A British man crowdfunding a Greek bailout has raised a 6-figure sum
A London shoe salesman has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the €1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) that Greece owes the International Monetary Fund and has already raised more than €170,000 ($236,000). Sadly, for Greece anyway, that's just 0.1 per cent of the goal.
Overwhelmed by the response to this! <a href="https://t.co/he5LsUy1D9">https://t.co/he5LsUy1D9</a> Keep going people! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/crowdfundgreece?src=hash">#crowdfundgreece</a>—@GreekBailout
Tom Feeney, a 29-year-old Yorkshireman living in London, set up the campaign on Sunday.
Decided to solve the Greek Debt Crisis via crowdfund. All I need is for everyone in EU to buy a Feta and Olive salad <a href="https://t.co/vOXKyBOJhZ">https://t.co/vOXKyBOJhZ</a>—@ThomFeeney
"All this dithering over Greece is getting boring," reads the description on IndieGogo. "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," it says.
Well, not quite as easy as that. As of Tuesday morning, two days into the campaign, it has raised more than €170,000 ($236,000) in donations from more than 11,000 people. That's pretty good for a typical crowdfunding campaign for something like an independent movie or a new gadget.
But when you're dealing with amounts on the scale of the Greek debt, that's a very small drop in a very big bucket.
Still, there's some enthusiasm about the campaign on Twitter.
Doing more than the UK Government ever will. Greek Bailout Fund on <a href="https://twitter.com/Indiegogo">@indiegogo</a> <a href="http://t.co/oJJZKbEOVM">http://t.co/oJJZKbEOVM</a>—@markrock
When politicians fail, individuals take over. I just supported the Greek Bailout Fund on <a href="https://twitter.com/Indiegogo">@indiegogo</a>. Join me! <a href="http://t.co/ODUVs0yheW">http://t.co/ODUVs0yheW</a>—@jaspervisser
Feeney insists the IndieGogo campaign is not a joke.
"I can understand why people might take it as a joke, but crowdfunding can really help because it's just a case of getting on and doing it," he wrote on the campaign page. "I just thought, sod it, I'll have a crack."
Like many crowdfunding campaigns, the Greek Bailout Fund has perks for different amounts pledged toward the goal. For example, donating €3 ($4), plus shipping, will earn you a postcard depicting the Greek prime minister, sent from Greece.
Someone will have to write A LOT of postcards... Help make it happen for Greek Bailout Fund <a href="http://t.co/u8jdDY9gDD">http://t.co/u8jdDY9gDD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/indiegogo?src=hash">#indiegogo</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/Indiegogo">@indiegogo</a>—@ellinem
Indeed, the campaign web page claims that there are 503 million postcards up for grabs.
A pledge of €6 ($8), again, plus shipping, earns the perk of "a Greek feta cheese and olive salad fresh to your door." The web page claims there are 250 million such salads available.
Now, if you're skeptical that one guy in London could deliver on perks on such an ambitious scale, that's nothing compared to the original bonuses offered.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/ThomFeeney">@ThomFeeney</a> possible to change the rewards so it doesn't sound like a joke? the idea is spot on.—@thaliamavros
<a href="https://twitter.com/thaliamavros">@thaliamavros</a> hi Thalia, I can understand what you mean, but I think it's important to have perks people can enjoy for not too much cash—@ThomFeeney
<a href="https://twitter.com/ThomFeeney">@ThomFeeney</a> but, an island? anyway, would love to interview you for a piece i'm writing, if you're available.—@thaliamavros
Yes, the original perk for pledging €1 million ($1.4 million) was a Greek island. Feeney has since removed that perk, replacing it with "a lot of gratitude from citizens of Europe and particularly the Greek people."
The campaign has taken off quickly, but even if it could keep up the pace of €170,000 ($236,000) per day, it would take more than 24 years to reach its goal.
The Greek Bailout Fund campaign ends in a week. Under the conditions of an IndieGogo fixed funding campaign, if the goal is not reached, the campaign won't receive the funds pledged.