The Savannah rock band CUSSES accomplished something pretty amazing last weekend.

They surpassed their ambitious $35,000 Kickstarter campaign goal on Saturday and still kept accumulating support. They finished the campaign on Monday with more than 400 backers who pledged an average of about $90 each.

As I've noted before in this column, Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing websites are changing the landscape of arts and nonprofit funding.

Currently, just nine Savannah-based projects are being funded through Kickstarter, but it's a slow time of year.

Last week, this paper profiled one of those campaigns - Jane Barr's planned documentary "The Black Elephant" that will offer an inside look at black Republicans.

There are a variety of other projects, including the recently launched Savannah Children's Choir campaign to raise $5,000 to produce a CD of holiday music.

The Savannah Children's Choir Kickstarter project relies largely on gifts from donors. CUSSES' fundraising relied heavily on incentives like autographed CDs and limited edition merchandise.

Most bands set low targets that will be just enough to get a record made, but CUSSES aimed high. They will use the money not only for production of their second album, but also for music videos and tour expenses.

We're going to be seeing the fruits of CUSSES' successful campaign for many more months.

Earlier this year, Emergent Structures - a nonprofit dedicated to the reuse of building materials - obtained Kickstarter funding for a sustainable greenhouse that will be used by special populations students in the local public school system.

You can read updates about that project and others on the blog at

Last year, Loop It Up Savannah of the West Broad Street YMCA nearly doubled a modest $700 Kickstarter goal for a project uniting children and seniors to produce story quilts.

Even retail businesses have employed crowdsourcing, but I'm not sure about the future of that model.

Some successful campaigns have had trouble supplying the promised rewards in a timely fashion, but so far I've only been disappointed by one of the 15 projects I've supported. One other project failed to reach its goal; so my credit card was never charged.

Beyond the primary goal of funding projects, Kickstarter and similar sites have also proven to be great publicity, as well as avenues for building bases of supporters.

Those qualities were much in evidence over the weekend, as the latest news about CUSSES' campaign received hundreds of likes, shares and comments on Facebook.

Will we see even more use of sites like Kickstarter? Or will changing technology and media consumption bring us some other model?

It's going to be fun to watch.

City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via and Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.