Trending: The Revolution Will be Digitized–Change.org

“You can’t win with numbers in public advocacy. You win with stories.”   Ben Rattray, CEO of Change.org

We’re watching Change.org rack up “victories every day” just as its slogan proclaims. The platform provides an easy, accessible way for citizens to post petitions that spur social change.

The service has exploded, jumping from 6 million users in early 2012, to more than 80 million users today. At its helm is Ben Rattray, and a seasoned technology executive, Jennifer Dulski. The San Francisco-based company has raised multi-millions in venture capital from sources such as eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s investment firm, Omidyar Network.

So far, the site’s users have launched petitions that pressed Bank of America into dropping its $5 debit card fees, Seventeen magazine committing not to Photoshop models, and having felony charges dropped against high school science student Kiera Wilmot when her project exploded like a bomb.

What makes Change.org such a success story? We think it’s two things: the simplicity of the user interface and the passion of its people.  Let’s focus on the latter.

Your people are the brand.

One look at their recruitment page https://www.change.org/careers speaks volumes about the culture they are fostering. As organizations compete to build effective teams of talented people, the internal communication grows increasingly important. Hiring messages, training, customer service manuals are becoming more public.

I recently had a CEO complain that his new sales guy behaves badly in meetings—texting, looking out the window, and being negative about other’s ideas. I asked if he had anything in his communications about the culture and how they achieve a friendly and productive work environment? Not yet.

Everyone loves a high-functioning workplace. But they don’t form themselves; they need some shaping. Maybe the answer is to spell out the culture you’re aiming to create, not with punitive language, but as Change.org has. It tells a story about who you are and what you hope to achieve. Then use it to attract new people, including customers.