Which are the ten best activist organizations in the world?
Out of the thousands of organizations whose evolution and track record the Altruist League follows, we keep 1-2% in what we call the Altruist Index. So, when members come to us and say, “Which organizations should I support if I have no topical or geographic preference?," we answer, “Those!”
But a question often follows: “Yes, but which ones are the very best?” To answer this, we have put in place a metric we call Velocity. Its formula is relatively complex. Our methodology captures dozens of parameters for each organization. Some of them come from analysts' manual research. Others come from our machine learning model and various environment scanning tools.
Here are some of the organizations with the highest Velocities as measured by the Altruist League for the month of September 2020, globally:
1. Black Lives Matter - Velocity 84.4
Unsurprisingly, Black Lives Matter (BLM) tops our list. Racial injustice, along with the pandemic, is the dominant theme of 2020, and not just in the United States. BLM has seen its visibility and funding increase exponentially. A movement often criticised for lack of clear leadership and direction has gained in coherence as articulate, inspiring voices have emerged to represent it. Its operations on the ground are becoming formidable. It has become progressive America’s conscience and your neighborhood company’s cause of choice.
The coming period will be more difficult for the movement than it would seem at the first glance. It is now firmly in the crosshairs of right wing media, ready to pounce on its messaging (“defund the police”) and the looting that comes with the protesting; indeed, BLM’s popularity has taken a hit recently. The corporate world will be looking to co-opt its message and water it down. BLM still needs to define a strategy that influences the opinions of the more conservative people in the middle of the political spectrum. Still, given its ability to lead change and the moment in which we live, Black Lives Matter is in a unique position among grassroots movements to make a difference in the coming period.
2. LUCHA Congo - 79.1
If there ever was a movement that operated in difficult conditions and by the power of grassroots organizing alone then LUCHA is one. The youth-led group, active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the past ten years or so, wants peace, democracy, and an end to corruption in its country. They have spoken truth to power with grave consequences, and have been persecuted, arrested and killed with alarming regularity.
And yet they continue, shaping a new generation of Congolese people, urging the youth to vote, to take action, to refuse to accept the status quo as normal and inevitable. LUCHA operates with remarkable tactical awareness and operational competence in circumstances that make challenges faced by Western activist movements seem laughable in comparison. They are not unique in the region by any means - the tradition runs from Y’en a marre through Bour li deor and beyond - but are certainly the most notable of late.
3. The Good Lobby - 78.8
“Lobbying” has for the longest time been a dirty word among progressive movements. Somehow, the world is supposed to fix itself just by the power of our protests and voices. It doesn’t work that way. In Europe, we have seen organizations such as Corporate Europe Observatory and Lobby Control try to understand and expose corporate influence on politics. This proto version of counter-lobbying has had some success. In the U.S., organizations that train grassroots activists (Rhize, the Wildfire Project and many others) sometimes include education on lobbying.
The Good Lobby makes things more focused and more explicit - it instructs the civil society to organize and lobby for itself, by understanding European institutions and law and using the power levers to its advantage. The Brussels-based, Italian-dominated organization still has ways to go - its communication style can be dry, its resources limited, but it is nonetheless an essential trailblazer on the continent. Influencing the political process should be part of every social movement’s core strategy. The importance and the replicability of the Good Lobby’s model are a major component of its Velocity in our book.
4. Sunrise Movement - 78.1
The Sunrise Movement is unashamedly political because, well, climate change needs political solutions. A favorite target of conservative media, Sunrise has doubled down and involved itself explicitly in political races, both the presidential and the congressional ones, with plenty of success. They seem to have learned the lessons from the failure of Occupy to produce change, often attributed to a lack of strategy, narrow support base and unclear demands.
Sunrise has attracted support from philanthropy heavyweights already while keeping its public perception as independent and grassroots-led. One of its challenges in the coming period will be, just like for Black Lives Matter, to not only mobilize its base of the young and the angry but also reach towards the middle ground and change the minds of the undecided. Another will be to keep its supporters motivated as its often unrealistic ambitions and a sense of urgency keep clashing with the slow, cynical reality of the political process.
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