KickStarter is a new site to "fund ideas and endeavors." The site seems particularly geared to artistic communities that only need a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a project. I was skeptical at first, but you can browse all the other projects, their funding and see how everything works. A really impressive setup.
You can set up a page to describe your project and funding goals. People from the community can pledge to contribute. If your funding goals are met in the alotted time, you get that money! If not, you get nothing and nobody hands over money.
The benefits are obvious for artists. A little less clear are the benfits to those donating. The site addresses this saying how you can get inventive with creating personal incentives … hmm. But it seems to be working for many people. Seems like a great way to get a little money, which is often all thats needed. Good Luck!