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Fundraising & Memberships

Everything you need to know about managing your fundraising or membership program on NationBuilder

Updated over a week ago

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:

Fundraising with NationBuilder

You can keep track of all pledges and donations, online or offline, received by your organization using your NationBuilder database. Plus, by using NationBuilder's database to track information from your donors you can easily keep up with their involvement, the avenue through which they might have found your organization (e.g. through a friend, family, etc.), and their specific interests. With all this information in one place, it’ll make it that much easier for you to reach out for their help and ask them to become your first donors.

Pledges are promises received from supporters to donate money in the future. Verbal pledges can be recorded in your control panel. You can view a list of all current pledges in your nation from Finances > Pledges > Listing. From here you can add a new pledge by clicking + New pledge. You can also gather pledges via a moneybomb page.

To add a donation for a new donor, visit Finances, and click the New donation button. When you are adding a donation for a new donor, you can create both a new donation AND a new profile through the Finances section of your control panel. Once you save the new donation, you will find the new donor profile in the People section.

When you are adding a donation for an existing donor, you need to start in the People section of your control panel since you want to connect the donation to a person that already exists in your database already. All you need to do is search for the person in the People section.

All donations will be recorded in the Finances section of the control panel and in the donor's profile.

If you want to track online donations, you'll need to first make sure you have a payment processor set up in your nation and then attach that payment processor to your Donation (v2) page.

To export information about individual financial transactions (donations, invoices, and expenditures), you will need to start in the Finances section. Similar to people profile exports, you can first filter financial transactions and then export only those that are returned by selecting the Actions button and choosing Export.

And, if you want to measure, track, and report on key fundraising metrics like donor retention rate, lifetime value, and revenue growth with ease you can download Fundraising Report Card for free. It will allow you to identify trends in your donor's behavior, and also pinpoint which individuals you need to talk to right now. Plus, the visual reports are great for board presentations and informing key stakeholders on your organization's fundraising health.

Use your website to move people to action

A donation page is a fundamental tool for almost any organization to process credit card donations from a website. NationBuilder donation pages are flexible for your needs and can act as a simple donate page, a paid membership signup page, or a payment page to purchase items such as tickets. You can create as many donation pages as you need to reach your goals and track fundraising efforts.

On NationBuilder there are several page types that you can choose from. When any supporter takes an action on your website it will create a new profile for them in your People database, or if they already have a profile in your People database, it will update that record to show the completed action.

And, 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.

When you are doing a fundraising campaign or an event, tracking codes help you keep an eye on all the donations tied to that specific fundraising.

Keeping track of your donations is extremely important when you’re running multiple campaigns or events. With tracking codes, you can aggregate donations for accounting reconciliation. As all transactions aggregate in the Finances section, tracking codes help identify which transaction is tied to which specific campaign or event.

You can configure a donation page to exclusively accept one-time, monthly, or annual payments.

If you want to track online donations, you'll need to first make sure you have a payment processor set up in your nation and then attach that payment processor to your Donation (v2) page.

And, like offline donations, if a donation is submitted through your front-facing website and the donor already has an existing profile in your database, the profile will be updated to reflect the new donation. Or, if a new donor makes a donation through your front-facing website, it will create both a new donation and a new profile for them in your People database. All credit card donations must be processed through the front-facing website.

In addition to one-time donations, on NationBuilder's donation page you can process monthly or annual recurring donations through your website. To view your recurring donations, you can go to Finances > More > Recurring plans. Then, you can filter for if a recurring donation is active, completed, or canceled.

Here are more resources for creating and editing web pages to fit your organization's needs:

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Public profiles equip supporters to customize how they show up on your website, track their peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, and more. And by adding a fundraising goal, the page transforms into a personal fundraising page.

A public profile is a page on your website displaying information about an individual supporter. If you'd like to display public profiles, you'll need to configure your website to do so. A supporter can edit their profile using the account settings page on your website. And by adding a fundraising goal, the page transforms into a personal fundraising page.

Make sure your website is displaying public profiles, you have a payment processor, and you've published a donation page. Next, ask supporters to sign into your nation and update their account settings. Then, add a "Donate" button to your Supporter Nav settings to ensure that visitors have a way to donate via your supporters' personal fundraising pages, and that those donations get credited towards their fundraising goal.

When Alex committed to a fundraising goal on his account settings page, a progress bar was added to his profile. The contribute button includes his recruiter link, ensuring donations made by his friends are credited towards his fundraising goal.

Alex can now send a link to his page to all of his friends and when they donate to the nation, he'll will be credited as the fundraiser, and the progress bar will advance.

Fundraisers are people who raise money on behalf of your organization. When you are editing or creating a donation record, you can update the fundraiser associated with the record.

There are four ways a fundraiser can be associated with a donation record:

Manage your memberships

Memberships are a way to organize supporters and provide additional benefits based on actions they’ve taken or money donated. When a supporter takes action on your website, membership can be granted. This allows you to create an automated system for creating new paid and unpaid members. Membership can also be defined within a profile or via batch update.

A membership type must be created before you can charge for membership, grant membership for taking action on your website, or add membership to a profile. Membership expiration is defined within action page settings or when adding a membership to a profile.

You can charge for memberships on NationBuilder by attaching an established membership on your Donation page. Each donation page can process one type of paid membership.

When a renewal page is defined, people will automatically receive an email when their membership is about to expire and again once it expires. This allows you to automate the membership renewal process. You can customize these emails and you can also choose not to send them.

Membership is designed to be added to a person's profile after they take action on your website. You may find it easier to edit autoresponses after creating a page to connect to the membership.

You can also gate pages to be viewable by Members only to give them exclusive access to certain content on your website.

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.

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.

Email 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.

Text blasts

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.

Automate your workflows

Workflows allow you to have an automated email series where you can have multiple emails in an automation with set time delays between each email. This allows you to enroll a person in an automation after they take a particular action, send them emails asking them to take another action, track when they take that action, and stop sending them reminder emails.

You can choose the source of your automation to be from a list or from a page action. For page-sourced automation you can choose from a Signup, Petition, Event, or Donation (V2) page. If your page is configured to send an autoresponse, the autoresponse will be displayed in the automation timeline.

Additionally, you can track the success of your automation by defining a conversion rule. You can set a specific call-to-action that you’d like supporters to take as part of the series and anyone who takes that particular action will be counted as having converted and can be optionally removed from the automation when they take that action. Being removed from the automation means that the supporter will no longer receive emails as part of that automation.

Additional Resources

If you're looking for some more strategies and guides on how to advance your fundraising program, check out these resources:

Our Support Team is here to help! Send us an email at [email protected] or connect with us via our chat which can be found in the bottom right corner of your control panel, or at

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