Avaaz is a member funded web-site that was launched in 2007. It currently has over 46 million members in 194 different countries. This unique structure allows Avaaz to spread awareness and take action on a global level. Even the name itself translates to “voice” in Persian. And that’s exactly what they do. They give every member a voice on issues like animal rights, poverty, corruptions, and conflict.
Avaaz’s CEO and founding president is Ricken Patel. Patel studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Balliol College. He then went on to receive his masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. Patel worked for the International Crisis Group in nations like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and Afghanistan. He describes his mission to be “To close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”
So how does it work? Ideas for campaigns are polled and tested every week with 10,000 random members. Only the ones that receive a strong response go through to the next stage. The staff then shares the campaigns through email with all of their members, who can then decide weather or not to support it. The staff will deliver petitions and arrange member funded ad campaigns. By staying completely member funded, Avaaz ensures that their millions of members cannot be used to further any corporation or governments agenda. They are required to be audited every 12 months, and every time they have been given a clean bill of health.
Avaaz is the first global advocacy organization that has changed politics in several countries, including Japan and Brazil. In addition to this, they have also had a major role in ocean conservation, and providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters. Avaaz is helping to save bees, rainforests, and refugees around the globe. They are able to quickly establish a massive, orderly movement in over 194 countries in under 24 hours.
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