Jumo: Good for the Jews? (Guest Post: Tova Serkin)

December 19, 2010

Let’s get right down to it. Jumo is a new social networking platform that intends to improve the way nonprofits, organizations, and individuals communicate online.

But what value does it have given how many others options are already available? Does it offer us something beyond the benefits of Facebook? And most importantly, is it good for the Jews? I asked Tova Serkin, a leading expert in Jewish peoplehood and nonprofit fundraising to find out.

Tova’s Take on Jumo

Prospects for Jumo’s Success

I want Jumo to succeed – I really do – but I wish I were more optimistic. The newest social network to break into the field, Jumo was launched last week as a platform for those interested in social change and charitable organizations.

Created by one Facebook’s founders, Chris Hughes, the site has already garnered tremendous press – and the pressure for success is on. Because of Hughes’ extensive experience both with Facebook and Barak Obama’s online fundraising campaign expectations, also in the from of venture capital, are high.

But through my time at JGooders, I have seen first hand how difficult it is to engage even the most committed activists in e-philanthropy of any sort. Here is my take after a few days of exploring the site.

A Quick Glance

Screenshot: Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley. Best practice model for Jumo. Gives you an idea of how a Jumo page looks if you aren’t already a user

If you don’t look carefully, at first you might think Jumo was just another Facebook redesign – the similarities are multiple and conscious. Creators figure that if we are familiar and comfortable with one platform, some of that might transfer to them.

And in fact, you must have a Facebook account to use the system effectively. Essentially, social causes open pages, and users choose to follow the projects and charities that interest them. The focus is on relationship building as opposed to soliciting donations, but recognized charities in the US are able to raise funds as well.

Overall, barring some initial kinks in the Beta version, the site is clear, easy to understand and heralds a new way of interaction with organizations – at least in theory. But Jumo faces some tremendous uphill battles before it can truly take off – while on paper it the idea of building community around specific social causes is compelling, in my experience, it is virtually impossible for most organizations.

— Keep reading to learn about Jumo’s utility to Jewish organizations and for comparison shots of how one organization operates across its website, Facebook, and Jumo —

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Cause-Based Viral Marketing: How Your Nonprofit Can Maximize Social Networking Tools

August 21, 2007


Mastering Viral Marketing to Promote Your Cause

You work for a small to mid-sized nonprofit organization. Your demand is steady, your employees happy, and your finances good. But you know you can do better. What can you do to further promote your cause?

The answer is viral marketing.

Wikipedia describes viral marketing as follows:

“Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological or computer viruses.”

Nonprofit (and profit) organizations can use viral fundraising to promote the reach of their organization, the power of their brand, and the impact of their cause by using existing social network technologies.

For a simple analogy, think of viral marketing along the lines of gossip. Tell one family member about a new boyfriend or girlfriend and you can guarantee a distant cousin you haven’t heard from in months will be calling within days. Your mother tells your aunt, who tells your uncle and cousins, who tell your grandparents, and on. Soon everyone knows.

Viral marketing follows the same exponential principle: direct contact with 10 people will lead eventually lead to a thousand. The key is to use an established networking platform so that your organization can do the basic promotion and the proficiency of the application will do the rest.

Best Practices in Viral Fundraising

Today’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “A New Generation Reinvents Philanthropy” lists five best practice models for viral fundraising:

  1. Kiva.org allows internet lenders to offer interest-free microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Impact: almost 90,000 lenders have loaned $10 million since the fall of 2005
  2. Project Agape enables Facebook users to create online communities for their favorite causes. Impact: 2.5 million users raised $300,000 since May 2007
  3. MySpace Impact Awards allow users to vote on charities that used MySpace to their greatest advantage. The winning charity is awarded $10,000. Note the beauty of this endeavor in that it promotes nonprofit philanthropy while forwarding its own branding

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