Restructuring Change.org for the future
by Nick Allardice, CEO, Change.org
Today, I announced a restructuring of Change.org to enable us to sharpen our focus on the infrastructure that supports powerful movements beyond one time petitions. As part of this announcement, we made the decision to reduce our global team by 19%. I want to explain how I arrived at this difficult decision and why.
A changing context
Our mission is to empower people everywhere to create the change they want to see. Historically, we have focused on easy and effective petitions for everyday people. Signing petitions remains one of the top three most frequent civic actions in the world and we’re proud of the role we play as market leader in this space supporting 124 million people every year. But the way change is being made is itself changing.
More than a decade ago, the internet made it possible for one person to capture a powerful moment and have an impact; with a petition, hashtag or event that went viral, shining a light on an issue in a new way. These moments were often powerful, but also fleeting.
Now we’re increasingly seeing the emergence of a class of leaders driving not just viral moments, but ongoing movements. These everyday heroes are leading change globally and locally across everything from racial justice to healthcare to animal welfare. They give up their time in service of a greater good, but often lack the right support to amplify their impact.
We are restructuring in order to double-down on providing this next generation of leaders with the infrastructure they need to build future movements. While petitions will still be part of their toolkit, we’ll be going far beyond that by helping them generate sustainable income and mobilize their audiences across a range of actions and platforms.
How we’re restructuring
Since our transition to non-profit ownership, ensuring mission-first governance in perpetuity, we’ve been able to take a longer view to how we can most effectively pursue our mission. At that time I also formally took on the role of CEO, and a number of new leaders have joined the team since, bringing new expertise and perspectives. Informed by the changing landscape of activism, our results over the last 12 months, and the broader economy, we have been working on what capabilities, structure and financial flexibility we need to take our impact to the next level.
That work led to two key conclusions; (1) we will significantly increase investment in the products and services that provide infrastructure for powerful ongoing movements, and (2) we will streamline our organization to put more resources into work that directly supports our users, while giving us the financial flexibility we need to invest through an economic downturn.
Today’s announcement affects teams across all of our divisions and at every level, from entry level to executive. It’s important to emphasize that these aren’t based on blanket reductions, but instead a number of structural areas of the business where we are adjusting focus.
This doesn’t make it any easier, especially for those affected. Over the last 9 months, we’ve been taking progressive steps toward our new strategy and structure in a way we hoped would minimize the impact on our staff — including repositioning existing teams, slowing hiring, and making budget changes as the broader economic environment worsened. Unfortunately, these simply have not been enough to change the core equation. We need to make a different set of investments, and we need to ensure we’re in a position to make those investments despite a changing economic climate.
Change.org staff are remarkable
Losing team members who have helped make Change.org what it is today, some of whom I’ve worked alongside for years, is something that I feel deeply; this set of changes does not reflect on them at all.
People who work at Change.org are one of a kind; they’re passionate, driven, smart and incredibly capable. Change.org alumni have historically gone on to great things; founding remarkable companies, leading divisions, and raising the bar in the teams they join. The group leaving us are no different; they’re amongst the best out there, and any company would be lucky to have them. I encourage other companies and orgs to snap them up while you can; if you know of an opportunity, reach out to email@example.com and we can connect you.
For most staff affected, today will be their last day. However a number of our team in the US and Canada are part of a union and represented by the CWA, and for those staff we’ve reached out and will begin negotiation on the effects of these decisions, as is required by us.
For those departing today we’re doing our best to support and care for them during the transition. That means:
- 12 weeks severance plus additional time depending on tenure
- 3 months extended healthcare for most colleagues
- Extended wellbeing support through our partner Modern Health
- Job transition support, including interview and resume training, as well as a database we’ll share for anyone looking to hire.
As we move forward, I remind myself of the reason Change.org exists; our users are at the forefront of inspiring, brave and important work every day, and our responsibility to them is high. We don’t make decisions like today’s announcement lighty, but these changes are part of what will ensure we can adapt, evolve and better serve the people who use Change.org for decades to come, and help create a world where no one is powerless.