In my day job I see vast numbers of people who want to work together for the common good, and I figure social networking is how to do that.
We want to support the nonprofits or other effective organizations that we believe in, and maybe to stand up for the individuals who are good at supporting effective efforts.
Jumo.com just launched and looks like a really good tool for connecting people for genuine common good. It's the brainchild primarily of Chris Hughes, a cofounder of Facebook and a principal behind the Obama social media effort.
How it works: You log into Jumo.com with your Facebook account. A quick survey helps steer you to organizations that match your interests or those of your friends, even your location if you want. Your Jumo home page and a weekly e-mail offer the latest news from those organizations including Twitter updates, YouTube videos, news articles and comments from Facebook friends. About 3,500 organizations are on the site at the outset but anyone "with a mission" can create a page. Only those with tax-exempt status can solicit donations. Nonprofits will get a much better sense of who gives them the most support, Hughes said. Over time, he plans to make more information about Jumo users available to them. The site could potentially benefit smaller charities which don't have in-house social media experts.
What Jumo does not do: hit up users for money. At least not right away. Soliciting donations is a step that should take place once someone becomes more engaged in a cause, Hughes said.
A great look at Jumo comes from Beth Kanter and Steve MacLaughlin, true mavens of social networking for nonprofits:
Jumo helps connects people with issues and organizations on the first rung of the ladder of engagement, but the challenge will be how we cultivate relationships to bring people up that ladder to higher levels of engagement and involvement - from following and connecting to making donations to making change offline. My colleague, Evone Heyning, calls this "more sticky interactions". It will also be interesting to track how Jumo helps organizations and causes attract new supporters and what is required in terms of time commitment and strategy to be successful.
I feel that Jumo has enormous potential and I plan to use it a lot. However, I'll probably do so with GreatNonprofits.org, kind of a "Yelp for non-profits" in that it's a repository of user ratings. That's important; while we connect people for the common good, we also need to protect people from bogus nonprofits, and there are a lot around these days. I guess the phrase might be "connect and protect."
Just to take another perspective, check out this commentary by Amy Sample Ward.