Jumo – A Social Network For Charities

One of the founders of Facebook is working on a new startup that’s trying to create a social network with a focus on charities called Jumo, which just went into beta today:

Jumo aims to help you discover what causes matter to you by allowing you to follow specific charities as well as keep tabs on what your friends are following. Seems simple enough.

On Jumo each cause/charity has its own relevant news stream, sort of like what would happen if the Facebook app, “Causes,” coincidentally started by Sean Parker and former Zuckerberg roommate Joe Green, had its own social network that allowed you to actually “friend” charities.

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Using Text (SMS) For Charity Donations

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Here’s an informative piece on the technologies, economics, and pitfalls of using text message based charitable donations:

Texted donations currently are limited to $5 and $10 increments and capped by mobile phone companies at five a month from a single phone.

But that’s not the only downside.  There are huge costs to setting up a short code number and then you have to spend even more money on spreading the word about it:

Thus far, nonprofits have also had to share the five-digit codes, called short codes, which means relying on donors to remember a particular key word like “Haiti” or “aid” to ensure that gifts go to the intended charity. Mr. Eberhard said short codes were expensive, about $12,000 each, and so companies can offer only a few to their clients

Perhaps most important, many nonprofits simply cannot afford the kind of promotional campaign needed to publicize mobile giving efforts, nor do they benefit from the kind of exposure that a round-the-clock, disaster-driven news event provides.

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Crowdrise- Ed Norton’s social networking and charity website

Crowdrise aims to make raising money for a cause not just easy, but also fun. Setting up a page to support something you care about takes less than a minute. Then, friends and family can be invited to be sponsors by donating any amount of money, large or small. You don’t have to run a marathon. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or do whatever strikes your fancy. But Ms. Wittenberg, who has already sent her e-mail to 33,000 runners based in the United States and will soon send one to the 27,000 or so based elsewhere, hopes that anyone running in New York on Nov. 7 will use Crowdrise to do it for charity.

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The Financial Access Initiative and MicroSave invites you to a free virtual conference on Reimagining Microfinance Around the World

Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day broadened our understanding of how the global poor manage their financial lives, but how do we take these lessons and transform them into real, on-the-ground solutions for economic development? The Financial Access Initiative and MicroSave invites you to a free virtual conference on Reimagining Microfinance Around the World to address this question. On June 8-9, co-authors Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven, and MicroSave’s Graham A.N. Wright will be fielding questions and comments from conference registrants. There are plenty of ways to prepare for the conference. An inspiring introduction to the book can be seen in a podcast of Bob Christen, and key issues and findings from Portfolios research can be accessed in a series of Briefing Notes. Microfinance Podcast is also running a video series on the conference that features Sukhwinder Singh, Stuart Rutherford, Rich Rosenberg, Bill Easterly, Yaw Nyarko and Jonathan Morduch.

Registration is free! To join the virtual conference, please visit
http://microsave.org/static/content/VC-on-portfolios-of-the-poor.

Groupon Joins in Charity Drive

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The fast growing and popular deal site Groupon has joined Charity Drive, to help groups of people get together to raise money for charity.

It is a new kind of philanthropy — the digital version of the public radio pledge drive, when businesses offer to match listener donations for a period of time.

The Pershing Square Foundation, which is affiliated with Pershing Square Capital Management, an investment firm, gave a matching grant of $400,000, and DonorsChoose.org’s board of directors pitched in another $100,000. Groupon users can buy credits for half price and the foundation will match the rest — a $20 credit goes for $10, a $100 credit goes for $50 and so on. DonorsChoose.org aims to give $1 million to schools through the partnership.

On DonorsChoose.org, donors could buy 100 writing journals for a teacher in an impoverished part of Nevada, for instance, or three calculators and batteries for an algebra teacher in Mississippi.

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Twitter’s foray into social good efforts with the launch of Hope140

Last month saw the latest Twitter foray into social good efforts with the launch of the new Hope140 initiative. Its #EndMalaria campaign over the past week featured the TwitPay platform for donations, creating a new call to action for Hope140. Twitter users participated in World Malaria Day by retweeting and donating $10. The Case Foundation matched donations with a $25,000 grant.

#EndMalaria demonstrated that Twitter can be more than an awareness mechanism for non-profits. Further, Twitter is using its Promoted Tweets feature as public service vehicle, launching with two charities; Room to Read, which is campaigning to promote the building of their 10,000th library, and Partners in Health. Now Twitter’s non-profit offering provides comprehensive capabilities, from click-throughs and retweets to bona fide donations and public service announcements.

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What is “Impact Investing”?

Impact Investing is a relatively new term used to describe philanthropy and charitable giving, but it implies that these projects require a return on the investment, although return requirements are much more lenient than what a typical financial investor would demand.  Here’ s a good New York Times article that delves into the topic at length:

More often, impact investing is described by what it is not. It does not work in the same way as socially responsible investing, which excludes areas a person does not want to invest in — like tobacco or guns — through a simple screening process. Impact investing focuses more on bringing about change — helping the working poor in India buy a home, for instance.

While most of the money is going into areas like helping to reduce poverty and improving the climate, it is not philanthropy. Investors expect at least a return of their capital with an adjustment for inflation and, in many cases, a lot more than that.

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Update on One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

It’s been slow going. About 1.6 million of the group’s laptops have been distributed to date, said Matt Keller, vice president for global advocacy at the O.L.P.C. Foundation, based in Cambridge, Mass. Today, the largest concentrations are in Uruguay, at around 400,000, and Peru, at 280,000, followed by Rwanda (110,000) and Haiti and Mongolia (15,000 each).

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