Avaaz.org- From Technology, new nimbleness and flexibility!
It seems like everywhere you turn nowadays someone is complaining about the internet - the danger which it poses, the opportunities it affords to criminals, the security it lacks and the privacy which it takes from us. However it is wise to remember that although the rapid growth of the internet and social media may carry certain risks, it also has immense power to improve our lives and it can prove to be an indispensable tool for start-ups attempting to expand their following.
We love to hear about organizations which have embraced the internet to realise their full potential but we take particular notice when we hear of people who are determined to use the internet as a force for good, harnessing its ability to reach large numbers of people and encourage them to do their bit in service of mankind and the planet.
Introducing Avaaz.org - one such online community that uses an innovative approach to technology to simplify the process of social activism and empower its community to strive for a fairer, more democratic and equal world.
At last count there were 25,403,079 members in the online community, which has based itself upon on the old adage that there is strength in numbers... and the results they have achieved certainly stand as testament to that! In their short 6 year history, Avaaz.org has grown from humble beginnings to being the worlds largest, most international activist community and placed itself at the centre of countless political divisions, social injustices, humanitarian aid missions, climate change issues and human rites campaigns. Here is just a taster of what they have achieved
2007 - Avaaz members united in support of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the community released a video Stop the Clash which has received over 2.5 million views on YouTube and was awarded YouTube's political video of the year award.
2008 - 164,000 Avaaz members emailed world leaders urging the eradication of loopholes in the world wide ban of cluster bombs, as a result more than 100 countries signed a treaty.
2009 - As the Brazilian government was about to hand over a large area of the Amazon Rainforest for agricultural development, Avaaz members made 14,000 phone calls and sent 30,000 emails to the Brazilian presidents office and the bill was eventually defeated.
2010 - Members contributed $1.3m to the humanitarian relief effort in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there on 12 January.
2011 - Avaaz appealed to the UN Security Council to impose strict regulations to protect innocent civilians of the 2011 Libyan civil war including a no-fly zone over the country.
2012 - 3 Million Avaaz members signed a petition opposing a bill that would have given the US government the right to shut down websites such as Youtube and Wikileaks.
What is clear from this brief snapshot of achievements is that Avaaz.org is quite unique amongst online activist communities in the sheer scale of its following and the variety of issues it tackles. The existence of an organisation such as this simply wouldn't be possible without the innovative use of modern communication techniques which have allowed Avaaz.org to cover the broad issues which it does, rather than focus on solely on a small handful of concerns as previous social movements have done. This online following ensures that for every issue they raise they can be confident that they have sufficient numbers of people ready and willing to support them and help drive their campaign forward.
Furthermore this online organisational structure not only means they can bring global issues to the world’s attention but also local issues to global attention - or as Avaaz would have it “From technology, new nimbleness and flexibility”.
The success that Avaaz.org has had in implementing change is fantastic and we congratulate them on their inspirational journey from being a relatively small group of people with a dream of making a difference to becoming an organization of global proportions. This growth surely highlights on a grand scale the often untapped value that the internet and social media can add to a start-up!
As a start-up online community ourselves we find it really encouraging to know that portals which give people the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to something they are passionate about can grow from a small group of individuals to such sizeable international communities. This is a model which is repeating more and more nowadays with sites and communities such as Digital Dumbo, Creative Boom and Escape The City all having grown rapidly after identifying a niche and providing people with a forum to voice their opinions.
If you enjoyed hearing about Avaaz.org why not visit their website and find out more about how they managed to build such an enormous community! A big high five from Startacus!!
If you like articles about social impact / social activation you might also like: