Technology has certainly transformed activism. The activist group, Avaaz, is proving that they know how to harness power that is now more easily accessible to the people of the world. Their name means “voice” in several Middle Eastern, Asian, and European languages. Their goal is to unite people in order to highlight the issues and decisions that affect all of us. Currently campaigning in 15 languages, their goals include eradicating poverty, addressing corruption, and bringing attention to climate change. Avaaz’s sleek organizational structure makes them more efficient than other issue-specific groups that all have their own staffs and budgets. Their online community can quickly zero in on a specific issue and magnify the details surrounding it to bring about progress in a more expedient way.
Events and protests are organized through their online presence and communications. Avaaz is well aware of the phenomenon that occurs when a great deal of attention is suddenly focused on one cause or issue. They know that a massive public response specifically directed can suddenly create an opportunity for change. As a member-funded democratic group, they also know that accountability is a paramount concern. No funds are accepted from corporations or governments. Avaaz conducts weekly polls of their members to prioritize upcoming issues and campaigns. The ideas that get the most support are pushed forward and funded. Special attention is given to the way that they communicate with members.
The emails sent to members are crafted so that everybody who receives them can understand the issue at hand quickly and easily decide whether or not to get involved. Many successful campaigns originate from member suggestions and are only advised in how to make their cause more accessible to a large group of people.The core set of values at Avaaz revolves around the concept of social responsibility between the people of the world. Not only to each other but also to those who will come after us and to the Earth itself. This is reflected in how they see members join for one issue and then become involved in several other ones as well.Avaaz was co-founded by MoveOn.org, Res Publica, and the Service Employees International Union. Their founding President and CEO is Ricken Patel, who has a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University.