philanthropy

Nov 30

Our Thoughts: New social network for nonprofits goes live

David Leavitt

Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder who served as director of online organizing for the 2008 Obama campaign, turned 27 last week. Not one to rest on his laurels, the young entrepreneur launched his newest project today: a social media site to “connect individuals and organizations working to change the world.”

The new venture is called Jumo, which means “together in concert” in the West-African language of Yorùbá. The goal is to inspire engagement around nonprofits and foundations — users can donate money, ask questions and chat about a nonprofit’s work.

Already, over 3,500 nonprofits and NGOs have pages within the site.

The question for me is whether this fills a void in the social media world. Did the world need another social media site to follow the likes of Facebook Causes, Causecast, Razoo, Firstgiving and JustGiving?

Of all people in the world, Chris Hughes knows a thing or two about creating a social network from scratch, having had a hand in creating two of the world’s most successful social media platforms: Facebook and the My.BarackObama.com network.

I’m looking forward to seeing whether Jumo can do for nonprofit community what Facebook did for the larger social networking crowd and My.BarackObama.com did for political organizing.

UPDATE: 5 p.m. EST, Nov. 30

I asked my colleague Jackie Titus for her thoughts on this new site:

Jackie: It’s safe to say we’re all eager to see what’s to come of this new site, though gauging from online chatter and personal experience the site is not ready for high traffic demands. While I wait for my account to activate we can certainly acknowledge that Jumo will have to first iron out some performance issues. Putting this aside, David raises an important point by asking if this new platform will offer a new or different experience from the sites that are already out there.

I think Jumo can offer a different experience because it is prioritizing the individual’s interest in an issue as the first step in joining the network. From the start, you define your engagement with the platform by the causes you care about and then connect with like-minded organizations. It is a shift from the Facebook approach in which you find your friends first and can then be influenced by your social network on what causes you support.

The Jumo platform offers some great opportunities for organizations themselves. I am most interested by the ability to pull multiple social streams into once place. As a user, I prefer the experience of clicking on one page to see recent blog posts, Twitter updates, and interactions from other followers of this organization. If Jumo delivers on its intended purpose to “deepen the ties between its users and their favorite causes” creating a social hub for the organization could be a step in the right direction.

It will be interesting to watch how the 3,500 nonprofits who are already a part of the network continue to use the site.

Do you think it offers a unique enough experience for organizations to invest the time and effort?