Nov 302010
 

Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook and the chief digital organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, knows a thing or two about building online communities.

Now he is applying his expertise to a new venture called Jumo, which aims to connect people with nonprofits and charitable organizations.

The site, which is being unveiled on Tuesday, aims to “do whatYelp did for restaurants,” Mr. Hughes said, indexing charities “to help people find and evaluate them.”

Individual charities, projects like building a school in rural Africa and broad issues like gay rights will all have dedicated pages on Jumo.

Relevant news articles, Twitter posts and YouTube videos will be added to the pages, and users can add their own feedback and comments. Users can also find their Facebook friends and follow their adopted projects and issues on the site.

The idea is to take the principles that helped Mr. Hughes organize a network of volunteers into a successful political force and apply them to a much broader universe of causes and issues.

Mr. Hughes is not the first entrepreneur to venture into this territory. Causes, a Facebook application, and the Web site Global Giving are among the many existing ways to find and support charities online.

But Mr. Hughes said Jumo would not be primarily about soliciting donations. Instead, he said, the site would first try to deepen ties between its users and their favorite causes.

“The more connected that individual is to an issue they care about, the higher probability there is they will stay involved over a longer period of time,” Mr. Hughes said.

To start, the Jumo site was seeded with more than 3,000 issues and groups. But “anyone with a social mission can create a page,” said Mr. Hughes, who thinks Jumo could become a simple way for smaller charities to establish a social media presence.

Jumo will allow only organizations that have been certified as tax exempt to solicit donations, as a way to discourage fraud.

Jumo is itself a nonprofit, and will rely on payments from users and sponsorships from organizations that want better promotion on the Web site.

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