Avaaz promotes global awareness and activism. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with citizens and volunteers all around the world. The issues it supports include human rights, climate change, poverty, animal rights, conflict and corruption. It is based in the United States and has worldwide offices.
Funding is from individuals and small organizations, no corporate or large donations are accepted. This keeps it ethically a grass roots NGO. The Guardian has reported that Avaaz relies on the generosity of its members and supporters. They have raised more than $20 million dollars for operations and programs. The Avaaz movement has more than 45 million members worldwide.
The name Avaaz is generated from a Persian word meaning voice. Since its intent is to speak on behalf of under-represented groups and causes, this name is apt. Director Ricken Patel describes its mission as uniting the practical idealists of the world. Close the gaps between where people are and where they want to be.
Avaaz is the community that brings people-powered politics to decision-making around the world. Campaigns are suggested by members from 30 different international offices. By using the Internet, email, petitions and various media-friendly attention getting events Avaaz takes a non-traditional approach to communicating with global decision makers. The Economist asserted, in 2010, that the Avaaz approach may be an asset in an otherwise divided society. The cause is more important than race, class or geography.
Avaaz created a human chain handshake three miles long attempting to create dialogue between the Chinese Embassy in London and the Dalai Lama. This is one example of their non-traditional strategies. Currently, a petition campaign, suggested by members, is attempting to prevent a merger between two major corporations, Monsanto and Bayer.