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How to Procrastinate…for a Good Cause

April 22, 2010

Photo: Fast Company

Dana Goldstein at the Daily Beast’s Giving Beast blog reports on Chris Hughes’ newest project. The Facebook co-founder who left to the hugely successful online social network to launch MyBarackObama.com is quite the idealist. After the presidential campaign, he spent a brief stint as “entrepreneur-in-residence” at a venture capital firm, but his public-spirited ambitions led him to the developing world—Africa, India and Latin America—where he spoke to development practitioners, community activists and, of course, its locals.

His peripatetic identity quest concluded when he came up with Jumo.com, a social networking website connecting nonprofits to the public and to one another. (Jumo means “together in concert” in Yoruba, a West African language.)

On Jumo, a college student, for example, could enter the dates of her winter break and find a list of corresponding volunteer opportunities; a Lusophone lawyer could volunteer his time to assist the Angolan government in revising its tax codes; a donor to the Red Cross could find and fund a smaller but similar nonprofit.

Hughes claims that Jumo is based on a supply-and-demand imbalance between peoples’ “genuine desire to be more involved in the world” and the online tools to adequately fulfill those desires.

However, Jumo is not without competition; its most formidable rival is Causes, the Facebook application that has drawn over 25 million users (but, according to the Washington Post, a majority of these “causes” have never received donations).

Further competition includes Ning.com, theidealist.org,Change.org. and, most recently, Edward Norton’s Crowdrise.com. According to Hughes, “we have a real problem when it comes to giving,” which could only be solved if a consulting firm went to “each nonprofit one by one and offer to build a website, Facebook page, and email program for them.” Therefore, Hughes will apply his business and tech savoir-faire to building an efficient, practical and easy to use web platform.

YouTube, Twitter, Facebook (“YouTwitFace”?) and now Jumo—will it be another procrastination destination? Well, at least it will be for a good cause.

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