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Avaaz is the world's first and only massive, high-tech, people-powered, multi-issue, genuinely global advocacy organization. In a world where the problems we face are consistently global, and the solutions to them increasingly require global, democratic action, Avaaz is uniquely placed to effect change. No other organization can rapidly mobilize large-scale, coordinated democratic pressure in over 194 countries within 24 hours. A new model of internet-based, people-powered politics has changed politics in several countries, and Avaaz is taking that proven model global. The result is already the largest global online movement in history, and we're just getting started.
Something big is happening. From Tahrir Square to Wall St., from staggeringly brave citizen journalists in Syria to millions of us winning campaign after campaign online, democracy is stirring. Not the media-circus, corrupt, vote-every-4-years democracy of the past. Something much, much deeper. Deep within ourselves, we are realising our own power to build the world we all dream of.
We don't have a lot of time to do it. Our planet is threatened by multiple crises - a climate crisis, food crisis, financial crisis, proliferation crisis ... These crises could split us apart like never before, or bring us together like never before. It's the challenge of our time, and the outcome will determine whether our children face a darker world or one thriving in greater human harmony.
"It is wonderful to finally be able to unite with other people on this planet, to stand up, to be heard. I am so happy and so proud to be part of Avaaz. Sometimes I can't believe this is really happening! THANK YOU … from the bottom of my heart to all the people who are part of this movement, united in a common spirit." - says Alexandra, Avaaz member from Germany
Avaaz.org is a 17-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 19 countries on 6 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
- In case you're mulling it over, here's 11 more reasons to join Avaaz :)
With more than 17 million members in every nation of the world, able to mobilize at a moment's notice to pressing needs and opportunities, Avaaz works –- together we've saved lives in Haiti and Burma, reversed government policies from Brazil to Japan, and won victories on international treaties from banning cluster bombs to preserving oceans. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says of Avaaz "You have driven forward the idealism of the world ... do not underestimate your impact on leaders," while the Economist says Avaaz is "poised to deliver a deafening wake up call to world leaders," and Al Gore says "Avaaz is inspiring, and has already made a difference." We're only 6 years old and growing fast, and the more our members get involved and donate, the more impact we have.
With Avaaz, our donations fund high impact campaigns that also recruit more people. More people means more donations, and more impact. So you're not only achieving a particular change with your donation, you're helping grow a community with new members that will multiply your donation many times over, and be a permanent and ever-increasing source of change. It's a tremendous philanthropic value to have this kind of double and permanent impact.
Avaaz is a massive network of citizens, but our organization is absolutely tiny – just 49 full time campaigners with operational and technology support. Most large global NGOs have hundreds or even thousands of staff. Our small size means we have no time for red tape, layers of management, or being focused on anything but getting results.
There's a lot of fear out there about misuse of donated money. Most of the fear is misplaced – most organizations are filled with good people trying to do good things. With Avaaz you can be sure – partly because we're required by law to be audited every 12 months. This audit thoroughly checks every aspect of our books and financial practices. We've been audited 6 times since we launched and every time been given a squeaky clean bill of health (for details, click here).
Campaigning, advocacy and social change are a serious and demanding business – the more competent the team, the more impact our donations have. Avaaz attracts some of the best campaigners and advocates in the world. Many of our Campaign Directors joined us after being CEOs of successful advocacy organizations, and most have degrees from the top universities in the world.
Avaaz takes absolutely no money from governments or corporations. This is hugely important to ensuring that our voice is exclusively determined by the values of our members, and not by any large funder or agenda. While we received initial seed grants from partner organizations and charitable organizations, 100% of the Avaaz budget now comes from small online donations. This means that the only agenda we have to follow is the people's agenda.
Avaaz has donated more than $5 million to other organizations, because we saw them as better placed than us to have impact on a particular issue. For example, we've granted $1.6 million to Burmese monks and aid groups, $1.3 million to Haitian aid organizations (see this video from the groups that received our donations), and more than $1 million to relief organisations in Pakistan. The way we support organizations is important too. Most foundations have endless process and constraints that make them slow, bureaucratic and risk averse in supporting advocacy. Avaaz finds the best people and organizations and doesn't micromanage them – we just empower them to do what they know best.
Most charities offer tax deductibility for donations. But this means that they are, in a way, partially taxpayer funded, and governments use that to place a very thick set of rules on what they can and can't do. Chief among them is restricting what they can say to criticize, support, or oppose a politician. Avaaz is very rare in that our donations are not tax deductible, leaving us 100% free to say and do whatever we need to to get leaders to listen to people. Since so many important issues are won and lost in the political realm, this makes us much more effective than advocacy groups that shy away from speaking out politically.
Most organizations focus on a single issue over a long period of time. This is very important to do, but that can mean that when desperate needs or amazing opportunities for social change arise, they get ignored because everyone is working on their own issue. Avaaz campaigns target the most urgent needs and opportunities, showing up just when a powerful burst of citizens' attention is needed most. We work continuously with top quality partners in the areas we campaign on, and all describe Avaaz as an amazing added value to their work.
The Avaaz model of campaigning is people-powered. Our priorities are set at annual and weekly levels by polls of our membership and every campaign we run is first polled with members. No matter how much work we put into developing a campaign, if it fails to get the greenlight from members, we don't run it. So on a day to day basis, how we spend the donations we receive is determined directly by members.