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How to use lists and batch actions
How to use lists and batch actions

Once you've added people to a list, use it to batch update them (e.g. add a tag to everyone), create/print walk sheets, and more

Updated over a week ago

📌 Note: Geocoding, mapping, and walksheets are available as an add-ons. Additionally, you can purchase multiple permission sets and memberships as an add-on. For more information on adding new features please see the add-ons page in your nation.

Where to Start

Lists are a static way to organize people within your database, as they are intended for one-time use. Much of their functionality overlaps with other aspects of the People section, which is why they live there. 

We recommend using a list to batch update people, create walk lists, or scanned surveys. This HOWTO assumes you know how to create a list and add people to it.

📌 Note: We generally recommend using single-person view to log calls and do data entry. However they can helpful for larger volunteer phone banks, or manually entering the results of a pen & paper canvass. More on how to set up a phone bank.


In the list Settings, you can rename your list, determine who can view or change your list, and create a list description. 

You can also share a list with every control panel user granted a specific permission level or with an individual. Admins of your nation will be able to see and edit all lists created in your nation. It is also possible to share a list with another nation, but only specific fields will be shared. 

How the list is sorted is determined by the theme used to print sheets. When you create a custom theme, you can determine the sort order. 

Batch update

There are seven different categories of updates that can be performed as a batch action from a list: people, tags, log contacts, memberships, relationships, clear field, and paths. The memberships category will only display if you enable memberships. 

By default, batch updates bypass webhooks. This means that webhooks won't fire when people are updated. By unchecking the box next to "bypass webhooks" before starting an update, any webhooks connected to your nation will fire when people are batch updated.

⚠️ Be careful when batch updating a list, as these updates will override previous information in people's profiles. There is no "undo" option for batch actions.

Batch update people

The "Batch update" feature allows you to update the core data about the people in your nation en masse. To batch update people attributes on the list, go to Batch update > People.

The table below outlines which fields on an individual's profile can be edited via Batch update > People. Some of these update options will only appear if you have a particular feature enabled. You can enable features from Settings > Defaults > Basics if your permission set allows you access to that portion of your nation's control panel.

Batch update tags

Add or remove an existing tag from people in the list via a dropdown menu.

Batch update log contacts

In the Log contacts section you can log a contact on the profiles of all of the people on the list.

📌 Note: Since this is a batch update, you will be logging the exact same contact details for everyone on the list. Alternatively, you can log a separate contact on each person's profile. Contacts are logged as occurring on the day the batch update is created.

Note: Add information about the interaction made with this group of people.

Method*: How the people were contacted; e.g. email blast, phone call, door knock. (required)

Contact status: The result of the contact; e.g. answered, not interested, etc.

Broadcaster: If the people were logged on behalf of an official voice of your nation, include the broadcaster. The contact will also be recorded within the broadcaster's activity stream. 

Support level: If every person contacted now has the same support level, include that.

Path: The path that relates to the reason everyone was contacted. (required)

Step: Select a path before choosing a step. This is the step the contact will be recorded on. (required)

Click the Log contact on all XX people button to log the contact. 

Since contacts are always logged as occurring on a path step, batch updating contacts has an affect on the active paths for people in the list. Each person's profile will be affected in one of the following ways: 

  • If the person is on the step specified, the contact will be logged without changing the path.

  • If the person is not on the path, they will be added to the path on the step where the contact is being recorded.

  • If the person is on an earlier step on the path, they will be moved to the step where the contact is being recorded.

  • If the person is on a later step on the path, they will remain on that step while the contact is recorded on the previous step.

Batch update memberships

If you have enabled memberships at Settings > Defaults > Basics and have created membership types, you can:

  • Add a membership to everyone on the list. Adding a membership to a list won't change existing memberships.

Example: John is on a list and has an expired annual membership. You go to Batch update > Memberships and add an active annual membership to everyone on the list. John's annual membership will still be expired. 

  • Update information about an existing membership. This update will only affect people on the list who already have that membership.

Example: John and Susie are on a list. John has an expired annual membership and Susie does not have an annual membership. You go to Batch update > Membership and update annual memberships to active status. John will now have an active annual membership and Susie won't have an annual membership. 

  • Remove a membership from everyone on the list. This deletes the membership, leaving only an activity stream note that it once existed.

Example: John and Susie are on a list. John has an expired annual membership and Susie does not have an annual membership. You go to Batch update > Membership and remove annual memberships. Now the activity stream on John's profile will show that you batch removed his annual membership. The membership itself will not appear in Edit > Membership types.

Batch update relationships

You can both add and remove relationships to an entire list.

To add a relationship, select Add under Action to take, specify the relationship type, the person or organization to which the relationship is being created, and (optionally) a title for the relationship.

To remove a relationship, select Remove under Action to take, specify the relationship type. If the records on your list have multiple relationships of that type, all will be removed.

Control panel users have the ability to batch update consent for existing supporters to represent consent that was gathered from sources other than NationBuilder’s re-permissioning forms

To do so, once on your list (People > Lists > Edit list), select Batch update > Consent.

1. Select your consent subject. E.g. email_updates

2. Enter the Description you used to ask for the consent. E.g. Can we occasionally email you updates?

3. Select the response you’d like to batch update, Yes/No.

4. Date of consent- This is the date the consent was given.

5. Click Update XX people.

Once you’ve selected Update X people, you will see a green status bar at the top of your page. How quickly it updates will depend on the size of your list.

Clear field

From Batch update > Clear field, you can remove all data that currently exists in a particular field. This means that the field will be empty for every person on the list.

Currently, using the clear field feature you can remove:

  • point person

  • home phone number

  • mobile phone number

  • all social media data (clears all data for the following options): Twitter profile data (public profile link & profile picture) Facebook profile data (public profile link & profile picture) LinkedIn profile data (public profile link & profile picture)

  • Ethnicity

  • Religion

  • Place of worship

If you need to clear a different field from a list, please email [email protected]. Please note that batch updates are not instantaneous.

Batch update paths

Paths can be updated, abandoned, or completed using batch update. This means that the same action will be taken for everyone on a particular list.


When you household a list, NationBuilder will look for anyone else in your nation who shares an address with someone on your list. 

For example, if Jane and Sally Jones live together and Jane is on my list, but Sally is not, householding will add Sally to my list. 


You can split a list into parts by either specifying a percentage or the number of new lists you want (for example, a list of 10,000 can be split into 4 lists of 25,000 or by 60%, 20%, 15%, 5%). Note that the split tool doesn't distinguish between households, so that people who share an address or phone number may end up on two separate lists.

Splitting a list creates new lists with similar names to the original list.


You can generate a .csv export of your list from here. Customizing fields for export is not supported when exporting from a list. Instead, filter for people on the list and export the filter.

You can choose to export a list by households, which will create one record for everyone on the list within a particular location. The way people in the household will be addressed is determined by the number of people within a household.

Keep in mind that while many fields will be exported, activities and conversations will not. You can capture those in a snapshot.

Print sheets

You can print out call sheets for people to record interactions on paper. Those contacts can be entered later using single-person view. To facilitate door-to-door canvassing, you can print walk sheets or scannable sheets

Call sheets and walk sheets can be customized - which means you can choose which information about people to include in the printed sheets. Customizing sheets requires creating a custom theme, which includes understanding HTML and Liquid. A certified NationBuilder designer can help design custom sheets. 

Map view

Map view allows you to view the people on your list on a map. This can help you determine a convenient location for an in-person meeting. It also allows you to turf cut, creating smaller lists of people for in-person communication. In a list, from XX people, select Map view. The entire People section can also be viewed in map view, as can filter results.

Learn more about map view and turf cutting

Data entry view

Data entry view is designed to facilitate the manual entry of results from a phone bank or canvass (i.e. one where results were tracked with pen and paper). When call/walk sheets are printed from a list, the order of the people will match the order of the list in your nation. So, when the sheets are returned to you, if you make sure that they are in order, you can open up the original list, and go to Data entry view

From there, you can select the contact method (e.g. Door knock), who was doing the contacting (e.g. if it was someone other than you). You can then enter the results of the phone call/door knock — support level, contact status, any notes from the interaction — and click the Log contact and remove from list button to pull up the next person on the list. Or you can click Skip and remove from list if there is nothing to log.

⚠️ Please note: Using this method will remove the person from the list entirely. This is intended to help keep track of what data has already been entered and who has already been contacted. If you intend to re-canvass this list of people, make sure to add them to another new list before you begin your data entry. 

If your sheets are not in order, or you need to skip around without removing someone from a list, you can scroll down the page, which displays 10 people at a time. You can also skip to the next page using the "next" pagination button.

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