Avaaz is an activist organization based in the U.S. with the goal of highlighting civic causes and galvanizing global action. Drawing its name from the Persian word for “voice”, which carries a similar meaning in many languages, Avaaz also seeks to be a unifying force, drawing international attention to issues concerning climate change, human rights, poverty, corruption, and conflict.
Founded in 2007, Avaaz website explains its mission is to “organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.” The organization harnesses technology to put pressure on governments to act in moments of crisis and opportunity over a short period of time.
Avaaz reaches out to its members via email while utilizing online-petitions, funding media campaigns, lobbying government leaders, organizing “offline” protest events, and obtaining legal advice to move a campaign forward. Members can also support causes through social media and donations.
Avaaz members cross multiple demographic boundaries and set the organization’s agenda, often initiating campaigns. Being strictly member-funded, it accepts no money from corporations or governments in order to preserve accountability to its members and remain independent of outside influence.
Often described as an organization of practical idealists, Avaaz employs a democratic system of activism. Drawing from member suggestions for campaigns, team members create compelling calls to action to the Avaaz community. If the response is strong among a small sample of Avaaz members, the campaign expands with a broader call to action and requests for petition signatures or donations.
Avaaz’s nimble and flexible model of activism has had a hand in many victories including the success of the Paris Climate Agreement, keeping the internet free from corporate and government control, fighting chemical agriculture, donating millions to humanitarian aid, and ocean conservation.