By Lanford Beard
Updated September 08, 2011 at 05:30 PM EDT

Have you ever fancied yourself a patron of the arts? Or the crafts? Maybe you’re just a Buddhist Geek with time and a couple dollars to spare? If so, you’ve probably already found a home on As did documentarian Nick Broomfield, who used the site to raise $30,000 to help distribute his film Sarah Palin: You Betcha! With its mission to crowd-fund projects online, the growing site is quite literally embracing democracy to make dreams come true.

It’s simple: People with a creative impulse in any number of fields (music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing, etc.) write up their projects on Kickstarter and pin their hopes on the generosity and enthusiasm of others. With contributions as low as $1, users fund the project (the aforementioned Buddhist Geeks? I didn’t make them up). It’s not an investment or a loan per se, says Kickstarter, because “project creators keep 100 percent ownership and control over their work.” Instead, the site’s users are offered products or experiences — ranging from a pair of sandals to an invitation to a brewery launch party — as thanks for their contribution. The only catch is, if the project doesn’t reach its funding goal, no money changes hands. Either way, Kickstarter seeks to nurture creativity in both whimsical and tangible ways.

So what do you think, PopWatchers? Have you ever participated in this sort of grassroots fundraising? Do you appreciate Kickstarter’s approach? Have you already booked your flight to the Buddhist Geeks conference?

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