GOOD Buys Jumo, Seeks Social Connective Tissue

goodmagazineJumo is supposed to be Facebook for nonprofits. Founded by Facebook co-founder and chief digital organizer of the Obama 2008 campaign, Chris Hughes, Jumo launched with great fanfare and grant funding from the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network and Knight Foundation.

GOOD is a publishing and marketing company “for people who want to live well and do good”. Founded by Ben Goldhirsh, the son of the founder of Inc Magazine (a hugely successful traditional print magazine), GOOD was one of a handful of “philanthropy magazines” that launched in 2007. While the other “philanthropy magazines” folded, GOOD has evolved to encompass online content, live events, and now a kind of advertising/marketing agency that helps organizations do socially connected campaigns.

Now GOOD is buying Jumo. Interesting…

First off, why isn’t Jumo working on a standalone basis? While Hughes says that the organization had a “very successful start” and counts over a million users, in all my surfing of the philanthropic web I haven’t once found reference to activity on Jumo other blog posts saying how great it is going to be.

While people like Amy Sample Ward and Beth Kanter are far better sources to comment on the technology aspect of Jumo, from a donor perspective I must say I don’t understand the drive to create a social network based around nonprofits. Nonprofit and for-profit brands may be ways that people define themselves and thus be the sort of thing that people want attached to their online social persona. But for the vast majority of donors, nonprofits are not the central way that they seek to organize their social network.

GOOD on the other hand seems to be figuring out that there is a huge interest in social sector related content, especially when it is presented as an integrated part of the fabric of life, not somehow separate from politics, business, culture, food and technology. Rather than being for “donors” or “philanthropists” or some other adjective that applies to only a slice of people’s persona, GOOD proudly proclaims it is “for people who give a damn”.

So what will GOOD do with Jumo? Speaking to the New York Times, Goldhirsh said “I’ve always felt the real potential of GOOD was to connect people wanting to take action with the organizations and businesses that could help them do that, and Jumo is the connective tissue that will allow and enable that to happen.”

We’ll have to see how Goldhirsh puts that vision into action, but I’m struck by his choice of words. Rather than seeing a social sector-social network as a standalone entity unto itself, maybe it is the “connective tissue” that ties everything together.

Let’s imagine a 20-something Millennial. She works at a for-profit company importing sustainably grown coffee that hopes to turn a profit while leveraging the power of the free market to pull people in the developing world out of poverty. She listens to U2, makes microfinance loans on Kiva and loves Apple products so much that she wears a t-shirt with the Apple logo. She’s a political news junkie and is disgusted with both parties. She makes donations to nonprofits but feels that the products that she buys, people she votes for and where she chooses to work are just as important elements of her impact on the world.

Our 20-something Millennial doesn’t define herself by the nonprofits she supports.

She defines herself as someone who gives a damn.

What she wants isn’t a special place she can visit to express her social self before returning to the “real world” of work, life and play. Instead she wants a world full of work, life and play that is built around a connective tissue that infuses all of her life with meaning.

There is no work-life balance in our Millennial’s world. No need to “give back” as if her success in life somehow extracted value that must be repaid. There is only meaningful experiences that honor the many priorities of the individual: self, family, and member of the global community (and many smaller communities).

There is great need for nonprofit oriented transactional platforms, such as Global Giving, Charity Navigator and GuideStar. But I doubt there is a need for a nonprofit oriented social network.

I look forward to seeing what GOOD does with Jumo. If they pull things off, they might just move from being a content platform for people who give a damn to an immersive experience, extending across the online and offline worlds for a new generation that views social impact as the connective tissue that connects their interests and passions.

One Comment

  1. Jumo along with hand fulls of other social ventures suffer from the age old problem of chicken and egg. Empowering people to make a difference when a story just breaks to worthwhile causes is an important step for philanthropy. The acquisition of Jumo by GOOD is a step in the right direction.