Here's a concept for your considerations:
Offer up PRE-ORDERS for DVDs of your short films (be it individual or anthology-based), so that the orders could both fund your production, and gauge appeal/desire for it.
There is to be a window-of-pre-ordering = a fixed timeline in which folks can order, say for a month or two, in which you could lobby do do self-promotions for.
You need to assure the cap or minimum amount of DVDs for it to be manufactured, so that you can charge/price the pre-orders (sans or including shipping costs worldwide). If it takes a minimum of 100 orders to be able to start printing, then so be it.
Offer the pre-order for retailers as well, so what could get you larger numbers.
This notion follows what a whole bunch of folks in the "art toy" world are doing right now (which I blog about primarily at http://toysrevil.blogspot.sg), which helps manage their products and at the same time put their products out into the hands of folks who want to own them. With the advent of youtube videos, people view them for free, and filmmakers can only hope for the next ticket of opportunity the film does for them, IMHO.
Put some merch in folks' hands, let the desire to "own: a piece of your short film, help drive funds into your own pockets. Tee shirts, memorabilia, all these could be in considerations with the concept of "pre-orders".
Sure, I'm talking out of my ass without the sense of "trademarks" and "copyright" issues (that is not my forte and I'll leave someone else to comment on this instead).