The ambitious campaign to invite the citizens of Europe to crowdfund the sum owed to the IMF by Greece is now being reprised as a campaign to raise funds to help young people in Greece.
The Greek Bailout Fund raised a remarkable €1,930,577 in just eight days, from 108,654 people. On more than one occasion the campaign drew such interest that Indiegogo’s servers struggled to keep it live.
It’s target was €1.6 billion, the sum that Greece was due to pay the International Monetary Fund last week.
It was the idea of 29-year-old Thom Feeney from York who works in London. On his Indiegogo campaign page he explained:
“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people of not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead? The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy.
“€1.6bn is what the Greeks need. It might seem like a lot but it’s only just over €3 from each European. That’s about the same as half a pint in London. Or everyone in the EU just having a Feta and Olive salad for lunch”.
The campaign was serious, although the tone of the message was light and humorous. The perks offered to donors included a postcard of Prime Minister Alex Tsipras, and a fresh Greek salad of olives and feta.
Feeney shared progress and statistics:
— Greek Crowdfund (@GreekCrowdfund) July 2, 2015
and was clear about where the money would go:
The funding page has always said that the profit would go 100% to the Greek people. Not IMF or anyone else. Up to Greek people to decide.
— Thom Feeney (@ThomFeeney) July 1, 2015
Indiegogo too blogged about the campaign after the first three days demonstrated what a response it was getting. They said:
“Over 72,000 backers – the most in Indiegogo history – from 167 countries and territories have contributed almost €1.3M”.
They also published an infographic:
It’s all Greek
It was a remarkable result, but there was no chance of it hitting its €1.6 billion target. Indeed, it never even registered 1% of its target on the campaign progress bar. And the campaign funding model was all-or-nothing: the donations would be returned unless the campaign total was reached. So, all of the donations are now being returned.
But it clearly touched a nerve and inspired people to want to do something. There was money on the digital table.
Even before the campaign had closed, one group urged Feeney to take the opportunity of the anticipated failure of the campaign by turning it into something that would benefit the children of Greece, many of whom are suffering from the five years of austerity imposed on the country. This group of engineers, developers, designers, creatives, planners, advertisers and managers suggested a Bailout for Children campaign.
So, with just a few hours to go before the campaign ended Feeney emailed all those who had contributed:
“Currently we have raised almost €2million, but as you know, if we do not reach the fixed target then all contributions are refunded – under IndieGoGo’s terms and conditions, I cannot change this. I know, I know – I’m very sorry.
“However, I am working with a Greek charity to make plans for the end of the campaign, as I recognise that it has given us a huge opportunity to make a real difference. I would hate for us to waste that, I hope you agree”.
He is now working with Greek charity Desmos who “have a huge network of charities that they co-ordinate the distribution of surplus goods with”. He explained:
“Desmos will help me with my primary aim to get as many 16-24 year olds into work as possible. I want young people to have hope, to learn skills, to drive forward their economy and invest their wages back into Greece. These young people will work in charities, technology and other worthy causes to help the situation in their country”.
He invited donors to the original campaign to donate their refund to this one. Any money raised would be received by Desmos.
The Greek Crowdfund campaign has raised €67,393 of its €1 million target within one day, with 14 days left.
Main image: Greek flag and coins by Per Bengtsson on Shutterstock.com
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