Crowdfunding via Kickstarter: A New Kind of PR?

Chances are you’ve heard the name Kickstarter, the fundraising startup that calls itself “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.”

The site looks like the leader in crowdsourced funding right now, and we don’t think we’re going too far out on a limb in saying that it has revolutionized the blunt and often ugly art of raising money for artisans and organizers who don’t have much.

The site has helped fund everything from graphic novels to “comeback” albums for troubled jazz veterans to full-length films featured in some of the world’s biggest festivals. We were particularly drawn, via Fast Company, to the tale of a team looking to build an underground park in an abandoned warehouse on New York’s Lower East Side. The video and photos of the “LowLine” project are impressive and, dare we say it, a little inspiring:

We’re encouraged by the fact that the LowLine folks have brought in more than 150% of their $100,000 target. Now it’s time for them to turn their dreams into reality, turning ignored and dilapidated infrastructure into a new public space with the help of NASA-level technology. The making-of video is impressive, and it makes us anxious to check out the NYC exhibit, which is part of the Experiments in Motion project sponsored by Audi and Columbia University.

What do you think, PR pros? Have you, your clients or your firms ever used Kickstarter to raise money for projects? Has  the site truly turned fundraising into a more democratic practice?