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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fight for the Future

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Censorship, Freedom of Speech & Press, Civil Rights

Mission: Fight for the Future is dedicated to protecting and expanding the Internet's transformative power in our lives by creating civic campaigns that are engaging for millions of people. Alongside internet users everywhere we beat back attempts to limit our basic rights and freedoms, and empower people to demand technology (and policy) that serves their interests. Activating the internet for the public good can only lead to a more vibrant and awesome world.

Results: Fight for the Future is known for its powerful and massive viral organizing campaigns that have changed Internet history both nationally and globally. Under a campaign to stop SOPA and PIPA — the largest and most visible online protest in history — hundreds of thousands of websites, including sites like Google, Craigslist and Wikipedia, joined the protest by going dark or prominently displaying info on the bills. Ultimately, 24 million people took action against bad tech policy, and both bills were shelved. Our SOPA strike inspired street protests across Europe against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) — another attack on digital rights — and led to ACTA’s historic defeat. In 2012, we also helped to stall out the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) written ostensibly to prevent threats to cybersecurity, but written so broadly that it could easily be used for government spying and censorship. For the last election, we created a slate of voter registration and get-out-the-vote apps which gave the grassroots access to the tools that typically only large presidential campaigns can afford, diluting the power and influence of SuperPACs. And last November, public outcry from our campaign contributed to the rejection of a treaty that would have moved Internet governance to a top-down United Nations agency that operates behind closed doors and under corporate influence.

Target demographics: We empower internet users to demand technology (policy) that serves the public interest

Direct beneficiaries per year: Since our founding in 2011, we have launched campaigns that have spurred millions to take action and help keep the Internet open. We’ve partnered with some of the most powerful players like Google, Amazon, Mozilla, Wikipedia, reddit, Tumblr, and Craigslist and earn regular press coverage in major news outlets like New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN and NPR.

Geographic areas served: We work in the US mostly, but sometimes we pitch in to help with fights outside of the US too.

Programs: Our Internet Blackout of 2012 was the largest and most visible online protest in history. The copyright industry had spent a record $92 million to try to pass laws that they could use to shut down any website. These laws — the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect-IP Act (PIPA) — faced minimal public resistance and their passage was seen as inevitable. But by organizing more than 115,000 websites to fully or partially blackout out their own sites in protest, more than 24 million individuals applied pressure on Congress and we defeated both bills. This protest marked the dawn of public Internet activism. Our Battle for the Net was the driving force behind the landmark Title II net neutrality win. FFTF can take failing fights and figure out the best legislative and organizing strategies and the most compelling communications framework to change their course. In the net neutrality fight, we occupied the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and organized the Internet Slowdown, which prompted more people to contact the FCC about net neutrality than had ever contacted the agency for any other topic. Massive public support got the President to take a firm stand and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler fell into line, reversing his initial stance ultimately opting to reclassify broadband, granting the agency the authority to protect net neutrality. We’re stopping spying and censorship. On June 5, 2014 we launched Reset the Net, and together with websites like Tumblr, Wikipedia, and Wordpress, turned on new encryption technologies that blocked mass surveillance. We’ve also been working with groups in China and Turkey to build a network that is resistant to censorship and can circumvent blocked websites.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Katharine P.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am inspired by the brains, energy and dedication of this small band. Their accomplishments are impressive and their goals are lofty. We need this kind of vision to carry us into the future. We benefit from their vigilance to make the internet accessible to all and protect freedom of expression.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been aware of the work of Fight for the Future for some time and became involved as a donor in March 2016. I continue to be impressed by the team's knowledge of and insight into key internet rights and freedom issues, along with their creativity in bringing these issues to the attention of those who should care most - us, the internet users. But most of all I appreciate that they take that extra step, closing the loop between awareness campaigns and petitions, and the decision-makers who directly influence policy and practice around internet freedom.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned of Fight for the Future when co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2016. FFTF brings an unprecedented amount of creativity and vision to the intersection of tech and civic engagement. The impact of FFTF's work transcends the beautiful campaigns, real policy changes, and innovative tools they've built - they are weaving each piece together to lay the foundation for an entirely different pathway to civic engagement. They are figuring out - with a sense of creativity and irreverence that is inherently appealing to the millennials driving the internet - how to build a new political system in which everyone is heard & powerful.

Simon Stumpf

Donor

Rating: 5

Fight For The Future is expanding the Internet's transformative power for good by keeping vital technology open and accessible. Through global activations and a network of “Internet Defenders,” this lean, global, and highly-innovative team is ensuring that creative, bottom-up civic engagement transitions to and remains relevant in an increasingly online world. Not only have they mobilized the largest online protests in history, but they have successfully influenced US policy. We at Ashoka have been following Fight for the Future for many years and in 2016 announced the election of co-foudner and co-director Tiffiniy Cheng as an Ashoka Fellow in recognition of her and FFTF's pioneering efforts to develop and champion a new political model with creative participation and openness at its core.

Hannah46

Board Member

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future is an extraordinarily responsive, lean, and impactful team of warriors for our right to communicate. So proud to support them!

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organizations is really effective, is accountable to its members and is efficient with its use of funds. They have won some huge victories, work well in coalitions and great strategic vision.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Few grassroots groups ever (if any) have chalked up the kinds of historic and crucial public-interest wins in as short of a time as Fight for the Future. They have established freedom on the Internet as an issue worth protecting and have built groundbreaking tech-enabled campaigns to win important protections like net neutrality. Public-interest advocates working on all kinds of issues are better off because of the work FFTF has done.

Namata

Board Member

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future is one of the most effective social change organizations in the world. I've never seen an organization move so quickly to secure major policy victories and mobilize many millions of people. It's truly incredible.

The combination of movement building and software creation for enabling action is unique and unstoppable. They are operating at a level that other organizations can only dream of.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future has been consistently winning victories for free speech and privacy that pundits said were impossible. There is simply no other organization that can do what they do. FFTF organized the largest online protest in history!! And many more groundbreaking actions. Over and over, they make an impact and they win.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future is on the leading edge of organizations winning for the internet. A lean, mean, campaigning machine!

2 Jesse23

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

*The* leading organization working to protect internet freedom -- critical to making any other social change progress.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

FFTF = creative + smart + fearless.
Fighting the good fight for all of us - keep up the good work!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked in non-profits making open-source web tools since 2006, with the Participatory Politics Foundation. Even after almost a decade of experience, I am continually surprised by the positive impact of Fight For the Future in the increasingly-important realm of, well, everything-digital. Their operations are top-notch, their campaigns are creative and involving, their web code is open to re-use by other organizations, and they've quickly become an integral part of the privacy and internet freedom communities, working alongside long-established NGO's. I recommend them highly and if net neutrality prevails on our many devices, mobile and computer and yet-to-come, we'll owe them a huge regards in the public sphere.

1 Sean26

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Streaming Netflix or Hulu and didn't want it slowed down by Comcast and other internet access providers? Yup, that was these guys that screamed so loud that the government heard and reversed course on internet "fast lanes." The list goes on and on... mostly acronyms you may have not heard of like SOPA, PIPA, CISA, TPP, CISPA, and a slew of others. All you have to do is search those terms, and BAM! you get why these issues are important. I am just personally thankful that FFTF keeps me updated on the issues, and fights for them, even when I am just too busy doing my own job. They are my own personal superhero fighting bad internet legislation, lobbying organizations, and internet idiocy. In fact they are your superhero too. Did you know you had a superhero? Thank them.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Witnessing the work Fight For The Future does has been nothing short of amazing. Their ability to distill complex issues into moving, effective campaigns has helped lead the charge in stopping toxic legislature from being passed. Although I am a board member, their creativity, personal touch, and ability to bring issues to life makes it personally gratifying to be involved as a board member, as well as a participant in their campaigns.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future is a savvy org. They create compelling campaigns in a space that sometimes falls back on dry, pedantic, and/or unrelateable rhetoric.

Keep 'em dropping, FFTF!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Fight for the future has been really effective at getting people involved in issues from SOPA, PIPA, network neutrality, encryption, and the TPP. I have called my Federal legislators for the first time using FFTF campaigns which make it easy to do so. It was really exciting when we helped score the Title 2 Network Neutrality. Because FFTF has been so effective at organizing and turning regular people into activists I've been giving them money along with other civil liberties organization such as the ACLU and the EFF.

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

Fight for the Future (FFTF) has consistently come up with creative ways to use technology to empower activists. In 2014, they led a coalition of nonprofits fighting for strong net neutrality protections, and helped deliver almost a million comments to the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). This, along with almost 3 million other comments, made net neutrality the most commented on issue ever for the FCC. Before this, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction from 2004 had the crown. FFTF is a surprisingly effective organization when it comes to securing freedoms. They are also generous in terms of helping other nonprofits understand and use technology. After working alongside them, I have a lot of respect for how they operate with honesty and professionalism. They definitely get 5 stars.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am on the Board (which speaks less to bias than my love for the organization), but I think Fight for the Future is unbelievably creative and effective. They understand Internet activism as well as anyone and have been able to engage millions of people on important, if arcane, technology issues and have fought to win several huge victories ensuring a free Internet. They're lean, creative, and effective.