Tim Longhurst's Blog

Avaaz.org – dinners around the world to gauge the sentiments of members

December 13th, 2007 · 2 Comments

How does an organisation with 1.9 million members in over 240 countries stay connected with its grass roots? It’s a challenge for Avaaz.org, the one year old organisation that is modeled on online activist groups like moveon.org and getup.org.au.

One way Avaaz attempts to stay relevent and connected was revealed in an email from Ben Brandzel, which was addressed to the group’s Sydney members:

“G’day! My name is Ben Brandzel, a new senior member of the Avaaz staff. I’m just wrapping up an all-too-brief stay in your beautiful city.

Before I go, I’d love to have dinner with you, to talk about your experience with Avaaz, your thoughts about what we should work on next, and anything else that comes up.

Can you make it?

…Avaaz members are the heart and soul of our organization. But because there are so few of us staff and Avaaz members are all over the world, we rarely get to meet face to face.

So let’s use this opportunity to get to know each other, talk about how Avaaz can be the best it can be, and have fun while saving the world!”

The offer was limited to the first 8 people that replied – of which I was one. The dinner was a great opportunity to see just how diverse Avaaz’s member base is. Although 8 is a small sample, and focus groups have their limitations in terms of research, Ben did an excellent job facilitating a wide-ranging conversation that got to the heart of the concerns, passions and imaginations of those in attendance.

It’s a great model and if other organisations are doing it, I’ve never been invited! It’s definately more appealing than an invite to a focus group – more enjoyable and almost certainly yields better results given the relaxed and informal nature of the gathering.

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Category: Communication and connection

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