Facebook co-founder and former Obama social media guru Chris Hughes has just launched Jumo, a social network for charities, in beta today. Jumo aims to help you discover what causes matter to you by allowing you to follow specific charities as well as keep tabs on what your friends are following. Seems simple enough.
On Jumo each cause/charity has its own relevant news stream, sort of like what would happen if the Facebook app, “Causes,” coincidentally started by Sean Parker and former Zuckerberg roommate Joe Green, had its own social network that allowed you to actually “friend” charities.
At first spin, the necessity for a niche social marketing platform for charities makes sense — I am usually too busy to think about how much I am actually concerned with stuff like global children’s health and usually don’t contribute to charity unless it hits me smack dab in the face, like our recent TechCrunch UCSF Challenge For The Children fundraiser did. Being able to easily track the narrative of the social and political issues that interest me the most would actually lead to more donations, at least in my case.
The best thing about Jumo is that after a quick Facebook Connect (of course) the service lets you pick from seven large scale issue topics, Arts and Culture, Education, Environment and Animals, Health, Human Rights, Peace and Governance, and Poverty and then narrows them down by specific charity. I had forgotten how much I cared about 826 National until I saw the option to follow them under “Education.”
Jumo has raised $3.5 million from the Omidyar Network, the Knight Foundation as well as other angel investors and plans on making money through user payments and sponsorships. The site, much like a health food store, does give you the uncanny feeling of doing something good simply by visiting — though it remains to be seen whether people will put their money where their clicks are.