Neowin has been following an Amazon project, Kickstarter.com, which matches people who have projects they need to do with people who want to fund those projects, so I checked it out over the weekend.
Donations may be tax-deductible (if the project owner is a 501c3). The person requesting funds posts the minimum amount of money needed to fund the project, and if that amount is not pledged, none of the donors end up paying anything. In addition to being a fund-raising site, this site is being billed as a great place to do concept research, as those wanting to shoot a documentary or develop a new app, for example, can run their ideas by the general public and get valuable feedback.
Some of the most successful projects so far in the two years that the site has been open are listed HERE, and some that are getting close to meeting their funding goals are HERE. Donors are not investors, in the sense that they will not receive a monetary return on their investment. They may, however, be given rewards in the form of a free copy of the finished product, or a chance to meet the project owner, or something similar.
If you have a project that needs funding, you might want to check out the submission procedures, HERE. Good luck!
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.