celebrities | June 05, 2013

Social Media Gives Petitions New Life: The NYT Profiles Ben Rattray

Change.org, the online petition platform founded by Ben Rattray, has been garnering a lot of positive press. Most recently, the social change speaker and his website were profiled by The New York Times. With the company growing so rapidly, petitions started by its users are generating an increasing amount of media attention. But even with all of the added publicity, Rattray says the company (which is a for-profit social enterprise) will remain focused on the campaigners and their causes. "We aren’t in the business of optimizing and maximizing profits," he said in the NYT feature. "We’re in the business of impact."

Despite using a decades old form of activism, Rattray says that local, focused petitions seem to have the greatest return in terms of social impact. "This merging of old-school advocacy with social media made the petition much more effective [than other methods]," Rattray said. "I saw the potential power of that technology to connect people around issues of common interest [and enable] people to speak out for issues they care about." What are his plans for the future? Well, Rattray says he is developing tools and strategies to turn one-time successful victories into long term social movements.

In his talks, Rattray shares the story of how he built Change.org from the ground up. He discusses both his successes and failures, and teaches audiences what you can learn from your mistakes. A frequently requested speaker, Rattray delivers a positive keynote packed with takeaways about what it's like to both make a profit and change the world. This new social enterprise is an exciting space—and Rattray will guide you through the ventures that will allow you to make the world a better place.

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