Summary Box: Crowd-fundraising can mean big bucks

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THE CONCEPT: Websites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo let people with dream projects raise money from friends and strangers.

SOME EXAMPLES: One project strapped dozens of digital cameras to kites and balloons and sent them above the Gulf of Mexico to document the oil spill. Another will, hopefully, fly a smart phone into the upper reaches of the atmosphere so it can send photos and video back down. Another project funds a woman sailing around the world.

WHY GIVE?: Backers of such projects can get “I knew them back then” bragging rights and thank-you gifts such as limited-run CDs and books.

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