Jumo, the Facebook for non-profits, launches at last

Jumo, a social network connecting people with non-profits and charities, launched its beta site today. Jumo is run by Chris Hughes, a founder of Facebook and the chief digital organizer of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. The site has been highly anticipated since Jumo’s soft launch in March.

In an interview today with the New York Times, he said Jumo aims to “do what Yelp did for restaurants.” Individual charities will each have dedicated pages on Jumo, which is similar to Facebook’s fan pages. The charities will be able to post relevant news articles, Twitter posts and YouTube videos. Users in turn can add their own feedback and comments, as well as find what organizations and issues their Facebook friends are supporting on Jumo.

Akshaya Patra Foundation’s individual page on Jumo’s beta site

Unlike Facebook, Jumo is a non-profit and will rely on payments from users and advertising sponsorships from organizations that want better promotion.   Jumo is hiring for a handful of positions, including a “Monetization Director” whose chief job will be “to achieve financial self-sustainability through the development of revenue-generating products.”

Before its beta release, Jumo raised more than $3.5 million in funds, according to the New York Times. The site was also seeded with more than 3,000 issues and groups–though anyone with a social mission can create a page, Hughes said.

What’s unique about Jumo, Hughes told Fast Company, is that the site won’t focus on soliciting donations. “We’re trying to avoid the classic feeling that a lot of people have when they start talking to a non-profit or NGO,” Hughes said.  “We are really more like a social news site. We believe that sustained giving happens only after you get to know an organization.”

Jumo founder Chris Hughes’ personal page

Jumo unveiled its beta site this morning and many Twitter users say they’re having trouble accessing Jumo. We’ve been poking around the site all morning and while impressed with the simple interface, we still can’t register for Jumo. To be sure, the site is in beta and a lot of people are visiting the site after months of anticipation.

But if Hughes’ past work at Facebook and with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is any indication, we can expect Jumo to set a new standard for connecting with non-profits online.

-Tracy Samantha Schmidt