I've done three Kickstarter campaigns of my own, and backed about 20 others. All the projects I've participated in have been legitimate crowd sourced funding to produce a result. I've delivered goods in exchange for backing, and I've received items in exchange for my backing. It's a good deal, and a fun way to participate in a small way in projects I would like to see happen.
While I think the potato salad dude was sort of brilliant, I'm sad that his project has spawned a bazillion similar ones on Kickstarter that are lame.
I've also backed projects on GoFundMe and elsewhere that were to raise funds for things I thought were worthy causes. School fees for a friend's transgender child, so he could go to a place that would be more accepting of him. Medical bills for a friend whose partner had strokes. Fundraising for another friend's dog rescue program. Crowd funding sites have been a blessing for those folks.
Last year, I had got a cancer diagnosis while I had no insurance. Asking for donations on my web site kept me afloat through some horrendous medical bills. People I'd never heard of gave me dollars to get me through, because they could, and they wanted to help.
I'm of the opinion that people should go ahead and put whatever it is they need out there, if they truly need help, or backing. Nobody has to pledge money if they don't want to.