There's a special satisfaction in providing a little financial push to friends trying to fulfill their dreams -- unless your friends' dreams suck so hard that you eventually grow to hate them just for being stupid enough to have them. Instead, lend a hand to talented strangers, with Kickstarter.
From an altruistic group of Brooklyners, Kick helps the industrious-but-poor fund worthy projects by providing a forum for their impressively earnest video pitches (some of which involve pie charts), then hooking them up with folks who have a bit of cash to spare (so, a giving tree grows in Brooklyn). Those currently seeking an assist include Steve Jenkins (needs $1500 for "a video game about shadow people, string theory, and a talking cat"), Emily Richmond ($8000 to fund "the first ever community driven circumnavigation" of the world), and Geoff Edgers, who needs $5,000 to finish editing a documentary about his quest to reunite The Kinks, which apparently includes footage of fellow fans like Brian Wilson, Zooey Deschanel, and Paul McCartney -- so get involved, because the quest to reunite the Beatles was underfunded too, and now look. To prevent scamming, no cash exchanges hands unless a funding deadline's met; if the project's a go, patrons receive an award commensurate with the contribution level, e.g., $75 for the Kinks doc gets you a personal thank-you note plus a "mystery gift", while $200 secures an IMDB film credit, and $3500 gets you a house call from Geoff, who'll bring along a screener, and an iPod on which he'll play you his favorite Kinks songs. Hopefully, you guys will drink champagne and dance all night.
Kickstarter currently only allows personally invited people to showcase their projects, but come August they'll open the site to all-comers -- so you'll finally get to start up that worm circus, no thanks to your jerk friends.