About OPEN

The OPEN Theory

Every day, OPEN groups enable millions of citizens take action online and offline. As progressive organisers and activists, they face multi-national challenges like climate change, bad trade deals, and eroding access to democracy. Yet the most effective means for citizens to meet these challenges are almost always at the national level, changing public policy, media narratives, and their communities.

Each OPEN member organisation is an independent group working within its national context. But we problem-solve and innovate together. We share research, tools, and tactics that build our collective power. And we form bonds of trust and respect that allow our disparate organisations to become stronger together.


The OPEN Program

Connect

OPEN connects groups to each other so they can share innovations, technologies, analyses, and lessons learned. These connections speed innovation and magnify impact.

Collaborate

OPEN facilitates multinational campaigns on issues that cross borders, like climate change, trade, and corporate accountability.

Enhance

OPEN enhances the effectiveness of member organisations with best-in-class technology, training and strategic analysis.

Grow

OPEN helps new organisations launch, thrive, and make a difference in countries all across the globe in record time, bringing new allies and new leaders into the network.


The OPEN Way

The OPEN Network operates on three principles that increase members’ capacity, multiply impact, and build what OPEN is calling network generosity – an open-handed willingness to exchange resources and knowledge in order to further the global movement for progressive social change.

Low Competition

Full OPEN membership is restricted to national organisations and limited to one group per nation. This eliminates the territorialism and competition for resources, credit, and membership that so frequently block full transparency and generosity between coalition partners.

Member Ownership

OPEN’s work is supervised by a rotating Core Group appointed from member organisations. Each full member organisation contributes 0.7% of their annual revenue to support OPEN and pledges to pay as much of their own networking costs as they can afford. OPEN’s general support potential grows as the network and its newest members grow. OPEN has a goal of being entirely member-funded by 2023. Member contributions increased 134% from 2013 to 2014 and are pledged to increase 247% in 2015.

Culture of Trust and Respect

High respect motivates every group to learn from and support every other. High trust enables full transparency. OPEN seeks a high degree of ideological and methodological alignment across the network, to ensure each group recognizes every other as being on the same team, even if they work on different issues at different times. This fuels the engine of collaboration.


The OPEN Team

Ben Brandzel Bangalore, India

Founder and Executive Director, ben@the-open.net

After serving as MoveOn.org’s original Advocacy Director from 2004-2006, Ben has become a significant global catalyst of progressive digital organising. After leaving MoveOn he helped found or advise what would become OPEN groups in Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, India and South Africa. He came home to serve as Director of New Media Campaigns and Fundraising for President Barack Obama during the 2009-2010 health reform campaign. Ben was a founding Campaign Director at Avaaz where he served on the Board of Directors from 2007-2016. From 2011-2012 he served as Strategy Director for the Citizen Engagement Lab, where he devised, tested and refined best practices for incubating and networking digital campaigning organisations. In 2013, he co-convened the OPEN Summit which led to OPEN’s creation and has been living this dream ever since.

Shilpa Mudiganti Bangalore, India

Director of Operations, shilpa@the-open.net

Shilpa has 12 years of experience in Administration and Human Resource Management in private and non-profit sectors. Her experience in workplace systems design ranges from Fortune 500 corporates to the UNDP in Sierra Leone. She is passionate about deploying her skills in the social change sector.

Phil Ireland Newcastle, Australia

Managing Director, phil@the-open.net

Phil is a campaigner, organiser and strategist with over 10 years of experience in some of the world’s leading progressive organisations. Most recently, he led the election campaign for 38Degrees, OPEN’s UK member. Prior to this he worked as a senior advisor at Purpose on The Syria Campaign and Director of Operations at United Voice, one of Australia’s leading left unions, where he managed the NSW branch’s communications, finance, advocacy and administration. Phil also has extensive experience in the NGO sector having worked for several Australian and global NGOs, including leading Oxfam’s advocacy engagement with Australia and the Pacific both domestically and in the United Nations climate change negotiations. He is currently on the board of the Global Campaign for Climate Action and GetUp! and remains an advisor to several non-profit organisations. Phil also holds a Ph.D. in development and climate change and has authored several peer-reviewed academic articles, book chapters and articles in the public media.

Claire Hermann Pittsboro, United States

Director of Development and Storytelling, claire@the-open.net

Claire is passionate about finding and telling stories that illustrate the power of individuals and organisations to create a more just and sustainable world. Prior to joining the OPEN team, Claire served as the first Communications Director at two US-based non-profits, creating and deploying narratives that won meaningful health justice victories in a conservative political climate, brought together diverse stakeholders in the movement for a just and sustainable food system, raised funds, and mobilize the grassroots. She holds a Masters degree in Mass Communications with a focus on social change.

Michael Snook Brooklyn, New York

Technology Director, snook@the-open.net

Michael Snook is an organiser and technologist from Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, currently based out of Bangalore. His time in the political world has taken him from field organising, to fundraising and speechwriting, to analytics and targeting, to tech administration, to software development. In 2009 Michael helped found BoldProgressives.org and later served as Chief Information Officer, directing a team of designers, developers, and data analysts to keep things running smoothly while building new organising tools to bring innovative new tactics and strategies to life. He gets excited about space exploration, cognitive linguistics, and distributed leadership models.

Becky Jarvis London, UK

Network Architect, becky@the-open.net

A South Wales native, Becky was an early staffer at 38Degrees and has a strong track-record of mobilizing millions to take action on the issues they care about. She’s led on the strategy, planning and execution of some of 38Degrees’s biggest campaigns. She has a particular expertise in email and web engagement, strategic planning, public affairs, project management, event coordination, field campaigning and working with external stakeholders. Prior to joining the staff team at 38Degrees, she worked as Director of Policy and Communication in the family sector for a children’s charity.

Libby Lenkinski Brooklyn, New York

Development and Growth Advisor, libby@the-open.net

Libby directs strategy at the New Israel Fund, and previously worked with leading human rights organisations in Israel and Palestine. She has led outreach and engagement campaigns for documentary films and media outfits as well as social change initiatives. Libby is an advisor for +972 Magazine, an online magazine that brings progressive voices from Israel and Palestine and serves on the Board of Comet-ME, an organisation that provides renewable energy systems to off-the-grid Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

Ranjani Rajashekaran Bangalore, India

Finance Manager, ranjani@the-open.net

Ranjani has a Master’s Degree in Accounting with 9 years of experience in diverse fields like accounting and finance, supply chain, advertising and operations. While most of her experience comes from the corporate sector, she is very enthusiastic about being associated with OPEN and contributing meaningfully to society.

Prameeta Pankaj Bajaj Bangalore, India

Executive Assistant to ED and MD, prameeta@the-open.net

Prameeta has more than 15 years of work experience in Customer Service, Learning and Development, and Administration functions. She is an expert in administration with a demonstrated ability to multi-task, be proactive and partner with executives to increase their efficiency. She is fondly called the “Bundle of Administrative Talent” by her former colleagues.