Voluntary “Crowdfunding” to promote Greece in an international media campaignTitled “Up Greek Tourism”, a citizens initiative based in the USA gathered 20.000 dollars to promote Greece in the international media culminating with a giant multimedia post in Times Square, New York on March 25th, Greek Independence Day. The campaign included interviews, posts and videos in major USA, UK and European press, TV channels and internet media, and of course spread rapidly around the world via the social networks.
The campaign is simple and is based on symbolism, aiming to convey a message of hospitality. As in the people themselves are inviting the world to “Join” them in their country and share the beauty and positive feelings that are hanging in there still against all odds.
The idea started up by Yorgos Klivokiotis a young Greek working inDubai, picked up and coordinated by group of 3, aided by 30 volunteers and by some more 5.000 people helping in every way throughout the process. More volunteers kept pouring in…so much that they had to be turned down since the campaign’s capacity was fulfilled. In his article at an Athens Free Press newspaper (LiFo), reporter StathisHaikalis, one of the 3 coordinators, emphasizes the passion of volunteers and the fact that they did not know each other prior to the call. They had to cover all transport and campaigning costs by themselves, since the sum raised went solely to the very needs of the media campaign. In fact, it was kept in a detailed and transparent account, so that every donor knew exactly where their money went to and what for.
„What is even more remarkable is that the campaign was not only supported by Greek citizens living inGreece, actually the non-Greek residents (members of the Greek diaspora and others with no roots inGreecewhatsoever) contributed by 50% to the fundraising.“
At the same time, another video of outreach titled “Greece is the Word” stormed U-tube, using a sense of humor but also linking Greece’s past and present, particularly by projecting international personalities that have defined the cultural character of the modern Greek people. To name a few, composers MikisTheodorakis and Manos Hatjidakis, actress and politician Melina Mercouri, film makers John Cassavetes, MihalisKakoyiannis, Nobel Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis, Lenin Peace Prize winner YiannisRitsosa.o.
We all know that small independent initiatives of good will can sometimes make the difference and could have multiplier effects. Such a phenomenon seems to be happening nowadays inGreece. Citizens initiatives put together and complementing one another are striving to awaken a feeling of social solidarity and civil society action that had been truly dormant for the past 30 – 40 years.Time will show and for some, the time is now.