Reengage your nation

It’s important to keep in touch with people in your nation, while understanding who they are and the best way to communicate with them.

Updated over a week ago

Your biggest asset as an organization is your people, so it’s important to keep in touch, while understanding who they are and the best way to communicate with them. 

You've likely heard of the “ladder of engagement,” which emphasizes the need to move supporters along a pathway of actions that build on each other over time. From an organizing perspective, the key is recognizing that not everyone is going to follow the same pathway, so you’ll need to create multiple points of entry for potential supporters. An easy way to visualize this is through a ski resort. Think about all the different runs that exist on a single mountain. Not everyone has the ability (or desire) to ski the black diamond, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another run they would enjoy.

So, if you're looking to reengage your nation, many of NationBuilder's tools can support your organization's ladder of engagement to keep your people interested and taking action!

Table of Contents

1. Target your outreach through filters/tags/lists

Organizing and sorting your data is extremely important, as you want to make sure that your community is accessible and easy to contact. This allows you to target the right people at the right times for the right things. 

There are many ways in which you can organize all the people in your NationBuilder database using filters, lists, and tags. You can use all of these organization methods together in an integrated way to get the most out of your database. But, which tools are good for what? When should you use a list vs. a filter? What should you tag certain actions? How can you automate parts of the sorting process? Let’s dig in.


Tags are like virtual sticky notes that you can attach to a person’s profile to highlight certain criteria or characteristics. Tags are key to organizing your community and ensuring that you are targeting the right people. You can use them to track who attends an event, who has donated and through what link, who signs a petition on your website, who signs up for a volunteer role via text, and much more.

Tags are used to find people who have characteristics in common, so you can generate lists and filters, and group people according to your needs. Tags are also permanent, and won’t change or update unless you do so manually, or via batch update. So compared to lists and filters, which can change with time or actions, tags are the most permanent way to categorize people in your community. You can tag people anything- donor, donor2013, board member, editor, comiccon2015, SpringFling2014attendee- and give them as many tags as you like. 


Filters are dynamic groupings of people who match certain criteria. You can create filters to target people in your database by specific criteria. When you filter people, you can save the filter for future use, export the results, or add people to a list. A saved filter is dynamically populated with the people who match your search criteria in real time.

Filter results can be sorted for prioritizing outreach within your community. You can create reusable filters with relative date search criteria. For example, you can create a filter for anyone who had a profile created in the last week and send a scheduled welcome email blast to that filter every Monday.


Lists are static groups of people who match certain criteria. Lists can be populated by a single filter, or manually. Lists are static search results based on the database at the time the list is created, and will not change over time. Once you enter your filter criteria, you will be given the results of all people who match your terms. You can then save the results as a list, and use the list to send mass communications to groups of people.

Lists are used to send blast emails, batch update information, print walk sheets, view information in call view, and view information in data entry view. While lists are key to segmenting your community so that you can communicate with them effectively, filters and tags should be the primary sorting mechanisms in your nation, due to the static nature of lists.

Lists change when you interact with them. Though lists are static, they will change over time if you interact with them in certain ways. For example, you have the list “Get Out the Vote - June,” which contains 40 of your volunteers who you want to call to remind about Friday’s door knocking event. As you log a call in the call view of your list, the logged profile will be removed from the list. So once you call Jon, your first volunteer, your list will have 39 people on it.

More about how these components can help with outreach below!

2. Use email blasts to quickly and effectively communicate with your supporters to promote action 

We know how important it is to send emails, and not just any emails, but really good ones. If you’re in charge of sending emails, you may face the need to increase your open rate, click-through rate, and/or conversion rate. NationBuilder allows you to really dig into data and send targeted emails to people in your nation. Taking the time to understand your audience and send them content they are interested in is key to raising your open rate and engagement with your supporters.

3. Phone calls: give a supporter a call to see how they're doing

Interactions between people build and sustain communities. By making 1:1 calls to reconnect with your supporters and logging all contact in your nation, relationships are strengthened, transparency is enhanced and a record of your reconnection record is built. 

Phone banking can also help to with larger outreach. Though these are more of an event, they can be a good way of reengaging supporters. 

4. Host an event

Creating an event always creates buzz and can help get supporters reengaged!

Through events, you can gain information on who is RSVPing, add tags to event pages and RSVPS, do targeted outreach using all of the info gathered, send thank you notes after an event, and so much more!

5. Reach out through social media to find the people who are the most engaged with your nation

You can use filters and tags to find and reach out to the people who are highly engaged with your nation on social media. Social media really allows you to make a random name in your database into a person. You can spend less than two minutes searching social media bios and locations for keywords to identify who lives in your city, what they’re up to, and what they care about. 

So, what’s the best way to do that?

You can target people using advanced search. Click on the filter button and select your criteria. Here are some of the Facebook criteria options:

Let’s say you’re running a campaign and you want to find all of the folks who’ve liked your posts in the last 7 days. You’re now pulling a list of engaged members of your community who are reachable via social media and email. Knowing who these people are is incredible when you’re running a fundraising drive, a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign, or trying to grow your volunteer base (among other things).

And the same can be done with Twitter. Let’s try searching for someone with 15,000 followers, has interacted with your Twitter account (by following you, retweeting you or tweeting at you) & has an email address for you to reach them.

Check out the list of Twitter-related criteria in Advanced Search.

Now you can reach out personally to these people and engage them in conversation about what they truly care about. Remember – you are not a machine, so don’t communicate like one!

6. Path check-up: track your progress with your supporters to reach your goals efficiently

If you haven't created paths, we highly recommend it as path is a step-by-step workflow that describes how people taking action contribute toward achieving the larger goal. As a person completes various steps on a path, they are moved along the path to its completion. This deliberate distribution of work provides clarity on how individual support helps achieve the organization's mission. Paths are the cornerstone to building internal alignment and accountability. You can have a variety of paths within your nation to help engage a variety of supporters. This really circles back to the "ladder of engagement" and recognizing that not everyone is going to follow the same pathway, so you’ll need to create multiple points of entry for potential supporters.

If you are using paths, we recommend using Path view as a workflow, as it allows you to see an overview of everyone in your nation on a specific path step all at once. 

Also, maybe its time to use filters to see when people were last contacted and decide how you can get those folks back on track to meet your goals!

7. Create a leaderboard

Leaderboards can be used to identify and empower leaders in your community by finding your top recruiters and contributors. You can display leaderboards on your website and acknowledge the supporters who are making the most valuable contributions to your organization!

While you’re at it, let’s help your nation continue to grow:

  1. Import people - importing people to your nation increases your pool of outreach.

  2. Voter file requests - NationBuilder offers free access to the national voter file to U.S. organizations for political purposes. This helps your nation grow instantly! 

  3. Connect social media - If you haven't done so, connecting a broadcaster and your organization’s social media accounts can help you spread the word about your nation and track your organization’s supporters across multiple platforms. Your broadcaster will be able to post directly to social media, monitor activity that mentions your social media accounts, and automatically import prospects from both Twitter and Facebook.

Use Cases

Need inspiration? Our collection of stories shows off real ways that NationBuilder customers succeed! 

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