Over the past week, you may have seen in your Facebook feed that several of your friends have “Just joined Jumo.” You’re probably thinking oh no, not another one…how many social sites do we all need? Don’t worry! This one actually serves a purpose that isn’t covered by Twitter, Facebook, or most of the others.
Jumo was conceptually introduced in March of 2010 when Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes announced a soft-launch of the non-profit platform that matches users’ philanthropic interests to various causes. Nearly 9 months later, what was just a landing page is now a beta-launched version that is definitely worth checking out. So what exactly is it?
Jumo set out to address three key challenges in the non-profit sector:
- There are millions of people working to improve the lives of others, many of whom lack the resources to have greatest impact.
- There are millions more who want to help, but don’t know how.
- Despite huge advancements in connection technologies, it’s hard to find meaningful opportunities to get involved.
Their goal is to make it easier to find organizations and issues you care about, follow the latest news and support these causes with your time, money, and skills. Functionally speaking, Jumo allows you to ‘follow’ an issue or project (organization) that you’re interested in, providing you with a news-feed of information on those that you follow. The news is aggregated from a variety of sources including local newspapers, industry-related blogs and sites, the project’s own blog or web site, etc. You’ll also see a Twitter feed with mentions of those you follow and a list of related projects and issues. Charitable donations can also be taken from the site so as users become savvier to its capabilities I’m sure will see what fund-raising possibilities there are.
Some of you may be thinking that the purpose of the site sounds similar to others like change.org or idealist.org. There has been some debate as to whether Jumo is able to bring something new to the table. My immediate reaction is that while they all connect individuals to organizations, there is more interactivity and networking possibilities on Jumo.
One thing I really like about the layout of the site is the instant similarities to Facebook. New interfaces can sometimes take a while to get used to and there are several familiar features that ease the navigation. From your homepage, you’ll see a list of your friends that are also on Jumo and you can browse the projects and issues that they follow. Jumo also uses the 3 column layout with your Facebook photo on the left above your list of friends, top news in the middle, and then suggested follows on the right.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy challenged their Twitter followers to assess whether Jumo will succeed. According to one response, Jumo will succeed because there’s a need, it is easy to use, it offers unprecedented access for nonprofits, and it offers networking capability. Another claims, Jumo will fail (though admits this statement is a bit of a journalistic hyperbole) because at the end of the day Facebook will still consume so much personal time that while Jumo may gain a bit of muscle power and a great deal of good, it will not become the next Facebook.
I think this is a pretty valid statement and I’m not sure that even Jumo’s founders believe it has that sort of power, nor was it their intention to create a site to challenge Facebook. But, I do think that the site has potential and it serves as a great way for us as a Museum to connect to our constituents while also allowing our constituents to connect with one another. If you’re interested in checking out the site, or following us, you can do so from the IMA’s Jumo project page.