Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

Nonprofits Pipe Up

Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

Nonprofits Pipe Up

Article excerpt


If you work for a small nonprofit, chances are you're already busy building schools, vaccinating infants, or providing emergency medical relief. "You don't have time to stop and say, What should we be doing on Facebook today?"' says Chris Hughes. That may sound like a brutally frank admission from the guy who cofounded Facebook, but Hughes isn't suggesting that nonprofits give up on social media Far from it What smaller nonprofits need, he argues, is a new platform that will make it easier for them to connect online with the people most likely to care about their good work.

He calls his new idea Jumo, which means "together in concert" in Yoruba Due to launch in late fall, the site will connect "everyday people" with a steady stream of information about the organizations that are "highly relevant to them," Hughes says. Although Jumo is likely to feature "give now" widgets for charities, the goal is to foster longer-term relationships rather than one-shot donations or short-term attention.

Larger nonprofits have been quicker to take advantage of social media, Hughes says, "because they have the resources to tell their own stories. They have staffs that can specialize in using these newer technologies" such as Facebook or Twitter. Small- and medium-sized NGOs also have compelling stories to share but lack the time "to have a more robust presence," he says.

Time isn't the only thing standing between small organizations and a stronger online presence, says Beth Kanter, coauthor of The Networked Nonprofit and frequent speaker to nonprofit audiences. Many organizations lack an effective communications plan, she says, "so when they try to use social media, it doesn't work well because they don't have capacity, comfort, or content."

Where is all the relevant content that Hughes is promising going to come from? …

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