For many activist organizations, the campaigns they decide to work on are chosen by the leadership of the organization. These campaigns are then passed on to the membership so they can act upon them.
Avaaz, the world’s biggest activist organization, however, does things a lot differently. That is probably why it has such a large membership and is so successful with what it does.
Why does Avaaz choose the campaigns it works on? — New social and political issues are brought to the attention of Avaaz every day. Even though it has 44 million members and staff in 30 countries, it does not have the time to act on every one of them.
That is why it carefully chooses the issues it will introduce to its membership. Thus, making sure the membership is interested in the issues, and willing to do what is necessary to effect change.
The members choose the issues — When a new issue is looked at, Avaaz leadership randomly chooses 10,000 Avaaz members and sends them an email about the new issue. The email asks them if they think Avaaz should act upon the issue or if it should be ignored.
If the majority of the 10,000 members thinks an issue is important, Avaaz then sends information about the issue to the rest of the membership to be acted upon.
Actions include online petitions, protests, sit-ins, phone campaigns targeted at elected officials, and the launching of a media campaign.
Occasionally, if they are not sure how best to target a new issue, Avaaz will also hire legal help to look at the issue and give advice.
How successful are the Avaaz campaigns? — Avaaz has been able to positively impact issue on climate change, whaling, human rights, women’s rights, free speech and maintaining a free and open Internet.
Since its inception, the organization has been able to create positive change with more than 2,500 issues around the world.
For more information on Avaaz follow them on Twitter.