Table of Contents:

  1. What is NationBuilder?
  2. Set your website up for success
  3. Create your pages to move people to action
  4. Update your website's content
  5. Segment your database
  6. Manage your relationships
  7. Turn a passive social media following into active engagement
  8. Sending mass communications
  9. Automate your workflows
  10. Additional resources

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:

Set your website up for success

Your website is the first impression for your organization, so make sure you're setting up your website to display important information a visitor needs within a single click to keep generating interest & support.

To start, decide what you’d like your website to look like. Click on Website > Website name and click on Theme, then Switch to a stock theme. Here you will find the pre-built designs that are readily available for you. Once you find one you like, hover over it and click Use Theme.

Once you select Use Theme your website will be updated automatically, but don't worry all your content will still remain intact.

We also have pre-built themes and NationBuilder professionals standing by to help you with designing your website.

Under Website > Site settings > Basic you can configure the fundamental settings of your website. From this area, you can configure the default settings, edit your footer, add header and background images, add a logo or favicon, and add Google Analytics tracking.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of getting your website out to the world. There are several settings that can greatly affect the SEO of your website. Take advantage of your nation’s website features to optimize your site’s search rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing.

Create your pages to move people to action

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.

By default, an autoresponse email is automatically sent when someone takes an action on any of your action pages. This ensures the supporter taking an action with you knows that their action was submitted to your organization and that you are going to follow-up with them.

Every page on your website has social media settings, which allow you to prompt supporters to share on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, or email. The text for the default post is automatically generated using the page name, but we recommend that you edit the post. Use a clear call to action that will motivate your supporters to share the page and encourage their friends to take the same action.

The above image shows the prompt as it appears on a public website. Your supporters will have the option to share your page with their friends by email, WhastApp or to post on social media on Facebook or Twitter.

Once you create your pages, you can add the "homepage" tag to add the tagged page as a modular section on the homepage. That way your homepage will always stay up-to-date with the content you want to showcase.

Update your website's content

Once your site is set up how you'd like it, you can create and edit webpages to fit your needs.

Every page has a series of tabs that can be found in the page navigation. Each tab of the navigation serves a different purpose.

The Content tab is where you will write or add any content associated with the page in a classic WYSIWYG.

You can upload an image by going to the content area toolbar and click Insert/edit image. A pop up will appear on your screen and you can directly upload an image here by clicking Upload and selecting the image from your computer OR you can upload it from your Image list (this means you uploaded your image(s) to the Files tab already).

You can easily embed videos from sites like YouTube, and flickr just by putting the URL on its own line in the content editor. Make sure it is not bolded, italicized, or hyperlinked.

You can also store files including .pdf and .doc, on a page by uploading it to the Files section. Then, Copy link address and add the copied link to the Content WYSIWYG as a hyperlink.

Featured content sliders are moving image displays you can add to pages that can help entice visitors to other sections of your site. In order to activate the slider, you need to have more than one image. Plus, if you want to include a call-to-action, enter the text in the "Headline/Action text" field and it will be overlaid on top of the image and is clickable.

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.

Turn a passive social media following into active engagement

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.

By default, everyone who interacts with the Twitter account will be automatically imported with a Profile photo, Bio, Location, and Website if it's publicly listed on their Twitter account. You can important anyone that follows, mentions, or retweets you.

When you connect a Twitter account to a broadcaster you can post to social media from within your nation. On the dashboard of your broadcaster you can compose a post for Twitter. Posting from a broadcaster is useful when you have a single Twitter account for your organization and multiple staffers are going to be using it. You can also draft a tweet and schedule it to be published at a later date.

All of this information is being stored in your nation, so you can filter for it later. That way you can find people that are retweeting you frequently and reach out to them on Twitter and ask for their email address. This will allow you to turn passive social media interactions into an active engagement with your organization.

When your organizational Facebook page is connected to a broadcaster, your nation will pull in everyone who either likes one of your Facebook posts or comments on a post. To track their interest you can tag people who engage with your Facebook content. Your organizational Facebook page is different from your personal Facebook profile, but you will need to have administrative access to the page through your personal profile to connect it to your broadcaster.

And, just like Twitter you can post directly to Facebook from your broadcaster or schedule a post for later.

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:

How to optimize email deliverability
Understanding email consent
How to maintain a healthy email list

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 website to achieve your goals, check out these resources:

Hire a NationBuilder Professional

Purchase a readymade theme in our Theme Marketplace

How to organize a successful petition campaign

Upgrade your fundraising strategy in 6 steps

How to optimize your emails to advocate for your cause

5 Ways email automations can streamline your work

Save time as you build relationships using liquid, workflows, and custom email series

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 help@nationbuilder.com 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

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