receives nothing. Perry Chen, the company’s chief executive, said that while many of the site’s 75 new projects every week represented individual efforts, a “small but growing” number were spearheaded by organizations.