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Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Really, you’d do that for me?
SPARE CHANGE

Worried about Greece? Now you can bail it out yourself

By Richard Macauley

For those who wish the Greek financial drama would come to an end sooner rather than later, and without the need for a Grexit, there is a new option on the table: Bail Greece out yourself.

A crowdfunding effort has been launched on IndieGoGo, a site normally used for more creative projects, such as swimming documentaries, transport solutions, and mismatched socks.

The Greek Bailout Fund project aims to raise the €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) Greece needs to pay the International Monetary Fund. “It might seem like a lot but it’s only just over €3 from each European,” the project’s page states. “That’s about the same as half a pint in London. Or everyone in the EU just having a feta and olive salad for lunch.”

Greece has said it will not be able to pay its €1.6 billion bill unless it first receives a new installment of bailout cash worth €7.2 billion. But to get that cash, the Greek government would have to agree to demands set by creditors to cut certain costs at home, and the newly elected Syriza party came to power on promises that it would not make such cuts.

The campaign allows members of the public to make donations of as little as €3, in return for saving Greece and a postcard of prime minister Alexis Tsipras. Larger donations would be rewarded with a feta and olive salad (delivered anywhere worldwide), a bottle of ouzo, or Greek wine.

Greek Bailout Fund is not the only project soliciting cash from the public to help bail out Greece. Back in 2012, shipping heir Peter Nomikos launched Greece Debt Free, which asks individuals to donate cash so it can buy Greece’s debt, and cancel it. And there’s precedent (pdf) in countries like Indonesia and South Korea during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, where citizens donated gold and other funds to shore up their central banks. While these moves helped morale, they did little to heal countries’ finances.

With the Greek Bailout Fund, the salad and booze option has already raised more than €20,000 in its first day, and has seven days left. That’s a valiant effort, but the IMF’s deadline is today. An IMF extension on the back of a crowdfunding campaign isn’t entirely impossible, but it would be a first.