Marking its 15th anniversary as a leading online platform for exploring Irish history and heritage worldwide, The Wild Geese is turning to non-conventional sources to fund a complete revamp of the popular website.

Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and named a "Top Choice" website for "serious fans of Ireland's contribution to world culture" by the Wall Street Journal, the planned site upgrade will add engaging social-sharing and community-building capabilities, along with the benefits of innovative "Heritage Partner" affiliations.

The online funding effort, hosted on the crowdfunding platform, began Mon., Nov. 12, 2012, and will run 30 days through Tues., Dec. 11 with the goal of raising $15,000 to create a new web experience for The Wild Geese’s nearly 20,000 unique visitors each month. Its creators are already re-imagining the site's hand-crafted, folksy but decidedly outmoded look and dated navigation, and enhancing its hundreds of articles by incorporating social-sharing innovations. They also plan to build a community designed to facilitate hundreds of conversations daily among the 72 million people of Irish ancestry worldwide, 37 million in the United States alone.

"With its goal of attracting modest contributions from within our constituencies, crowdfunding is ideal for The Wild Geese, which is all about community ¾ a passionate community of people who want to explore, discuss, promote, preserve and celebrate their Irish heritage worldwide," said The Wild Geese Executive Producer and co-founder Gerry Regan.

The key, he said, is bringing together within its pages, the thousands of heritage marketers throughout the Irish Diaspora and the huge audience worldwide that wants to better understand their Irish roots and the experiences of their ancestors. But that can’t be done with the current site.

Regan, a journalist and lifelong, self-described “student of history,” Micah Chandler, and Joseph E. Gannon, a fellow Irish history devotee and writer, created the site in November 1997, naming it for "The Wild Geese," Irish soldiers forced to emigrate from their homeland in 1691 after being defeated by overwhelming forces, a symbol the two hold forth for all the Irish who left their country due to famine, poverty, injustice and lack of opportunity then made their marks on countries around the globe.

"The inspiring story of the Wild Geese is really the story of global Irish.  We are creating this new online community experience to tell that story the right way," Regan said. "We've put together a compelling case for support through the video and narrative on our IndieGoGo campaign page, along with great Irish-themed thank-you gifts for donors from our Heritage Partners ¾ books, music, documentary films, art, jewelry and exclusive experiences."

Donor rewards are to include jewelry incorporating the claddagh and wild geese in flight; a subscription to Irish America Magazine; a custom report on the history of your Irish ancestral townland from Cork-based Know Thy Place; a Certificate of Irish Heritage; an Irish music CD pack featuring Heritage Partners Cherish the Ladies, Black 47, Derek Warfield, Ashley Davis, Jed Marum, Marie Reilly, Grainne Holland, and others; football jerseys from The GAA Store; genealogy advice from Ireland-based experts Helen Kelly and Nicola Morris; story telling from seanachie Jim Hawkins; books from author and activist Father Sean McManus, historians Turtle Bunbury, John Ridge and Lynn Bushnell, Art Mattson, and Joe McGowan; artwork by Edmund Sullivan, John A. Walsh, and Maryann Tracy; the color catalog from the new Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, and much more.

Whether they're part of the global Irish family or just devotees of Irish history and culture, donors will help create a new Wild Geese, graced with a vast library of archived content, a site that's more welcoming, better looking, easier to use, and with many new features for social sharing and community building.

To learn more about The Wild Geese, readers can visit the project's campaign page here.

The Wild Geese is building a new home - a place for all to explore and celebrate Irish heritage worldwideThe Wild Geese