Wilde Ganzen means ‘Wilde Geese’ in Dutch. The Danish theologian-philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once described a wild goose that teaches a pair of tame geese to fly again. These tame geese had forgotten how. In his parable, Kierkegaard depicts wild geese to stick out their necks and take initiative. Flying in V-formation, they work closely together so they can meet great challenges. As this was such a fitting metaphor, the name of the organization was based on this story.
On 30 June 1957 the very first Wilde Ganzen fundraiser took place: an appeal for donations for the victims of the earthquake disaster in Turkey a few months earlier. The action raised 76 Euros. A modest sum compared to what we raise nowadays.
From 1964 onwards, annual fundraisers, took place. Each year, money was collected for a specific project. But since people in many more places in the world could use financial support, it was decided in 1972 to set up a professional organization to have more striking power. A year later, Wilde Ganzen Foundation started broadcasting every Sunday on Dutch radio and TV.
In all those years, Wilde Ganzen has grown into a medium-sized player among charities in the Netherlands. Every year hundreds of small projects are financed that people in countries worldwide themselves set up. Often these projects are also supported by Private Development Initiatives. These are small Dutch and Belgian foundations that maintain close ties with local development organisations all over the world.
Continuity and independence
Wilde Ganzen does not only support the construction of schools or clinics, but also pays great attention to the long-term effects and continuity of a project. With every application we insist on the involvement of the local community. We also believe it is important that, in time, local development organizations become less dependent on our support. That is why we established Change the Game Academy in 2013 in cooperation with our partners in Brazil, India and Kenya. Classroom training in various countries and online training worldwide are provided in the areas of local fundraising and mobilizing support.
These courses are bearing fruit: more and more projects are receiving part of their funding from their own country. This is logical, because not only has Wilde Ganzen changed over the years, but the world has also changed since 1957. Wealthier middle classes have emerged, and people have become more outspoken. We stimulate this new self-confidence with programs like Giving for Change (2021) and Strengthen the Roots (2022).