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The Future of (Social Media) Philanthropy?

Jumo is, as the New York Times said, is a site designed to “connect save-the-world types.”

Chris Hughes, the 26-year-old co-founder of Facebook and director of online organizing for Obama’s 2008 campaign, has decided to create an online one-stop shop for the philanthropically minded. Around a year ago, he joined the venture capitalist firm General Catalyst as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Jumo seems to be the byproduct (or brainchild) of his time there. As yet, little is know about Jumo. But Hughes has posted a brief intro and mission statement online:

“There are no magic solutions to the challenges our world faces. But there are millions of people around the globe who work each day to improve the lives of others. Unfortunately, there are millions more who don’t know how to meaningfully help.
Jumo brings together everyday individuals and organizations to speed the pace of global change. We connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action.”

Jumo is scheduled to come out in September or October of this year. Only three jobs have been posted so far, but the following job description has been posted widely for its scent of idealism: “Your professional experience is less important to us than your skills and passion for this kind of work.” This resembles, in spirit at least, Google’s decision to allow its employees one day each week to pursue their own creative projects. It also resembles my employee’s abilities to take as much or as little vacation time as they like. As long as their obligations are met.

In general, Jumo carries the same sense of youthful idealism that the Obama campaign carried. Which is not to say Chris Hughes is under any illusions; the guy clearly knows what he’s doing. As Hughes works to launch the site, he will also continue overseeing aspects of Facebook part-time.

Jumo is supposed to be the answer to organizations like Causes, which functions as applications of social networking sites. There already are freestanding sites, of course, like Kickstarter.org, DoSomething.org, and DonorsChoose.org. But these lack the major social interconnectivity of something like Facebook. Jumo will exist as a separate but affiliated entity of Facebook catering to more of a niche audience. Facebook proved that communities do form across long distances—a belief that was long disputed until the Internet came along. Maybe when the next major disaster strikes, the next Haiti earthquake, people will visit Jumo instead of Twitter to decide how much and where to send their $10 contribution.

It is expected that, once Jumo lands on the web, hundreds of organizations will sign up to be listed. You can expect that hundreds of thousands of people will follow. At this point, who knows what will become of site. Maybe it’ll evolve as a place to broadcast your benevolence to potential mates—a kind of philanthropic dating service! Or maybe it’ll encourage more people to get involved in volunteer work and donating. But connecting people according to their deeper, philanthropic interests—as opposed to their favorite music or what school they went to—seems like an inevitable, and very good, idea. I like it.

To happy giving and connecting,

Jay Kubassek

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  • What a fabulous worthwhile way of connecting people. A great way of using the internet for the good of others 🙂