May 02, 2013 by Lucy Ellwood-Russell
GetUp! is an Australian non-government organization that campaigns online to give Australians a greater voice in political decision-making. It regularly emails supporters, now more than half a million, to sign petitions, turn up at rallies, write to members of parliament, or donate to a campaign. Donations often are used to take viral videos into other places such as large video screens at sporting events, billboards or commercial television.
GetUp! does not advocate for change on any one issue. Rather, it identifies issues it thinks will resonate with its supporters and Australians in general. GetUp! has called for action on climate change, support for the recently introduced carbon tax, changes to the handling of refugees and asylum seekers, protection of forests, and support for marriage equality.
Rights-based advocacy takes on many shapes. Whether it's the rights of children, gender equality, anti-discrimition for people with disabilities, campaigns against bullying in school or the rights of the poor. On the issue of marriage equality, GetUp! has campaigned for a number of years with varying actions. At the Australian Parliament's annul charity auction, where politicians put up various of products and opportunities for public bid, GetUp! raised $10,000 from its supporters to purchase a dinner with the Prime Minister. It was successful, and they sent three gay couples to the Prime Minister's residence for the dinner.
This month at the Australian Labor Party's annual conference, presided over by the Prime Minister, members will be voting on whether to make it their policy to end marriage discrimination. To help focus the politicians, GetUp! produced a video. Released on the internet over a weekend, by Monday the video had been viewed more that a 1.5 million times.
Now GetUp! is calling for donations to pay for a TV commercial version of the video to be screened on national television. It's another great example of how organizations are harnessing the power of video to bring about change.
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