Avaaz is a non-governmental U.S.-based civic organization that uses global activism to raise awareness of conflict, corruption, human rights, poverty, climate change and other pressing issues of international importance. The organization was founded in 2007 and is now considered to be among the largest and most powerful networks involved in online activism. The name Avaaz was chosen because it roughly translates to mean voice or song in many Indo-European languages including English. The organization uses demonstrations, petitions and similar action to advocate for an independent press in areas that are involved in conflict.
The organization was co-founded through the collaboration of several NGOs. They include the Service Employees International Union, Res Publica, an organization made up of public sector professionals involved in promoting deliberative democracy, civic virtue and good governance and the U.S. based non-profit advocacy group that works to promote progressive public policy, MoveOn.org.
Some of the individuals that played a seminal role in founding Avaaz were Tom Perriello, former Virgina congressman, Tom Pravda, Ricken Patel, Eli Pariser, executive director of Moveon.com, David Madden a progressive Australian entrepreneur, Andrea Woodhouse and Purpose.com co-founder Jeremy Heimans. Eli Pariser is the chairman of the organization’s board, the president is Ricken Patel Tom Pravda is secretary and the treasurer is Ben Brandzel.
Initially the start-up costs and staff of Avaaz was funded by several foundations. However, beginning in 2009 the organization has not accepted donations from corporations or foundations neither has it accepted any donation that is over $5,000. Its activities are funded through its 10,000 members’ generosity. Still, Avaaz has been able to raise in excess of $20 million.
Avaaz manages its global campaigns through campaigners in more than 30 countries. They communicate via email and their campaigning tactics include rallies, sit-ins, phone-ins, demonstrations, online public petitions and media friendly stunts.
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