Just as donors help the efforts of museums and other public organizations, Kickstarter users patronize aspiring artists, musicians and inventors--even if all they have to spare are a few bucks for the cause.
Among the artists the New York Times profiles is Earl Scioneaux III, who used Kickstart to finance his first album:
Mr. Scioneaux, who ultimately raised $4,100, offered a range of rewards to his supporters: for a $15 payment, patrons received an advance copy of the album; for $30, they got a personal music lesson as well. A payment of $50 or more got both of those, and a seat at Mr. Scioneauxs dinner table for a bowl of his homemade gumbo and a chance to listen to some of his studio recordings. I didnt expect people to be all over that one, he said, but it sold out almost immediately.