Since 2007, the online activist network Avaaz has encouraged people from around the world to act on national and global issues such as climate change, human rights, government corruption, and poverty. As of July 2017, Avaaz has close to 45 million members serving in 194 countries, and its members have taken over 341 million actions over the past 10 years. Some of these actions include petition signing, emailing, media campaign funding, and event protesting.
Co-founder, president, and executive director Ricken Patel says Avaaz has no ideology other than to unite practical idealists who want to create the world people want. Members are routinely polled to see which issues and campaign ideas are most important to them. Weekly random poll samples of 10,000 members are questioned to see which issues they find the most important. The issues that receive the highest number of votes are then sent out to all other members around the world. Then Avaaz mobilizes its members within several hours to several days to act on the campaigns that are the most critical to its members.
It’s true that the co-founders and members of the leadership team have been involved in progressive politics, but some of Avaaz’s victories are nonpartisan in nature. Some of Avaaz’s campaign victories include:
• Keeping the internet free from corporate control and government censorship
• Providing millions of dollars in aid to survivors of natural and man-made disasters
• Protecting the environment and reducing the effects of climate change
• Providing justice and love to victims of sexual slavery
Some people are criticizing Avaaz for creating laziness in activism through its online petitioning, but Avaaz’s members show up where they are needed, even at the risk of their own lives.