Europe News

Crowdfunding campaign raises cash for Greek bailout

Greece is widely expected to miss its 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) payment due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, but one British man is hoping a bit of pocket change can help pull Greeks out of their misery once and for all.

Young Londoner Thom Feeney has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the entire 1.6 billion euros needed to cover the country's repayment shortfall within seven days.

The "Greek Bailout Fund" campaign on crowdfunding platform was launched one day ago and has so far raised over 220,000 euros (around $245,000) from nearly 14,000 people. This was up from around 10,000 euros at the start of the morning.

People hold a demonstration calling for Greece's exit from the euro zone in Athens, Greece.
Ayhan Mehmet | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Retailer turned fundraiser

Twenty-nine-year-old Feeney, a shoe shop worker from East London, told CNBC his campaign was no joke and that he was serious about addressing Greece's debt problems.

"I was fed up of the Greek crisis going round in circles, while politicians are dithering, this is affecting real people," Feeney said. "While all the posturing is going on, then it's easy for the politicians to forget that."

"I just thought, 'sod it, I'll have a crack,'" he added.

Crowdfunding involves raising funds via (often small) contributions from large numbers of people, usually via the Internet.

If the Greece bailout crowdfunding campaign fails to reach its 1.6 billion euro target, all the funds will be refunded to donors.

"I hope very much that the campaign will reach the target, I think it will be a victory for people power," Feeney said.

Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin lent his support to the campaign.

"People around the world want to be involved, which is exactly what we wanted to facilitate when we pioneered the crowdfunding industry in 2008. This campaign shows that people are passionate about the situation in Greece and want their voices heard," he told CNBC.

Rubin added that if the campaign reaches it goal, "Indiegogo will collaborate with the campaigner to get in touch with Greek authorities and determine the best way to transfer the funds to the Greek government."

Indiegogo cofounder and CEO Slava Rubin speaks at Go Fund Yourself in Austin, Texas.
Hutton Supancic | Getty Images for SXSW

Fund Greece, get a bottle of Ouzo

If helping Greece out of the kindness of your heart isn't enough, a range of Greek-themed perks are on offer if you donate. These range from a postcard of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in exchange for a 3 euro donation, a Greek feta and olive salad delivered straight to your door for 6 euros, or a voucher for a bottle of Ouzo—a typically Greek spirit—for 10 euros.

For those with deeper pockets, a Greek holiday for two is available for 5,000 euros—but only for citizens of the European Union.

So far, 2,652 crowdfunders have claimed the postcard of Tsipras, 932 have claimed the Greek salad and 1,633 have claimed the Ouzo.

One Hellenic enthusiast has claimed the 5,000-euro all-inclusive holiday in Athens.

Feeney said he would like to employ Greeks to put together the postcards and salads, in an effort to contribute to the country's economy.

The list of perks originally included a private Greek island for whoever could come up with the 1.6 billion euros in full, but Feeney had to retract the offer.

"I thought that Mr Tsipras would happily accept that (the sale of the island), but Indiegogo emailed me to say that as the Greek Government had not officially agreed to this, I wasn't allowed to offer it," he said.

A Greek woman also emailed him, saying she found the perk "offensive."

Feeney told CNBC he'd apologized profusely to the woman.

"I was only thinking something (an island) about the size of Inchmarnock off the coast of Scotland, which I'd definitely sell if it saved the British economy," he said.

Feeney hasn't contacted any Greek leaders or their creditors. However, he said a journalist had conveyed a rumor that Tsipras was looking to get in touch.

As for how he might eventually get the cash to Greece and its creditors, he said he'd turn to Indiegogo for help.

"I suspect that there'll be plenty of people, better qualified than I am, that would be willing to help," he said.

Neither the Greek Prime Minister's office, the International Monetary Fund nor the European Commission responded to CNBC emails requesting comment.

Feeney is originally from York in the north of England. He previously worked as a marketing manager at events technology company Noodle Live, according to his Facebook profile.