Avaaz, a civic organization developed to promote activism on a global level, was established in early 2007 and is based in the United States. The group takes on issues such as conflict, poverty, corruption, animal rights, human rights and climate change. The organization was co-founded by MoveOn.org and Res Publica and received support from the Service Employees International Union.
The organization was also co-founded by several individuals including Andrea Woodhouse, Jeremy Heimans, David Madden, Eli Pariser, Tom Petrello and Tom Pravda and Ricken Patel. Several of the individual members also serve on the board of directors for the organizations in different capacities.
The organization is supported by the generosity of individual members and through that effort the organization has raised more than $20 million. The organization was supported through donations from several foundations that provided funding for start-up costs, as well as staff prior to 2009. Since then, the organization has been supported through the individual donation effort.
The campaigns that Avaaz undertakes are managed by a team representing more than 30 countries. Communication from the team to the membership at large is typically carried out through email. The team uses methods that include email your leader, videos and on-line partitions. They also implement advertising and legal advice to help implement a variety of methods such as sit-ins, phone-ins, rallies and stunts that are always media friendly. The membership at large often suggests methods to campaign, as well as campaign topics.
The organization likes to consider supporting campaigns that are considered progressive. Even though the group is often criticized through the media for its support and involvement of certain causes, they are never deterred from their objective. There are those that often question the groups focus to utilize online methods such as petitions to achieve a goal, as it is sometimes considered to spawn a certain level of laziness. Instead of inspiring activism, are online petitions inspiring clickism? Avaaz defends their position by stating they are bringing awareness to a certain segment of the population that would have remained unaware.
The organizations remains steadfast in their mission to organize the citizens of the world to take action about certain issues that affect the entire population. The priorities of the group are set by the members and the campaigns to support are through member sampling.