The Civic Work of Avaaz

In 2007, The U.S.-based Avaaz was launched. This is a civic activist organization co-founded via a partnership between civic rights groups, Res Publica and MoveOn.org. There were also a several key individuals who were co-founders: Ricken Patel, Tom Pravda, Tom Perriello, Eli Pariser, David Madden, Jeremy Heimans, and Andrea Woodhouse. Of these individuals, Patel, Pravda, and Pariser sit on its board. Patel also serves as its president and executive director. Patel has much prior experience in international civic rights work, having previously worked for the International Crisis Group in locations all over the globe.

Avaaz is today an extremely well respected an online activist organization focused on climate change, human rights, animal rights, corruption, poverty, and conflict. Avaaz, a Persian word which means “voice” or “song” was selected because this word is similar in a lot of other languages. As a matter of policy, it does not take donations from foundations or corporations and has not done so since 2009. The vast majority of its funding comes from individuals. To facilitate its many fundraising campaigns, Avaaz has campaigners all over the world who do campaigns in more than 30 countries.
These campaigners also play an instrumental role in networking with members and organizing protest events. All of the many members worldwide are included in the planning and their ideas listened to. If one of them has a particularly good idea, that idea will be brought before all the members for a vote. Avaaz is so committed to these member-led activities that in the past they have shelled out millions to give equipment and training to members for planned events. Many of its activities tend toward progressiveness, such as climate change and immigration-related events. Although its workings are not without its critics, the future of Avaaz looks very bright indeed.

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