Ricken Patel – Avaaz.org …Why Avaaz matters

As soon as humanity discovered nuclear power, we almost wiped ourselves out with it. Now our industries have the power to destroy our biosphere through climate change, and we’re moving headlong into that fate. And more ‘doomsday powers’ are coming thick and fast. The challenges we face today are enormous, but they pale in comparison to what our grandchildren will face.
Which is why we need Avaaz. It’s not just to get the kind of collective global action we need to survive the climate crisis and other challenges of today. But to do so in a way that brings us together, stronger and wiser, to face all the challenges to our survival that are coming tomorrow.
Avaaz is the only massive, genuinely global, high tech movement of citizens coming together across every border to meet all our common challenges. Our promise is unique, and so is our responsibility. As we head into 2014, with a gigantic community of over 32 million people and growing exponentially, we urgently need to fulfill our potential to change the world.
It’s amazing, but a small number of us make our entire community possible with a small weekly donation a few dollars/euros/pounds, the price of a cup or two of coffee. That funds all of Avaaz’s core expenses. But to rise to this moment and build the movement our world needs, we need to accelerate — by increasing our number of weekly ‘sustainers’ to 50,000, and ramping up our capacity to do everything we do.

AvaazpixClick below to make it happen and buy the world a cup of coffee in 2014.
Click to pledge what you can, we’ll process your donation only if we reach our goal of 50,000 sustainers:

To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.

It’s thrilling to see our community explode, not just in size, but in depth of commitment, and determination to change the world together. The results have been clear:

  • killing ACTA, the largest global attack on internet freedom
  • beating big pharma, and banning bee-killing pesticides in Europe
  • breaking dictators’ media blackout attempts of protest movements in the Arab Spring
  • stopping Rupert Murdoch‘s attempts to expand his media mafia empire by 50%.
  • protecting forests and driving forward government policies on climate change.
  • passing major anti-corruption legislation, from Brazil to Italy.
  • upholding the global ban on whaling
  • winning hundreds of other battles, from saving Maasai land, to stopping the flogging of a 15 year old rape victim in the Maldives.

Making a small but steady weekly contribution enables Avaaz to plan responsibly around long-term costs like our tiny but awesome staff team, our website and technology, and the security of our staff and systems (this can get pricey when our campaigns are taking on shady characters!). It also means we have the ability to respond immediately to crises as they occur and jump on opportunities for action without delay.
Donating to Avaaz has a double-impact — because our donations not only make change now by empowering particular campaigns, every contribution builds our community that will be making change for decades to come. It’s an investment with both immediate and long-term results for our children’s and our planet’s future. Click here to contribute.

To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.

I know that donating is an act of hope, and of trust. I feel a huge and serious sense of responsibility to be a steward of that hope, and my team and I are deeply committed to respecting the trust you place in us with your hope, time, and resources. It’s a special thing we’re building here, and if we can keep believing in each other, anything is possible.
With hope and gratitude for this amazing community,
PS – If you’re still thinking it over, here’s 11 more reasons to support Avaaz :)
Reason 1 – What we do works
With more than 32 million members in every nation of the world, able to mobilize at a moment’s notice to pressing needs and opportunities, Avaaz works — together we’ve saved lives in Haiti and Burma, reversed government policies from Brazil to Japan, and won victories on international treaties from banning cluster bombs to preserving oceans. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says of Avaaz “You have driven forward the idealism of the world … do not underestimate your impact on leaders,” while the Economist says Avaaz is “poised to deliver a deafening wake up call to world leaders,” and Al Gore says “Avaaz is inspiring, and has already made a difference.” We’re only 6 years old and growing fast, and the more our members get involved and donate, the more impact we have.
Make a pledge here.
Reason 2 – An Avaaz donation is an investment with permanent social change returns
With Avaaz, our donations fund high impact campaigns that also recruit more people. More people means more donations, and more impact. So you’re not only achieving a particular change with your donation, you’re helping grow a community with new members that will multiply your donation many times over, and be a permanent and ever-increasing source of change. It’s a tremendous philanthropic value to have this kind of double and permanent impact.
Reason 3 – We have no bureaucracy
Avaaz is a massive network of citizens, but our organisation is absolutely tiny — just 55 full time campaigners with operational and technology support. Most large global NGOs have hundreds or even thousands of staff. Our small size means we have no time for red tape, layers of management, or being focused on anything but getting results.
Reason 4 – We’re regularly audited, and fiscally responsible
There’s a lot of fear out there about misuse of donated money. Most of the fear is misplaced – most organisations are filled with good people trying to do good things. With Avaaz you can be sure – partly because we’re required by law to be audited every 12 months. This audit thoroughly checks every aspect of our books and financial practices. We’ve been audited 6 times since we launched and every time been given a squeaky clean bill of health (for details, click here).
Reason 5 – We have a world-class team that does outstanding work
Campaigning, advocacy and social change are a serious and demanding business — the more competent the team, the more impact our donations have. Avaaz attracts some of the best campaigners and advocates in the world. Many of our Campaign Directors joined us after being CEOs of successful advocacy organisations, and most have degrees from the top universities in the world.
Make a pledge here.
Reason 6 – We’re 100% independent
Avaaz takes absolutely no money from governments or corporations. This is hugely important to ensuring that our voice is exclusively determined by the values of our members, and not by any large funder or agenda. While we received initial seed grants from partner organisations and charitable organisations, 100% of the Avaaz budget now comes from small online donations. This means that the only agenda we have to follow is the people’s agenda.
Reason 7 – We pass the money on when it makes sense, and give to the best efforts
Avaaz has donated more than $5 million to other organisations, because we saw them as better placed than us to have impact on a particular issue. For example, we’ve granted $1.6 million to Burmese monks and aid groups, $1.3 million to Haitian aid organisations (see this video from the groups that received our donations), and more than $1 million to relief organisations in Pakistan. The way we support organisations is important too. Most foundations have endless process and constraints that make them slow, bureaucratic and risk averse in supporting advocacy. Avaaz finds the best people and organisations and doesn’t micromanage them — we just empower them to do what they know best.
Reason 8 – We’re political (this really matters)
Most charities offer tax deductibility for donations. But this means that they are, in a way, partially taxpayer funded, and governments use that to place a very thick set of rules on what they can and can’t do. Chief among them is restricting what they can say to criticize, support, or oppose a politician. Avaaz is very rare in that our donations are not tax deductible, leaving us 100% free to say and do whatever we need to to get leaders to listen to people. Since so many important issues are won and lost in the political realm, this makes us much more effective than advocacy groups that shy away from speaking out politically.
Reason 9 – We go where the greatest needs and opportunities are
Most organisations focus on a single issue over a long period of time. This is very important to do, but that can mean that when desperate needs or amazing opportunities for social change arise, they get ignored because everyone is working on their own issue. Avaaz campaigns target the most urgent needs and opportunities, showing up just when a powerful burst of citizens’ attention is needed most. We work continuously with top quality partners in the areas we campaign on, and all describe Avaaz as an amazing added value to their work.
Make a pledge here.
Reason 10 – Democratic accountability is hard-wired into our model
The Avaaz model of campaigning is people-powered. Our priorities are set at annual and weekly levels by polls of our membership and every campaign we run is first polled with members. No matter how much work we put into developing a campaign, if it fails to get the greenlight from members, we don’t run it. So on a day to day basis, how we spend the donations we receive is determined directly by members.
Reason 11 – There’s no other organisation like us
Avaaz is the world’s first and only massive, high-tech, people-powered, multi-issue, genuinely global advocacy organisation. In a world where the problems we face are consistently global, and the solutions to them increasingly require global, democratic action, Avaaz is uniquely placed to effect change. No other organisation can rapidly mobilize large-scale, coordinated democratic pressure in over 194 countries within 24 hours. A new model of internet-based, people-powered politics has changed politics in several countries, and Avaaz is taking that proven model global. The result is already the largest global online movement in history, and we’re just getting started.

To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.

John Whitehouse, Media Matters for America

Media Matters for America
What we’re reading this week: The president of Fox News is at it again, spreading long-debunked myths. We’re also looking at Glenn Beck‘s new book, why the History Channel is turning to a birther, and just how shameless Sean Hannity really is.

John Whitehouse Twitter: @existentialfish

Will Fox Fact Check The Boss?

The conservative Bradley Foundation gave Roger Ailes a prize Wednesday night, and in his acceptance speech, the head of Fox News repeated two lies Fox had previously pushed: that Obamacare would require 16,000 new IRS agents (which FactCheck.org called “wildly inaccurate”) and that President Obama was unaccounted for on the night of the Benghazi attacks (there’s visual evidence of him meeting with his security team). Will Fox News have the courage to fact check the boss? http://mm4a.org/13F9GQy
Related: Ross McKibben at the London Review of Books examines the career of Rupert Murdoch, and how notions opf “balance” enable his outlets to push lies: http://bit.ly/11bC4vw

We Actually Read This Book

Despite any evidence of widespread demand, Glenn Beck’s new novel The Eye Of Moloch, the sequel to The Overton Window is out this week, and it features terrible plot devices, a 132-year old supervillain, and the weirdest conservative invocation of Ronald Reagan yet. Ben Dimiero and Simon Maloy read it because you weren’t going to. http://mm4a.org/140toqm

Importing Extremism

The English Defence League is a violent nationalist hate group. It targets Muslim communities in Britain with its frequent staged violent protests. And yet Fox host Brian Kilmeade praised the group’s leader, saying “it’s great what you’re doing” and “we got your back.” http://mm4a.org/18thQSD


Back in the day, Sean Hannity proselytized for NSA data mining and surveillance. Now, he’s singing a different tune. http://mm4a.org/17HAtRP


The History Channel is giving a show to birther and fringe conspiracy theorist Mancow Mueller. Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald explores how History lost the history: http://bit.ly/11bAfyr


Conservative media are claiming new anti-harassment recomendations for college campuses will ban flirting. As Amanda Marcotte explains at The Daily Beast, the change is about separating flirting from harassment. http://thebea.st/11bAHNf


Bill O’Reilly, Camp Counselor


FOX … wants to take over

 AvaazpixMia Cambronero – Avaaz.org
Dear friends across the US,

The government is about to change the rules so that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch can monopolize media markets all across the country! But they’re required by law to review our comments, and if we inundate them with thousands of messages of opposition now, we can stop this attack on our free media:

Sign the petition

The government is about to change the rules to allow Fox News to expand its empire! The plan could be approved at any moment, so we need to act now to stop it.

The owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, is gearing up to buy the Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times to corrupt our democracy with more of his right-wing propaganda. Until now, federal law didn’t allow someone who owns a television station to also buy a newspaper in the same market. Unbelievably, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is thinking of creating an exception to the rule that would let Murdoch sneak through.

The FCC has tried this twice before, only to be stopped by public backlash. Let’s stop them again. Send a message to the FCC right now before they vote to give Murdoch more power:


The current FCC rules prevent any company from owning a major daily newspaper and a television station in the same market. This is an old and sensible rule designed to prevent any one person or company from controlling too many of our information sources, and thereby undermining healthy democratic debate. But the FCC is considering a “waiver” to that rule that would allow a baron like Murdoch — who already controls enough media to dominate American public opinion — to expand his empire in the country’s second and third largest cities.

The FCC Chair claims he needs to make these changes to comply with the FCC’s Congressional mandate and that it won’t actually help Murdoch, but that’s wrong. Although companies that already own one of the top 4 TV stations in a given market won’t be allowed to take advantage of the new waiver, and FOX is in the top 4 in many markets, it’s the number 5 channel in LA and Chicago — so the rule is almost perfectly designed to give Murdoch a pass in the two places where it’s been reported that he wants to buy major papers.

We take pride in America’s diversity, yet 6 giant corporations control more than half of what we watch and read every day — down from 50 companies three decades ago. The perils of media consolidation are already on clear display. Local newsrooms are closing, investigative journalism is collapsing and diverse viewpoints are shrinking from our airwaves.

The FCC was created to protect our free media, not drown it. Let’s shower them with a wave of public comments to abandon the waiver proposal, and bring the people power needed to kill this poison on our media diversity:


Any thriving democracy gives its citizens the fundamental right to choose between truly diverse sources of media. Last year, Avaazers in the UK helped stop Murdoch’s power grab through a huge public outcry. Let’s unite now to protect US democracy from Murdoch and other media barons once and for all.

With hope and determination,

Mia, Allison, Ian, Emily, Ricken, Pedro and the rest of the Avaaz team


An FCC Christmas gift for Rupert Murdoch? (Salon)

Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch? (Free Press)

Opponents decry FCC plans on media ownership (USA Today)

These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America (Business Insider)