Today, Kotaku's front page featured an article about a Kickstarter project that got canceled due to the misuse of funds. And as with any article that features Kistarter, there's always that one guy who points out the dangers of donating to Kickstarter. And that's where I think most people get Kickstarter wrong. Not necessarily the risk part, but the whole "donation" mentality needs to go.
You don't donate to Kickstarter as though it is some kind of charity. It is not digital panhandling. It's an investment. You are giving these people your money with the expectation of seeing a return of some kind.
See, normally when a developer wants to make a game, they have to pitch the game to a publisher. The publisher then weighs the costs to the benefits, and then decides wether to fund the game or not. But through Kickstarter and other crowdfunding models, you are the publisher.
Well, maybe not a publisher exactly. But you have the same responsibilities as one. You have to think of the budget and whether or not the game is worth investing into. You have to assess the risks: can the game be made on this budget and can I trust these people to make this game. How is the game being pitched? Do they provide tactile feadback as the project progresses. Some of the best Kickstarters out there provide regular updates on the project through dev diaries, gameplay footage, betas, and more.
So people really need to get this idea of Kickstarter being a donation site out of their heads. Sometimes the site might seem like a gathering place for a bunch of beggers, but that is not what Kickstarter is about. You are donating to a poor starving developer, you are investing your money (to a poor starving developer) with the promise of a return on your investment, aka a game that you are interested in.