When Avaaz launched in 2007, online activism was not the behemoth it is today. Before online petition tools, scripts for political advocacy calls, and social media access to politicians were commonplace, Avaaz, whose name means “voice” in Persian and several other languages spoken worldwide, launched with the goal of uniting idealists to create a better world.
Now, the organization is considered one of the most influential online activist tools. The Avaaz website, available in 15 languages, hosts petitions, member stories, and information on public issues from local to global scale. Members can also sign up for emails related to the organization’s issues of focus to receive calls to in-person action, prompts to write to and call government decision makers, and reliable, fact-based briefings on important issues.
Unlike some similar organizations, Avaaz is unique in two ways: rather than focusing on one set of issues, it provides a platform for its members to create change across many spheres, and it is entirely funded by donations from individuals, not corporate or government backers. Avaaz has a budget of over $12 million per year, which it has used to fund projects like large scale lobbying campaigns and providing internet access and communications equipment to activists in the Middle East. And because Avaaz is funded by donations only, its members have a say in where their money is going.
Connecting people across continents, language barriers, and gaps in access to information, Avaaz helps mobilize its members and amplify their voices to create positive change.
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