A Quick Review Of Jumo, The New Social Network For Non-Profits

Relationship maps have developed and continue to deepen all over the web: Facebook maps our personal relationships, Yelp maps our relationship with local businesses, Amazon maps our relationships to products. Jumo, a new social media network, which launched in BETA today, maps the relationships between people and non profit organizations. It's an attempt by creator Chris Hughes (who co-founded Facebook) to foster more long-term and sustainable relationships between people and organizations that are working to make a difference.

Steve Mclaughlin provides a very thorough overview of Jumo, so I wont go into too much detail here, suffice to say that the platform is broken up into three main components: Find, Follow and Support. Jumo helps the user find non-profit organizations by learning the types of things that interest them and making suggestions. The site then helps users follow those organizations by receiving a stream of updates about the work they’re doing and how that work is affecting real people. When they're ready, Jumo helps users support the organizations with which they’ve built a relationship.

After setting up an account and playing with it briefly this morning, here's my first impressions, typical buggy issues aside. 

It allows people and organizations to build a more organic connection with one another.
The donate button on many non profit websites can often be intrusive and email calls to action are sometimes insistent and urgent, all of which can be off putting for many potential supporters and make them feel like they are viewed as little more then an ATM machine. Jumo just might help organizations that aren't too savvy about this move to where they now need to be–in an era where relationships must be forged and cultivated first before a financial ask for support is made.  

It integrates nicely with other social media platforms and devices.
Jumo helps the end-user see all of a non profit's social media otposts in one place to get a complete picture of their digital presence. It also streams conveniently to people wherever they are, be that email, Facebook, mobile or elsewhere.

We're all somewhat unnerved by the plethora of options now available to us in the promotional mix and here's another social network for non profit marketers to worry about. So, is it worth jumping on the bandwagon yet?

Hughes has said that he sees this helping out small non profits that don't have a lot of resources to devote to their social media presence. In her Los Angeles Times article yesterday, Jessica Guynn wrote that "the site could potentially benefit smaller charities which don't have in-house social media experts." Unless I'm missing something, I don't see this. Each non profit still has to spend time creating their Jumo profile and must continue adding content to all their other media outposts in order for it to be aggregated on Jumo, so it's not really a time saver for them. The benefit, as I said earlier, is for the end-user who gets to see all the content in one place. The real benefit for small non profits will come when Jumo starts making user segmentation information available to them, assuming they can afford to pay for it.

Ultimately, there's no guarantee that all of this activity will bolster a non profit's social capital sufficiently to lead to donations of time and or money. Money quote from McLaughlin in today's New York Times piece about Jumo:
"It’s still not clear whether or not followers translate to volunteers and donors. But people that are more engaged with nonprofits are most likely to become a donor or support them in another way."
Users who may be suffering from social media fatigue could be reluctant to adopt one more social network but if anyone can pull this off, Hughes may be the man. Aside from his stint at Facebook he was also the former director of online organizing for Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign. Whether this network will succeed and take off, where others like Yahoo For Good and GlobalGiving have failed to soar, remains to be seen.

Hughes’ presentation at the Social Good Summit earlier this year below.

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Natalie Zensius is a marketing communications strategist with experience in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Learn more about Natalie at http:www.linkedin.com/in/nzensius.


bob dow said...

it's a good idea, however the problems with all of these sites:

1. more fragmentation of digital users lives.

2. there is a critical mass to organized do-gooding. seriously.

3. just because a bunch of people who care are in the same space (digital or real) doesn't mean anything is actually going to happen. I think jumo is a little late to the party, but it seems like they might find a niche in helping organizations find more followers and will be able to track followers as well

4. reeks of conspicuous authenticity, I have the save the seals badge, oh really? well I've got the vegan lesbian pro choice tote bag!

5. these "caring networks" are gathering just as much info about you as the ones that don't care and they make money selling the data on what you care about

6. fatigue

7. HLWIL (how long will it last). even if the money is there to keep it alive, there will be competing products and integration of the same ideas into existing products. twitter for certain will take cause and action and fund raising within the community a lot more seriously right around the next presidential election.

if I can jumo as an app within facebook fine... otherwise it's just one more part time club to be in and manage an identity in.

Like many people, I decide what I'm giving my money and time to each year, I put it in my budget and everything else is just noise to me. It's not that I don't care, I'm already doing my part so to avoid seriously depleting my time and energy reserves, I do what I can in my little slice and I'm done.

on top of that we do mandatory volunteer work as part of our jobs here AND we all work extra hours on pro bono work as well...


Bob, you raise some really good points that I think non profit marketers are increasingly having to grapple with as they struggle to help their organizations become more networked.

Non profits need to focus first and foremost on continually being relevant to their target audience, then figure out if they are ready to make the paradigm shift required to use social media to drive change.

Jumo is a tool that many will jump on, because it's there, but it still wont translate to anything meaningful for lots of non profits unless "being" social, as opposed to "doing" social is in their organizational DNA.