Table of Contents:
What is NationBuilder?
NationBuilder is a community engagement platform that powers thousands of the world's most high-stakes movements and campaigns. Our software is designed for any individual or organization that needs to lead, engage, and mobilize a community of supporters at scale.
We understand that your supporter community is the lifeblood of your mission. Without an active, committed community in your corner, advancing your cause would be impossible. NationBuilder helps you build meaningful, sustainable relationships with your supporter base to grow your effective reach, move people to action, and create more leaders.
On NationBuilder you can:
Inform every decision with integrated, real-time data by creating lists, filters, and tags in a database that dynamically updates with every supporter interaction
Build your site in minutes with readymade themes & templates to inspire, capture, and seamlessly track actions across your site while prompting deeper community engagement
Send the right message with advanced communication tools and personalize email, text, and field outreach to supporters based on their interests and history with you
Raise more with fundraising pages & payment processing and seamlessly collect and process one-time and recurring donations to maximize contributions and streamline work
To learn more, you can read more about the list of features here. And, be sure to get an overview of the control panel by watching the video below:
Importing & Exporting
At NationBuilder, we strongly believe that you own your own data. We don't sell your data, we don't do anything with your data, your data is your own. Given this, we think it's extremely important that you can import and export data at any time.
When going to import there are a couple of key pieces to keep in mind such as all data needs to be saved as a CSV, you will need a unique identifier to map your data correctly, and there are a plethora of fields available to be imported.
Mapping fields means telling your nation what type of data can be found in each field (column). You must map to fields available for import. Check out a complete list of fields available for import. If your field cannot be imported, you might be able to map your data as a tag or custom field.
A unique identifier (ID) is data that exists in only one profile within a nation. Think of it like a social security number: a particular value can only exist in that field in one record in your database. Unique IDs are used to merge information from imports with existing records in your nation and for deduping records in your nation. All imports must include a unique ID.
Read more about the other ways to get data flowing into your nation with our integration with Zapier.
In NationBuilder, there are two different types of exports, People exports or Finances exports. You can export data based on a specific filter or list, or export your entire People database. People profile exports include some summary information about donation and invoice history for individual people, but to export information about individual financial transactions (donations, invoices, and expenditures), you will need to start in the Finances section. Customizing fields for export is not currently available in the Finances section.
Understanding Individual profiles
A person's profile serves as the central hub for all of their information and their relationship with your nation. Profiles can contain a lot of valuable information about your supporters or prospects and allow you to filter based on the information you store.
Additionally it's important to note that every profile in your database has a support status: supporter, non-supporter, or prospect, which can be edited as people interact with you. Defining the support level for each profile can be tedious, so we have an automated process that will approximate support status when the support level doesn't exist.
Support status primarily distinguishes between people based on whether or not they have opted into mass communication. The "prospect" support status is primarily used to gather people who have neither opted in nor opted out of email communication from your organization. While supporters are people that have opted into your communication.
Non-supporters will never be included in mass communication (however, you can communicate one on one with anyone in your database). Text message blasts can only be sent to supporters and email blasts can be sent to supporters or to prospects.
Segmenting your database
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.
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 criteria in real-time.
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. Plus, they're used to find people who have characteristics in common, so you can generate lists and filters, and group people according to your needs. For more tagging tips, check this out.
Lists, which are created in the people tab, are static groups of people who match certain criteria based on the database at the time the list is created, and will not change over time. Lists can be populated by a single filter, or manually and are used to send blast emails, batch update information, print walk sheets, view the information in call view, or 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.
Manage your relationships
Communities are created through relationships, which is why we made it possible for you to track & manage relationships within your nation, primarily through paths and logging contacts.
Paths can serve as a map of where a relationship currently stands and operates as a step-by-step workflow to complete a chain of actions. Paths define reasons for engaging supporters and creating alignment and accountability within an organization. Paths appear in the People section of the control panel.
By default, your nation has some paths already set up in your nation that you can use or edit how you see fit. Then, you can assign paths or steps to a specific point person, add due dates, enable path values, and more to help keep your team aligned.
Logging all contacts in your nation creates transparency and provides a historical record of the interactions between your team members and the people in your database to help you build relationships and sustain communities. There are four key components to logging a contact: method, path, notes, and status. These elements describe how you contacted someone, why they were contacted, and the result of the interaction. Contacts can be logged in single-person view, data entry view, call view, or when importing scannable sheets.
Use your website to move people to action
On NationBuilder there are several page types that you can choose from. But, all action pages, where your visitor is asked to take an action like sign a petition, make a donation, or RSVP to an event, has settings that can be activated when a visitor takes an action on your site.
These automated settings include tools that will tag people, assign a point person, add people to paths, etc., which can make you and your team's lives easier! Setting them up will allow you to search more efficiently for people, quickly view information about them, and communicate to them in a more meaningful way. Here are more resources for creating and editing web pages to fit your organization's needs:
Sending mass communications
Sending mass communications is a powerful engagement tactic that allows you to quickly and effectively message your subscribers with calls to action. In NationBuilder, you can do these primarily via two mediums, email blasting or text blasts.
In NationBuilder, there are three simple steps to creating and sending email blasts. First is to find your target audience, then create your email blast and add your content, then follow-up appropriately.
Plus, you can use smart fields in your email blasts to personalize your content. These fields use data from your NationBuilder database to dynamically populate text in your email content.
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. Here are more tips and tricks to level up your email game:
And, if you need to send one-to-one emails to someone in your database you can do so by going to the Dashboard of the person's profile and click Email. This option will only appear if an email address is associated with the person's profile. Once you click the email button, you will see a text-based email editor.
People are with their mobile phones 24/7. On NationBuilder, you can use bulk text blasts to get your message opened faster, and text keywords to sign people up easier.
To use text messaging, you will have to set up a phone number in your nation. Determine how many text messages to send and receive per month by clicking on your profile icon > Contacts and billing > Plan.
📌 Note: SMS text features are available to customers in the U.S. and Canada. Depending on your plan type, 350 texts/month are included free, and more can be purchased.
Use text blasts to send nation updates to your supporters. Or, use them to coordinate small groups of people. Simply add your content and choose recipients to send a text blast.
Then, you can attach keywords that allow your supporters to take action from their cell phones. Action pages in NationBuilder let you set up text message keywords that users can text to take the action linked to the page.
When a supporter texts a keyword to a broadcaster, some automated messages will be sent out to gather profile information. Then, the broadcaster will send the autoresponse indicated when the keywords were created. Once the profile is complete, a supporter will only receive the autoresponse.
Customize your needs with our apps and integrations
Check out our apps and integrations to further your use of NationBuilder. There's everything from canvassing apps, phone banking tools, and more!
For instance, our integration with Zapier lets you connect NationBuilder to 1,500+ other web services. Automated connections called Zaps, set up in minutes with no coding, can automate your day-to-day tasks and build workflows between apps that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
Check out more examples of apps you can connect with Zapier to get data flowing into your NationBuilder CRM.
If you're looking for some more strategies and guides on how to manage your data better, check out these resources:
Our Support team is here to help! Our phone support hours are Monday through Friday 6am to 6pm PST and they can be reached at [email protected] or by phone on:
Los Angeles: 1-213-394-4623 New York: 1-646-350-1508 Vancouver: 1-604-256-8419 London: +44 20-3807-0849 Sydney: +61 2-8188-3760