Editor's note: This article was published in July 2021, and has been updated to reflect our latest impact.
Eliminating extreme poverty. Ending hunger. Achieving true equality for all. Mitigating the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change. All these goals might seem daunting, impossible at first; but it’s vital to know and remember that the resources to achieve all these aims exist — the challenge is distributing them and channeling them effectively.
And under significant pressure from citizens everywhere, governments, businesses, and philanthropists can be persuaded to mobilize the funds and resources needed to end poverty, and the systemic inequalities and issues that fuel poverty, worldwide.
This is the belief at the heart of Global Citizen’s mission. We harness the voices of everyday citizens and activists to encourage governments, businesses, and philanthropists to make commitments to support the United Nations’ Global Goals — 17 goals that seek to empower women and girls, drive climate action, and break the systemic barriers that keep people trapped in poverty. We then follow up to make sure promises are kept.
But we’re only able to inspire commitments thanks to the power of Global Citizens everywhere “taking action.”
What Does 'Taking Action' Actually Mean?
“Taking action” involves performing relatively simple acts; but together, these small actions add up to tremendous collective power to shape the world we live in, calling en masse on world leaders, philanthropists, and the private sector to do more and do better.
Actions you can take with us include things like signing petitions, taking quizzes to learn more about global issues, emailing and phoning up your political representatives, sending tweets and sharing social media posts, sharing images and videos of yourself standing up for the issues you care about, and more.
Advocacy has an important role to play in tackling the world’s greatest challenges and can take a number of approaches. Global Citizen’s “action taking” advocacy model is one that empowers the voices of everyday citizens and activists while complementing the essential work of on-the-ground organizations that are directly feeding and housing families, educating children, mitigating climate change, and more.
Global Citizen provides an easy-to-use app and platform to both amplify your voice on the issues you care about and combine it with the voices of others all around the world, creating momentum that leads to real impact.
Why Should You Take Action With Global Citizen?
- You'll be adding your voice to the fight for a fairer, more sustainable world — and with our app you can do it straight from your phone, at the time and place that works for you.
- You can tell world leaders and those with the power to shape and finance real change directly what issues you care about and why the world needs them to step up.
- By taking action with us, you also earn points that you can use to win Rewards — from tickets to incredible live events and once-in-a-lifetime experiences with your favorite artists, to sustainable treats from leading brands, and more.
How Do You Take Action With Global Citizen?
The best way is to download our app, register as a Global Citizen, and start taking action right away. With the app, you’ll also get exclusive access to our lifestyle challenges to help you make changes you want to see in your own life too — like going vegetarian to help reduce your carbon footprint, or going plastic-free to help cut down the world’s plastic pollution. You can also sign up as a Global Citizen and take action on our website — head here to find our “Take Action” page.
All the individual actions taken by Global Citizens around the world add up to a noise that can't be ignored — and this noise gets loudest in the run up to Global Citizen's festival events, which bring together the world's biggest names in entertainment, Global Citizens, activists, world leaders, corporations, philanthropists, and more, to drive change.
At these events — such as the annual Global Citizen Festival — heads of states, business leaders, and philanthropists take the stage to make commitments responding to the actions taken by Global Citizens. These commitments may include financial contributions or policy changes to improve global food security, or gender equity, or to reduce the impact of climate change, and more.
And for Global Citizens who have earned their spot in the crowd through taking action with us, these events mark the culmination of their efforts to empower women and girls, demand climate action, break the systemic barriers that drive poverty, and lift up and protect the world's activists and advocates. Combined with stunning musical performances from the world's biggest artists, with thousands of action-taking Global Citizens in the audience, our events are a moment of celebration for the impact we're achieving together.
But, as well as Global Citizens taking action, what goes on behind the scenes to encourage a political or corporate leader to make a pledge through the Global Citizen platform? What goes on from A to Z?
How Does Global Citizen’s Model Drive Commitments for Change?
Behind-the-scenes, our policy team works with experts and on-the-ground organizations to develop the advocacy plans needed to achieve the Global Goals. A key part of this process involves identifying governments, corporations, and foundations that could be influenced to make policy, financial, and other commitments toward these issues.
Global Citizen does this by consulting a range of stakeholders and looking at past track records to pinpoint future opportunities.
You can learn a lot more about how Global Citizen uses advocacy as a model to drive sustainable impact in our in-depth explainer about our model and how we work.
How Does Global Citizen Make Sure Pledges Are Actually Delivered?
For Global Citizen’s team of impact managers, a commitment made by a world leader, philanthropist, or corporate leader on stage is just the beginning of the process.
Afterwards, Global Citizen continues to monitor the commitment progress and follows up with the relevant parties to make sure money is disbursed, policies are changed, and promises are kept.
You can find out more about our impact here, as well as see details on specific financial commitments and how each is progressing towards being fully disbursed.
What Has Global Citizen’s Impact Been Like?
Over the years, over US$41.4 billion in funds mobilized by Global Citizen have been disbursed — reaching organizations and communities all over the world working to achieve the UN’s Global Goals.
The results speak for themselves — more than 1.1 billion people have been impacted by commitments that have led to improved sanitation systems, health care access, gender equity, digital technology in classrooms, and marine protection, among much more.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Global Citizen to shift gears and move from in-person to virtual events, the efficacy of the model remained.
Through our COVID-19 events, including One World: Together At Home and Global Goal: Unite for Our Future in 2020; and VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World in 2021, among other major moments, Global Citizen helped mobilize $2 billion in cash grants and 26 million vaccines.
In September 2021, Global Citizen Live was broadcast from an unprecedented seven continents, wth the global event featuring over 24 hours of music performances, with commitments from world leaders, businesses, and philanthropists to defend the planet and defeat poverty. Throughout the campaign, more than US$1.1 billion, 157 million trees planted, and over 60 million COVID-19 vaccines were announced.
Global Citizen strives to shine a spotlight on activists and humanitarians working on the world's most urgent crises; offers a platform for winning concrete commitments; is an incubator for changemakers; and is driven by a community of people who care about their fellow human beings, no matter where they are in the world.
After all, why else would Global Citizens from South Africa, France, Egypt, Eswatini, Jordan, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, the Philippines, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Nigeria, Germany, Colombia, and more, join their voices to call for COVID-19 vaccine equity?
Over time, this sort of solidarity, this shared belief that poverty can and must be defeated, has turned into a mass movement of people demanding that their leaders build a world that allows everyone to live in peace, with dignity, and is capable of pursuing their dreams.
Who wouldn’t want to join?