Here’s a novel approach to the Greek financial crisis: a “Greek Bailout Fund” launched by an Englishman has received almost 30,000 donations.

Now in its second day, the site managed to crash servers through the sheer scale of donations received. Now back on track, the site has so far received almost half a million euros, with the simple — albeit optimistic — premise “… if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon.”

The New York Times reports:

The campaign was started by an Indiegogo user named Thom Feeney, who identifies himself as a 29-year-old working in a shoe shop in Britain.

“Let’s just get Greece sorted,” Mr. Feeney wrote on the campaign page. “All this dithering over Greece is getting boring.”

Crowdfunding, or raising money online from many individuals who each give small amounts, has financed a number of high-profile projects in recent years. Some campaigns seem to be intentionally wacky — like the one in 2011 that raised $67,000 to pay for a RoboCop statue in Detroit — while others seek to make the world a better place.

But a crowdfunding campaign to bail out a country seems to be a first, according to Anindya Ghose, a professor of information technology and marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, who has been researching crowdfunding for the past six years.

“It’s very unique,” Mr. Ghose wrote in an email.

In at least one way, though, the campaign and the reaction to the crisis in Greece fit into what Mr. Ghose has seen in his research: Altruism is a key motivating factor inspiring people to donate.

“It’s hard to put a price on that kind of support,” Mr. Ghose said. “It’s priceless!”

Gifts of different sizes to the Indiegogo fund yield different rewards for the donor. A €10 donation gets a bottle of ouzo, while a donation of a million euros buys “a lot of gratitude from the citizens of Europe.”

Supporters are using the hashtag #crowdfundgreece to spread the word on Twitter.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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