What to do can be the hardest question (Dear Avaazers)

What to do can be the hardest question to ask one’s self.  I have found giving to organizations that really work hard for our people (all of them), the animals (all of them), and the earth (all of it) one way to honor the deep connections that I feel.  The people, the (other) animals, the earth, are so dear.  How could anyone wish to harm them?  Yet, we do.  Humans do.  But we also heal.  We sit beside the one who weeps and share a shoulder, an embrace. We find food and water where there is none or it is scarce.  We liberate the caged.  We find teachers for the children of war whose schools have been bombed to splinters.  We fight to keep GMOs out of our water and off our Mother’s face, even as we mourn the irradiation of the sea.



This letter today from Avaaz cheered my day.  May it lift yours.  -AW


Dear Avaazers, 


I feel continually grateful for the level of trust that Avaaz donors place in our work every month, and I wanted to make sure you know what happens after you make that important choice to hope and to give!


For example – take a look at this:


We’re buying a rainforest!  Over 90,000 of us donated enough to give $1 million to conservation organisations like the Rainforest Trust who are buying land connecting two vital preserves in Borneo that can keep the orangutans alive on this planet with us.

I love this job :)

These amazing girls are a second example:


Yamama and her cousin Hayat are Syrian refugees, but they’re in school  in part because our community raised $1 million in a challenge grant to donor governments to save Syria from a lost generation of children without education. We just got word that governments have matched us over 100:1!! UN Education Envoy Gordon Brown called our effort “magnificent” and “important in getting governments to give.”

And for a third, meet Gaby:


Gaby Lasky is an inspiring Israeli lawyer working with leaders of the Palestinian nonviolent movement and a tireless team to  defend hundreds of peaceful activists against trumped up charges . Our community donated enough to grant $225,000 to Gaby’s efforts!

Many, many more stories to tell, but our community’s top issue for donations has been climate change…


Here’s Filipino climate ambassador  Yeb Sano, delivering a massive petition spearheaded by Avaaz to the world’s climate negotiators.  Our climate change campaign, supported by tens of thousands of monthly ‘sustainer’ donors, has a large team working day and night to press our governments into action on this crisis of our time. Click  here  to read an in-depth report on our climate team’s full-spectrum work to save the world.

But it’s not just the money we donate as a community, but HOW we raise it that makes us a unique force for good in the world. Here’s three things that make us special:


  • Our community calls the shots.  We don’t accept any money (ever!) from governments, corporations, foundations, or large donors — making our community our only boss. Most of the non-profit sector is funded by very rich people, whose preferences deeply shape the work done.
  • We’re super fast.  Even for urgent problems, it can take months or even years to raise money from foundations and large donors — but we can raise over $1 million in hours!
  • We’re political.  Because our donations are not tax deductible, we have no government restrictions on calling out politicians, and politics is where many battles to save the world are won and lost.

Partly because of our unique model and proven track record of impact, the number of Avaaz members choosing to donate has been skyrocketing, heading for 1 million! 


Most of the money donated goes to Avaaz campaigns. But a lot of it, we just give away — over $8 million so far to humanitarian causes and partner organisations who are doing great work that is unlikely to be funded by corporations and foundations. Organisations like the The Equality Effect for whom our community raised $300,000 last year. The head of The Equality Effect said “we are enormously grateful to Avaaz members for supporting us in ensuring laws in Kenya and Malawi protect girls who are vulnerable to some of the most appalling violence in the world.”


Some people criticise activism as useless or feel-good, and they’re sometimes right. But Avaaz has been given awards for our effectiveness, and  our community’s ability not just to speak out powerfully, but to put our money where our mouths are , is a massive part of why we’re a force that is changing the world. And we’re just getting started :).

With huge appreciation and respect for all that everyone is contributing,

Ricken and the team

PS – all our financial accounts are fully audited every year, and every year we get a squeaky clean bill of health. You can see the audit letters, and more financial info  here .