Peter Douwes

Director, Make-A-Wish Nederland

How the collaboration with How Company started
The charity branch has come under increasing pressure in the past years. Organizations and individuals have become more critical, while the current economic situation now demands of charities like Make-A-Wish Netherlands that they become more proactive in how they approach sponsors and donators. “Our challenge is to become more outward looking, to communicate our message more proactively and to become more visible.” For Peter it was a logical step at this stage to have a serious discussion with the management team and the board about the vision and values of Make A Wish Netherlands and how to make them practical. He wanted to create a solid foundation for the 400 volunteers who make up the Make A Wish organization. They were also closely involved in the process.
  • Personal leadership
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Custom made programs
  • Organizational change
  • Incompany
With their drive, commitment and assertiveness, How Company has helped us take a significant step in the challenging world of charities.
Peter was familiar with the philosophy and approach of How Company. It was clear for him that it all starts with communication and the effect this has on others. One of the core How Company modules is “communication styles”. “This is a powerful and practical instrument to get people to understand each other better.” All employees took communication styles as part of a two-day program including clarification of expectations and how to give (positive and negative) feedback. Meanwhile the management team took sessions with How Company in which they revisited the organizations vision. The values that came out of these sessions were then discussed by the volunteers, who translated them into practical working agreements. That way we know for example what kind of behavior we expect with values such as “professionalism” and “entrepreneurship”. ”The How trainers know how to facilitate this process. They are at ease with themselves, and show both their power and their vulnerability. This creates trust,” says Peter
Going through this process has brought us closer together and we all have a more facilitating role. The How Company training program challenged us to start thinking and behaving outside of the box. We have become more aware about how we want to work together, and have a clearer sense of the direction we want to take with Make-A-Wish. “This is important, because our mission is to give ALL children in this vulnerable target group an experience they will never forget. At the moment we fulfill around 500 wishes per year, but around 1200 children per year are diagnosed with a terminal condition. This means we need to raise enough funds to give this opportunity to all these children.”
About Make-A-Wish The Netherlands
Make-A-Wish Netherlands arranges that terminally ill children between 3 and 18 years old can have their dream come true for a day. For that day the child can focus on their dream and forget about their illness and the worries it brings. It also provides the family some well-needed moral support, which often helps to boost their spirits for weeks and months afterwards, while giving the youngsters a memory they can cherish.