When you hear about activist networks, chances are the name Avaaz is the one that is first and foremost in your mind. After all, it is known by many as the world’s largest online activist network.
How did Avaaz become so large?
With hard work and an insistence on running its campaigns in a particular manner.
Why does Avaaz run its campaigns the way it does? — When it was founded in 2007, its founding president Ricken Patel had a background in negotiation, election monitoring, crisis conflict and a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Patel had also learned how to promote activism online during his volunteer work with U.S. public policy advocacy group MoveOn.org.
All this meant that, by the time Patel came to found Avaaz, he was already an expert in motivating people to act for positive social change and knew how to use the Internet to do so.
How does Avaaz run its campaigns? — Avaaz started out as primarily a petition organization, but quickly evolved into being an activist organization with a presence in 194 countries on all six continents, and with all of its work being translated into 17 languages.
Once a campaign is started, an online petition is the first thing to appear on the Avaaz website and members are encouraged to sign it.
Soon after, phone campaigns directed at local, national and international governmental officials are begun, along with the organization of offline protests if necessary.
Avaaz also kicks off a media campaign to alert the news media about what is happening.
All of this consistency means members know what to expect, and so can easily participate, the news media knows they will get the information they need and Avaaz staff know how to always run a campaign consistently.
This in turn helps the organization become extremely effective in what it does, and also creates respect from the people it is targeting.
After all, when an online Avaaz petition can generate over a million signatures in just a few days, even elected officials tend to take notice.