Event planning
Everything you need to know about planning your events on NationBuilder
Erika Avellaneda Celis avatar
Written by Erika Avellaneda Celis
Updated over a week ago

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:

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

Planning your events

With NationBuilder, you can host events for community events, parties, etc. You're able to accept RSVPs, sell tickets, track attendance, host virtual events, and more. Plus, you can display all events in your nation on a calendar page.

Setting up an event

Usually, you’ll want to create an event within a calendar but you can also set up a standalone event. There's a bunch of settings that you can customize to help make your event match your outcome such as:

  • Accept RSVPs

  • Allows guests +1

  • Show who RSVP'd

  • Ask to sign up for shifts

  • Ask for volunteers

  • Don't list this event on the website

User-submitted events

You can choose whether or not to allow people to add their own events to the calendar. This allows your supporters to self-organize with those within their community and keep building on the momentum you've worked hard to create. Plus, you have the option to moderate user-submitted content should you so choose.

Managing RSVPs & Attendees

In NationBuilder, you can track anyone that RSVPs or attends your event. RSVPs will be tracked automatically which you can filter for in the future, and as long as you mark the appropriate RSVP as attending you will be able to filter for this as well.

Under Event settings > Advanced you are able to add a person to a path, assign membership, and add tags to any person who has either RSVPed or attended. You may also assign a point person to anyone who RSVPs, if a point person does not already exist for that person’s profile.

Then, you'll be able to use RSVP or attendee filters for reminder and follow-up emails, which you could schedule to be sent as part of your event creation workflow.

Hosting a Virtual Event

Our team has put together a guide to boosting your online fundraising with a digital event and a video on how to optimize digital events when meeting in person is not possible.

To make sure your NationBuilder virtual event is set up for success there are a few tweaks to the event settings you'll want to make.

To make your NationBuilder event digital you'll need to update the Event settings > Basics > Venue name to say 'webinar' or, 'online'. You can also put a note that the webinar link will be included in the event auto-response when someone RSVPs.

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 run your events on NationBuilder, check out these resources:

Our Support team is here to help! Our Customer Support Team can be reached via email at [email protected] or via our chat feature directly from your control panel or at https://nationbuilder.com/support

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