Launched in January of 2007 Avaaz is a civic organization based in the USA that promotes activism on a global scale on issues like animal rights, human rights, climate change, conflict, poverty, and corruption. They chose the name based off a Persian word that roughly translates to song or voice.
The company was co-founded by a mix of individuals and groups including the current executive director Ricken Patel. Some of the other founders are MoveOn.org, Res Publica, as well as Tom Perriello, Eli Pariser, Jeremy Heimans, David Madden, and Andrea Woodhouse. The board includes the above mentioned Ricken Patel, Eli Pariser, Tom Pravda, and Ben Brandzel.
The executive director, Ricken Patel is Canadian-British, studied at Balliol College and Oxford University. Patel focused on politics, philosophy, and economics (PPE). He also has a masters degree from Harvard. He worked around the world for the International Crisis Group. When Patel returned to the USA he was a volunteered for MoveOn.org and learned how to promote activism through online tools.
In 2009, after the initial setup and launch of Avaaz, the company hasn’t taken any donations from corporations or foundations. They also haven’t accepted payments of any more than $5000. Avaaz instead relies on individual members, who have raised $20,000,000.
Avaaz global campaigns through email with their members with a campaign team based in at least 30 countries including India, the UK, Brazil, and Lebanon. The email communications use tactics such as public petitions, email-your-leader, and videos to campaign for various causes.
The suggestions for the different campaigns comes from its members with specialized teams used for guidance. The ideas are initially sent to 10,000 members to see if they hold weight. If there’s enough interest all Avaaz members are then sent the email.
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