The headline says it all. So let's get to it.
1. Shoot an "invitation video"
Campaigns with a video raise 115 percent more in funds compared to projects without one, says Danae Ringelmann co-founder of the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
"We don't require people to have a video but highly encourage it," she adds. "Make the campaign personal and authentic. Some see the pitch video as a marketing video versus an invitation video. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to not just tell what you're doing but who you are, why you're the right person to be doing it and why it's important to involve the community."
2. Keep the campaign short--but not too short
So what's the ideal length? Between 15 and 30 days is the sweet spot for most campaigns.
Projects seeking large sums (think $100,000 or more) need 30 days. "Too long is anything over 30 days," says Tim Ryan, country manager for Canada at Tilt, a Y Combinator-backed crowdfunding site.
3. Offer a suite of pricing options
Projects that have the best odds for success--not to mention the highest profits--tend to include both low- and high-priced items for funders, according to research released this year from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
Why? Some funders are willing to pay more than others, and providing just a single item might leave money on the table.
4. Post regular updates--with "assets"
"Some of our most successful [campaigns] give almost daily updates on what's going on," says Ryan.
They also share "assets"--newspaper articles, photos or something that's not just a one-liner--with donors and potential funders who want to keep tabs on where money is being spent. The Jamaican bobsled team that made it to the Olympics this year, for example, regularly sent followers progress reports in the form of pictures. While the team sought to raise $80,000, it secured nearly $130,000.
5. Stick it out
So your campaign started off well but hit a slump before its end date. Best to pull the plug and save yourself the embarrassment, right?
It's true many potential backers don't contribute to a project that has already received considerable support because they assume others will provide the necessary funding, according to University of North Carolina researchers who analyzed two years of successful and unsuccessful projects on Kickstarter. But as a project's closing date draws near, the so-called "diffusion of responsibility effects" diminishes. This, combined with regular updates from a campaign's creator, "lead to generally increasing project support in the final stages of funding," the research found.
6. Build on small-scale momentum
More small businesses are finding success through crowdfunding. At Indiegogo, the amount of money pledged to these ventures has increased by more than 200 percent between 2012 and 2013.
Espro followed many of the above tactics when it took to Kickstarter in 2012, raising 557 percent of its goal to create a newfangled French press. The company then initiated a second project last year based on customer feedback, earned 711 percent of its target and secured distribution deals in Williams-Sonoma stores and coffee shops across North America.
All told, Espro secured more than $154,000 (despite asking for just $25,000) through invitation-style videos, providing an array of pricing options and giving regular updates. With a growing fan and retail base, including a new partnership with a tea company that has stores in both the U.S. and Canada, Espro recently launched a third campaign that seeks $15,000 to develop a travel brewer for French press coffee, pour-over coffee and loose-leaf tea. Follow their campaign's progress to see how they pulled off a hat-trick.