A secret fundraising campaign to honour Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari on his 80th birthday with the gift of peace raised €631,877 in June – enough to pay for 15 rounds of peace negotiations.


The Don’t Tell Martti campaign raised money for the peace broker organisation Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), founded by Ahtisaari, a Nobel peace laureate, which works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts around the world through mediation and dialogue. CMI wanted to keep the campaign a secret from Ahtisaari until 15 June when it would be revealed to him at a birthday celebration dinner.


With a target of funding at least five rounds of peace negotiations, CMI asked Finns to donate to the campaign but to promise not to mention it to him, or feature a story about it in print, or on TV or the radio. CMI told people they were welcome to discuss the #donttellmartti campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and the media could publish stories about it online as Ahtisaari is known to rarely use the internet.


According to CMI, the average cost of one round of peace negotiations mediated by CMI is €40,000, while the cost of warfare is €4 billion a day.


Over 9,300 private donors contributed, giving an average of €18.70 each.