My first crowd-sourced adventure was an investment which didn't pay off (but I knew it was a gamble and waved buh-bye to my money when I sent it in). It was for a movie that a young movie director had hoped to crowd fund and so he'd set up a website on his own and tried to get the funds. One of the things that Kickstarter and other crowd-sourcing websites do now is they don't charge you if the goal isn't met. This director had no system like that, and told us investors up front that it might all come to naught. So I went in eyes open and willing to try to see if the project would get funded. It didn't, alas.
Once Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other sites came long, however, it became much easier (I suspect) for people to crowd fund projects. I have now backed several successful projects and have received several of the items I've crowd funded already, with more to come. (I'm probably most looking forward to my 3Doodler - expect cheesy plastic 3D objects for Christmas from me, family!)
One of the projects I'm most proud to have sponsored is the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series by Feminist Frequency. You might have heard of this project as one which was funded for WAY over the requested amount. And Anita Sarkeesian has been able to expand on her project and invest in better equipment thanks to the increased funding.
Today, she released the first of her video series on Tropes vs Women in Video Games with the first part of Damsel in Distress. I was impressed with her research and the quality of the production and look forward to the rest of the series and the various perks I'll get as a backer. I embed (under the cut) this first part for your edification.