Innovation That Matters

Crowd clout for social and political change

Publishing & Media

Crowd clout can be used by consumers to achieve goals as mundane as cheaper prices or as profound as social change. Aiming squarely at the latter end of the spectrum, Avaaz is a global online advocacy community that “brings people-powered politics to global decision-making.” Named for the word meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages, Avaaz has actually been working since 2007 on a simple democratic mission: organize citizens everywhere to help close the gap “between the world that exists and the world most people want.” Toward that end, it uses online and offline advocacy to empower its members to take action on pressing issues of international concern, from global poverty to the crises in the Middle East to climate change. In the past three years, Avaaz has grown to include 5.5 million members from every country on Earth, becoming what it says is the largest global web movement in history; currently, it operates in 14 languages. Achievements to date include more than 20 million actions taken online and off, including messages sent, phone calls and petition signatures, with more than 70 million friends told; raising more than USD 10 million online, including millions in funding and high-tech support for human rights and democracy advocates in Burma, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Iran and Haiti; and organizing nearly 10,000 rallies, flashmobs, vigils, marches and other online events for the climate change movement. Just recently, Avaaz used a petition with more than 2 million signatures, 500,000 online actions and tens of thousands of phone calls to score a major anti-corruption initiative in Brazil. All of which goes to show—on perhaps a larger scale than ever before—the virtually limitless power of the crowds to get what they want.



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