Jumo: A Social Network for Social Causes Jumo: A Social Network for Social Causes

Jumo: A Social Network for Social Causes

by Alissa Walker

December 9, 2010
Two days after Monday's beta launch of Jumo, a new social networking application for nonprofits and their supporters, it was overwhelmed with traffic, grinding the site to a halt. "There were a couple of hours where we actually got up to the top of The New York Times's most-emailed list," says Jumo's awed 27-year-old founder Chris Hughes, who gained global attention as director of online organizing for the Obama campaign. While they're not disclosing any numbers yet, Hughes says they had sent invitations to "tens of thousands" of potential users and had planned for "a factor several times larger" to visit the site—which still wasn't enough. But the fact that the site—which is back up and running—was so submerged by do-gooders bodes well for its success.
This isn't a way to crowdsource support for a cause, says Hughes; rather, it's a way for people to join causes that are already in motion. "We make it easy as possible for people to support people in the field who are working to bring about change," he says. But part of that experience is allowing users to find and research causes that are relevant to them. To aid this feeling of discovery, more than 3,500 causes and projects were pre-seeded on the site, but any cause or project with a charitable mission can easily set up a profile on Jumo. Those who with 501(c)3 status can even accept donations through the site.
By lowering the barrier of entry, Hughes says Jumo was designed to help nonprofits and cause-related projects. "We built it knowing that a lot of projects do not have full time communications staff, let alone someone focusing on social media," he says. By helping them easily join a framework that's familiar and easy to use, they're able to reach far more people than through their own efforts on Facebook or Twitter.
As Jumo's staff starts in on the real work—streamlining the site, finding out what works, adding new features—Hughes is optimistic that Jumo can be a real missing link between interest and engagement that he sees in people who care about social causes. He hopes that for more people, seeing a nonprofit name or story flash through their social networks won't just be a one-time interaction. "If we can help people find projects they connect with, and keep up with them in a way that makes them want to support them, then we'll have been successful."
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Jumo: A Social Network for Social Causes