If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, here are the basics: It's a sea of cool projects, all in need of funding. Anyone can post an idea, set a goal for fundraising, and try to find donors. If they reach their goal before the deadline, the pledged donations are drawn out of backers' accounts. If the project doesn't meet their goals, they don't get the money, and you don't lose anything. For different donation levels, project leaders offer little bonuses -- your name on their materials, or signed editions of their work. Projects run the gamut, from photographers who are documenting life without electricity around the world to a new-and-improved contact-lens case.

The sheer quantity of great ideas can make it hard to narrow down where you should donate. We've done some research, and highlight below 12 projects we think would make great homes for your money this holiday season.