In the latest turn of events related to Greece’s disastrous state of finances; a drowning debt of 1.5 billion Euros to be paid back to the International Monetary Fund, and Greece missing the deadline worsening the situation for the entire country; comes the story of a crowdfunding campaign that most astonishingly tried to save the indebted country by pooling together funds for it to pay back its debt.
Of course the campaign could never have raised enough money in the given time period, but it did collect a substantial amount. The Greek Bailout Fund was set up on the fund-raising website Indiegogo, and raised more than €1,930,000 which was not even 1 per cent of the campaign’s goal.
The campaign was initiated by 29 years old Thom Feeney, an Indiegogo user and an old shoe shop worker in Britain. “Let’s just get Greece sorted. All this dithering over Greece is getting boring,” wrote Feeney on the campaign page.
Crowdfunding, or raising money online through individuals contributing small amounts to a certain cause, have financed many high profile projects in recent years. Some are cause-worthy, with intentions of making the world a better place while others are just comical and downright wacky – case in point, the 2011 campaign that raised $67,000 for a RoboCop statue in Detroit.
Of course, raising money to bail out, not an individual, but a country is first of its kind, and is making headlines for the same reason. According to Anindya Ghose, professor of information technology and marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Ghose has been researching crowdfunding for the past six years and called this particular campaign “very unique” in an email.
This reaction to the crisis in Greece and the campaign to save it fit into Ghose’s research findings in more than one way: Altruism is the main inspiring factor in motivating people to donate. “It’s hard to put a price on that kind of support,” Ghose says,” it’s priceless”.
Contributions of different sizes return different rewards from Indiegogo for the donor. A €10 donation will get you a bottle of ouzo, while a much larger contribution of a million euros gets you” a lot of gratitude from the citizens of Europe”.
The word got around twitter as supporters started using the hashtag #crowdfundgreece to turn the spotlight on their charitable contribution. Users pondered whether the brave campaign would actually raise the €1.5 billion. @LisaFreiburg posted,” Every time I refresh the page, the numbers are up. Is this going to work?” while others took a more laidback approach considering it harmless to contribute, @edrex said,”Crowdfund the Greek bailout. If it fails, you get your money back. If it works, you’re a part of history. No-brainer”
The experts of course opined the campaign would absolutely not be able to raise enough money. And even if it miraculously did, the 1.5 billion Euros is only a small fraction of Greece’s debt which Reuters estimates at around 242.8 billion Euros while another payment of 3.5 billion Euros to the European Central Bank looms ahead, come July. Even if it went viral, there was no way the campaign could lead to a meaningful amount that would truly bail out the government, said Mr. Ghose.
What’s the harm in trying right?