Change.org Reviews | Glassdoor

Change.org Reviews

Updated April 2, 2018
75 reviews

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3.8
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Ben Rattray
54 Ratings

75 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work-life balance and flexible work opportunities (in 8 reviews)

  • Making a big global impact for social change, and more than 150 million people are using Change (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Centralized decision making, need to open up a bit (in 7 reviews)

  • Business model greatly needs improving (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work with wonderful people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Change.org full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    * Everyone here is genuinely passionate about doing good and bringing positive social change into the world.
    * A distributed workforce with teams located around the globe, resulting in a diverse and multicultural company.
    * Friendly, caring, hardworking coworkers.
    * Skilled engineers.
    * Sincere commitment to diversity in recruiting.
    * Fairly flat, casual hierarchy.
    * Upper management and the C team encourage and take part in a culture of feedback.
    * Great work-life balance and flexible work opportunities.
    * Cute, sweet dogs in the office.

    Cons

    * I had to leave Change.org for personal reasons. Otherwise, I have nothing but good feelings towards the company and wish them the best. I would enthusiastically recommend them to anyone who wants to work at a mission-driven company.
    * A senior-heavy engineering team makes it hard for less senior engineers to find significant projects to lead.
    * The company's laser focus on financial sustainability over the past year led to a lack of interesting projects, but management claims that the company's ambitions will expand as soon as it's sustainable.
    * 401k matching would have been nice.


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Talented people lead by blind leadership. Yes, leadership is STILL blind."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Change.org full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    First. There is no shortage of talent at Change.org. Within their ranks are seasoned professionals who have come from big name non-profits and tech companies. All driven by the mission of empowering people to make change everywhere. This is what sold me on the company when I first started.

    Second. The relationships I have made with folks I worked with at Change.org have been some of the most impactful relationships I have ever made in a workplace. Not only that, I learned a lot and will be forever grateful to those with whom I had the privilege of working closely with.

    Third. No matter what you read in the Cons section, I still believe this company can be great again. It's just going to require a lot of work and self-reflection of the team.

    Cons

    First. The CEO, Ben Rattray. Not at all involved with employees these days. Too busy for staff, hides in his cave of an office all day only to emerge for lunch and occasional meetings.

    Second. Leadership is incredibly irresponsible. Here are a few examples of how irresponsible they are:

    - Flew the entire company to New York for a company offsite. Majority of the company is based on the west coast in N. America (Victoria, B.C. and San Francisco). The flights were booked last minute and then buses were used to shuttle people. Not a cheap endeavor. And for a B-Corp? Really?! Months later, the company laid off the business development team claiming the need to "pivot" the business model. We were "struggling" with our revenue model. But it wasn't "business ending". They assured us there would be no further lay-offs and to "not worry". Literally a month or so later, they laid off ~30% of the product development team claiming they were unable to surface from the defecate they thought they could recover from. If a month difference can decide the fate of a majority of your company; how short-sighted can you be?

    - The team since has been struggling with morale and the efforts by leadership have felt forced and sometimes socially manipulative. A majority of the staff has resorted to therapy sessions with one another which often results to self-deprecation or bashing of leadership because we've been gaslit so many times.

    - On the topic of being gaslit. The gas-lighting at this company, is real. This team claims to be transparent, open to feedback, and emphasizes the core value of "Love and Understand"...but most employee concerns result in leadership gas-lighting the individual or team. I had only heard about this prior to understanding how bad things were here until I too experienced it in a meeting. It typically starts with "I hear what you're saying, let's unpack this....Now here's what *you* can do to be better.". Because the problems always lead back to you and they are *really* good at turning the tables back towards the individual or team. That's how gas-lighting works, right?

    Third. Puts inexperienced people into VP level positions.

    Fourth......this one REALLY irks me and was the primary motivation to write this review in the first place. I've heard rumors of leadership writing false Glassdoor reviews to bolster the ratings and even asking employees to do the same. From different people in unrelated conversations. Leadership doesn't think we talk about it, but we do.. It's gross. I mean, who writes "Best place to work!" in their headline? If you're going to fake it, at least be original.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership is in *serious* need of management training. I'm talking all C-level and VP-level staff.

    Leadership also needs to take the initiative and follow through to make sure all teams have sufficient support and resources to solve the problems they're facing. Stop demanding everything and giving so little.

    Stop flying people all over the country for "meetings". Especially since you've now taken away our remote work policy (even though that is what you were selling people on when you hired them less than a year ago).

    Stop assuming everything is isolated. You don't think we talk about confidential meetings, but we do. A lot of us have close and bonded relationships. Several people, including myself, have elected to leave due to mistreatment of not only ourselves but other colleagues. Idle threats or gas-lighting is not reflective of good management. Toxic cultures do not breed success.

    Hire people who know how to uplift a team. Rather than drive it further into the ground. Stop trying to control everything when you've never really been in control in the first place.

  3. Helpful (6)

    "A very special place."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I worked at Change.org full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I am forever grateful for my time at Change.org. I have never learned more from a job, or worked with such incredibly inspiring, talented, kind, compassionate and just all around wonderful human beings. As a company, they do a great job of keeping the mission and the site's users at the heart of the work, which helps keep employees connected to the mission and contributes to feeling the impact of your work. A truly rewarding and special place to work.

    Cons

    The layoffs last summer and the road to sustainability have proven to be challenges for Change, but I know the executive team is doing its best to support employees and keep Change.org in the world to continue to help millions of people create the change they want to see in the world.


  4. Helpful (8)

    "Hollowed out, directionless company with no mission."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Change.org full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A lot of truly great people have been convinced to work at Change.org over the years, although most of them were laid off either when the company decided to ditch their revenue-generating unit, or three months later when they realized that they can't make money if they're not doing anything to make money.

    Cons

    This business (don't be fooled, it is a business, not a non-profit) has no actual business model, and constantly shifts the goals they purport to be pursuing when it becomes clear they're nowhere near reaching them or are in fact headed in the wrong direction. Revenue was abandoned for signatures was abandoned for Monthly Active Users was abandoned for crowdfunding was abandoned.

    In the U.S., they ran massive campaigns and communications departments that actually had a lot of talented, good people managed by weak, ineffective managers who were too afraid to rock the boat to talk about the massive systemic limitations of the platform.

    This entire broken system is wrapped in a culture of obligatory joy and happiness. You don't have colleagues, you have "frolleagues" because everyone is your friend! ... or else. Negativity or disengagement from social norms would be cause for ostracization and eventual termination.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Loving Change.org!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Change.org full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I have been working at Change for six months and am absolutely in love! I could see myself staying here for a while.

    - Amazing opportunities for growth and employee happiness/needs are extremely important to each department.
    - Love the benefits- 5 weeks of vacation, 18 weeks of maternity leave. They also have a flexible work from home policy which makes my work/life balance feel as though it is valuable to them.
    - Everyone is so smart and working for such a great mission. They also make the effort to celebrate the accomplishments of their users/members as well.

    Cons

    I am aware that the company has undergone a good amount of changes in the last couple of years which can be hard, but I think that the way the executives handle it is extremely professional and caring. They are very transparent and are making efforts to make decisions that are best for the company and their employees.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Best Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Change.org full-time

    Pros

    I have been at Change.org for one year. I love where I work and I couldn't imagine working as hard anywhere else. I have worked at several organizations, both big and small, prior to change.org and none have come close to being as incredible, impactful on my development, and eye opening. My colleagues are genuinely humble, passionate, hyper intelligent, and personable. The learning opportunities never end and management has become so transparent- doing everything they can to have cultivate a great culture. We have top notch benefits and an outstanding work life balance. We do incredibly hard work as a business and I love being part of an organization that supports the forward movement of so many important global issues. The changes we have had this year have only made us a healthier organization that is set up for long term success.

    Cons

    We had to have a downsize in staff over the past year, to make sure we are on track for long term success.

    Advice to Management

    Keep being transparent! It's very refreshing.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Amazing team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    A great place to work. People are cared for and really like working together. Benefits are great, with very generous paid leave. Team culture is strong. Very intelligent, kind, talented, motivated, passionate, fun people to work with. Making a big global impact for social change, and more than 150 million people are using Change.org to win tens of thousands of campaigns on issues they care about.

    Cons

    The company went through a rough patch recently while it started to shift revenue model. This meant people were laid off, but the strategic change is necessary and Change.org worked hard to make sure that the people affected were treated well (generous 3-month severance payouts, career transition counseling, training, network opportunities, job referrals, etc).

    Advice to Management

    Keep working on getting the revenue model right.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Great employees. Horrible leadership."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I worked alongside some of the best people of my career. Great health, parental leave, and vacation benefits. Amazing mission.

    Cons

    The mission is amazing, but the leadership is incapable of delivering on it. The last year has been a mass exodus of layoffs and others abandoning ship. There is an impenetrable inner circle comprised almost entirely of white men. The company is mostly run by people with little to no experience aside from Change.org.

    Advice to Management

    New leadership.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Meaningful mission and tight-knit community"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Change.org full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Tight-knit family-like culture: Despite the fact that we're a global company, there's a lot of camaraderie across time zones. I love the "Changing Times," an instagram and facebook account filled with photos and videos from our offices.

    -Meaningful mission: Especially in today's political climate, it's inspiring to work at a company that is trying to create a more engaged and responsive democracy.

    -Good leadership in PD: Our VPP and other leaders in product are doing a great job of listening to our users and employees and incorporating everyone's feedback when developing roadmaps. We recently had company-wide brainstorming sessions identifying problems in user journeys and brainstorming solutions. It was great to collaborate with people outside of my discipline and to feel that my input was valued.

    Cons

    -Salary/benefits: If you're looking for a very high salary and fancy benefits, Change.org is probably not for you. They do try to be competitive with salaries, but it's obviously no Facebook.

    -Not yet sustainable: We're currently not making enough money to be sustainable which means we rely a lot on investors (like many other startups). This led to a lay off in September. When they made those cuts they did so using conservative revenue modeling, so that they wouldn't have to cut any more jobs in the future. I feel safe in my job and optimistic about new revenue streams, but it's still a startup and a less secure place to work than Google, for instance.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work! I appreciate that leaders at Change have enough confidence in their employees to not micromanage, which allows them the space to provide strategic vision.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Meaningful strides towards a brighter future"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Change.org full-time

    Pros

    Change is a fairly unique place. In addition to your traditional tech company organizational structure, it has country teams - on-the-ground forces in countries around the world that discover and amplify the voices of the citizens they work for. This means many of the people who work at Change want to genuinely make the world a better place for the people they serve. "Changing the world" is such a commonly abused expression in silicon valley that it's mostly lost its meaning, but I can guarantee you that is not the case here. We actively work to create the tools, communities and revenue support lines to enable our users to create the change they want to see. That doesn't mean it always works or that Change.org was the primary reason the change occurred, but it is a genuine focus of the company and it means that by and large the people you are surrounded with have hearts of gold.

    I work in PD (product development). Here are some of the things I love about working here:

    - Founded on strong values and team culture
    - We celebrate each other's successes
    - We celebrate the victories our platform contributes to in weekly team-wide calls
    - Out of a 1-10 on the "crazy mission-driven with blinders on" scale I'd put Change at a 3 (low + good); people have been here for years and know how hard it is to make a social change company really work
    - Change remains at the vanguard of offering incredible parental leave with 18 weeks paid time off, which you can take all at once or intersperse with working hours
    - As an engineer it wasn't always possible to truly take time off because the infrastructure was in a state of massive upgrade but that's all mostly settled thanks to our transition to AWS and in the process upgrades to server scaffolding, deployment, performance measurement, etc
    - Despite my years of experience in engineering, rarely a week has gone by where I haven't learned something new from other engineers
    - Very strong testing and code review culture
    - Polyglot shop where a native Android app and sophisticated JavaScript-powered website meets backend services written in Rails, Node, Go
    - Weekly optional engineering leads meeting discussing technical debt, process improvements, technical decision-making
    - Friday "demo" hour where anyone can get up and talk about a feature, refactor, tool, product idea, etc
    - Deployments anywhere from 2-5x a day
    - Willingness to listen to critical feedback and evolve the company for the better

    Cons

    Like many companies finding their way, Change has jumped from one product strategy to the next in search of a revenue bellwether. Change does well but this is a business, and it needs to have a product that performs as well for its users as it does for its company. In that pursuit we have had missteps - ideas that at the time seemed great but in hindsight couldn't create the type of high value our users would benefit the most from.

    Fortunately that is changing where at least in PD we have stabilized on a process of 1) Analyzing our existing product "value gaps", 2) Bubbling up great ideas from anyone, 3) Regularly scheduled meetings to have those ideas legitimately critiqued, 4) Pursue those ideas wrapped in a solid experiment framework, 5) Feedback loop sessions to facilitate learning. This process isn't an accident; it is an intentional shift away from the top-down decision making of the past.

    In the last year that has resulted in big features like notifications, weekly campaign digests, campaign communities to shift the power to petition supporters, a subscription program; releases including a native Android app, a more robust email foundation, a foundation for country teams to create and distribute content to their users, and a robust infrastructure on AWS. In addition hundreds of other releases that make the entirety of the site experience an engaging one for our users.

    While these might seem like standard fare for any tech company, they are big achievements for a company that has in the past been largely focused on a "sign-and-exit" transactional experience.

    There is still a long way to go to honing in on a smooth flow from Idea -> Deliverable and reducing our technical debt (this company is 10 years old - there's a lot to pay down!). It also needs to ensure that management enables "ground forces" and becomes more inclusive.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus on big projects that can deliver high value to users. Resist the urge to jump around from one idea to the next. Focus on educational/growth opportunities for staff to take on more responsibility.

    More than ever I think Change is in the right place culturally, technologically and strategically to continue making strides towards delivering high value to its users and the business. But management needs to stay diligent to ensure we don't fall back to old ways that didn't work for Change.


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