Nearly three weeks after two Tel Aviv graphic designers launched an online anti-war with Iran campaign that caught the attention of the worldwide media, they have managed to raise over $27,000 to take the campaign to what they say is the next level.
A few days after the campaign went viral, Ronny Edri, 41, and his partner Michal Tamir, 35, opened an account on the “crowd-sourcing” website Indiegogo, where they asked for help reaching a goal of $7,500 by May 4 in order “to produce more posters and keep the movement [growing].”
By Thursday, the campaign had raised $27,151 from 640 donors, including a donation of $5,000 from Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary, according to Indiegogo.
According to a sales representative at a Tel Aviv-based printing house, NIS 1,600 will buy 1,000 posters (100 cm. by 70 cm.), meaning that so far the campaign has raised funds to outfit approximately 63,000 supporters.
As is common with crowd-sourcing websites, those who contribute receive a variety of rewards. At the low end of the scale, those who contribute $5 will receive a “virtual hug,” and as of Thursday, 263 donors had secured their own cyber embrace. Those who give $100 will have their picture added to the campaign with the slogan “I helped prevent a war” and those in the $200 bracket will receive a printed poster with their photo and the above slogan.
Edri and Tamir launched the poster campaign in early March by posting a picture on the Facebook page of their graphic design school “Pushpin Mehina,” of Ronny and his son above the slogan “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.”
The online gesture quickly took on a life of its own and the couple began receiving hundreds of posts from Israelis and Iranians alike, who began posting photos of themselves above the same slogan, though most of the Iranians left their faces obscured in their pictures.
Reached in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Edri said that he and his partner launched the Indiegogo campaign “to raise money in order to take this to the next level.”
Edri said that the viral campaign has dominated his life for the past three weeks and that six volunteers have helped edit videos, run his website and other efforts to help spread the anti-war message.
The money will help pay the volunteers and produce more videos and campaigns to help spread the message further, he said.
When asked what he would say to cynical Israelis who will assume he is merely trying to make a buck off the anti-war message, he said “What can you say to people like that? They’ll think that no matter what I can’t worry about it.”
Slava Rubin, the CEO of Indiegogo, said that the company has close to a 100% customer satisfaction rating, when asked how they can ensure that donations will be used to support the cause.
He said that the company hosts campaigns from hundreds of for-profit companies in addition to initiatives like Edri and Tamir’s, and that people typically contribute for three reasons.
“People contribute either because they care about the person, cause or idea, or they want to gain the perks of contributing, or in order to be part of the community [involved in the project].”
Rubin spoke to The Jerusalem Post from the White House where is attending the signing of the “JOBS Act,” which among other things will allow investors to contribute in crowd-sourcing campaigns.
He said that he was not sure whether or not Iranians would be able to donate money directly to Edri’s campaign, or if donations from Iran would violate sanctions against the Islamic Republic.