Dan Cowen recently graduated from Syracuse University and is running for Syracuse Councilor At-Large. His campaign challenges the machine politics of upstate New York with an integrated online and offline organizing strategy.
NationBuilder has provided us with an invaluable, holistic approach for building Dan’s campaign. Above all, it is incredibly cost-effective. The platform allows us to manage everything from donor lists contributions to retweets on Twitter, and everything in-between.
I recently spoke to Andrew to get more insight on how they're running their campaign's nation. "Prompting a supporter to tweet after a giving a donation generated more leads for our campaign than any other activity," Andrew explained. "There's no better platform for running a campaign," he added.
In college, I was a mentor six months out of the year for students at Roberto Clemente High School in Humboldt Park, Chicago. I used visual art as a medium to empower and educate teenagers. I collaborated with other artists, mentoring students about art and mural painting, listening to stories about their day and the latest Lil Wayne song. I remember last Father's Day, during my final weeks at Roberto Clemente before moving to LA, one of my student's was dreading that Sunday.
Our VP of Engineering, Dan Walmsley, participated in the Ungrounded flight from British Airways last night. The 'hackathon' involved getting 100+ innovative thinkers on a plane and forcing them to chat without wifi about expanding the ranks of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals.
Though we were incredulous that someone would create an event without internet access and call it a hackathon, Dan had a good experience. When he returns from across the pond, Dan will be able to provide a fuller account of his travels. Here's his brief summary:
The flight was a chaotic, 11-hour brainstorm in which a diverse group of CEO's, teachers, techies and people of all stripes pitched in on dozens of ideas, with the highest-voted selected for further development. The outcome was not just viable plans to improve opportunities in STEM for people all over the world, but the creation of a community committed to meaningful change. My experiences at NationBuilder, because of our unique mission, were helpful in framing what's technically possible and the importance of providing opportunities to grassroots leaders. What could have been perceived as gab-fest among the Silicon Valley elite was instead a moving and inspiring experience, and it all came down to who was in the room, and expert facilitation by IDEO.
Dan was on Team Altitude and focused on encouraging women in STEM. You can see some of the 22 project ideas being pitched on the plane in this photo by Michael Smolens. With stickers, the participants cast votes on which projects should be developed further. Four projects will be presented at the G8 Innovation Conference and DNA Summit tomorrow. One of the winning projects, AdvisHer, an online mentorship community for girls, already created a website, Twitter handle and Facebook page. (Though I'm sure I'm not the only one eager to transform the community into a nation.)
So there's something you should know about me: I snap a lot of photos. Everyday, I obsessively document my surroundings, my mundane routines, my adventuring on Saturday's, my friends, and of course, lots of artwork. When I joined the Communications team at NationBuilder, I insisted we keep a visual tab on our day-to-day work life and culture of NationBuilder. So we started an Instagram.
For those other nation builders out there that are as jazzed about visual documentation as I am, did you know that you can embed an Instagram onto your website? It's true! You can embed a feed of photos from an Instagram handle or hashtag into your nation's website. In this video, Adriel Hampton walks you through the process.
Today, our VP of Engineering, Dan Walmsley, is taking off on a flight unlike any other. He's been hijacked along with more than 100 leaders and prominent thinkers who will take part in British Airways inaugural "Innovation Lab in the Sky," or as we like to call it "A Giant Geek Party in the Sky."
These founders, CEOs, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley game-changers will work on global challenges at 30,000 feet, aboard a flight from San Francisco to London with NO WIFI.
The group has been tasked with addressing the misalignment between where science and technology talent is emerging and where opportunity exists for talent to realize their potential. They will work to design a platform to inspire and connect this talent with civic and commercial opportunities, and to accelerate innovation in communities around the world.
When you log into your nation, you are taken to the control panel which is the hub of a nation's organizing efforts. You could spend hours reading about people's interactions with one another from Dashboard > Activity; but there are several other views available within the Dashboard that can be incredibly useful including followup view, finance view, calendar view and contacts view.
Growth view is the most recent addition to this section. It shows growth in key categories of your nation - recruiters, members, fundraisers, donors, volunteers, supporters - in a bar chart representing monthly new people in those categories. This monthly growth view can also be narrowed down to a particular point person in your nation. And you can compare growth from all point people in various time frames from Dashboard > Growth > Point people.
Every year since 1988, Campaigns & Elections has recognized the best and the brightest in politics by crowning a new class of Rising Stars. The inaugural class included David Axelrod, James Carville, Alex Castellanos, and Ben Ginsberg among its ranks.
We're excited that our very own Adriel Hampton has been included in this year's group of 25 remarkable leaders who are making an impact in the political community. The list includes people from across the political spectrum including democrats and republicans, as well as nonpartisan and international folks. You can read Adriel's story of how his challenging run for congress led him to his current role as NationBuilder's VP of Community.
The list also includes individuals that we've had the pleasure of working with at NationBuilder including Tom Rossmeissl of Trippi & Associates, Henri Makembe of Beekeeper Group, and Victor C.E. Richardson of BuzzMaker.
Building an email list is a key part of any organizing effort; but it's also important to regularly audit and maintain that list to ensure you're talking to people who want to hear from you. In this video, C.J. MinsterCheng talks about how to segment your email list to improve your targeting and better engage your supporters.
Some tips on how to reengage your lax email subscribers after the flip.
It’s not just California; the lack of women holding elected office is a national epidemic. Still, the statistics in the Golden State are as shocking as they are revealing. There is a tremendous gap between the number of men and women serving at the state level in California.
At Close the Gap, CA
In 2003, California ranked 6th in the country for women serving in the state legislature. Today, California ranks 19th. The number of women serving in the State Assembly has dropped by 5%, while the number of women serving in the State Senate has not changed in ten years.
Women played a larger role in electoral politics in 2012 than ever. Yet, electing qualified women seems to be a tremendous obstacle, few women dare attempt to over come. It has been said that a woman will ask five people before she will make the decision to run. A man will ask one, himself.
Close the GAP CA believes good government is equal government. Women govern differently, are more collaborative and bring a distinct range of skills and approaches to politics. The Donahue Center at St. Mary’s College was to capacity on Saturday when I attended a Close the GAP CA event. During the half-day event, women were encouraged to run or could clearly identify the ways to support the woman they know willing to toss her name in the hat. Close the Gap CA believes everyone loses when one half of the talent remains on the sidelines.
Women must mobilize on multiple fronts. But they require people to do it.
Voters today are no longer paying attention to political ads on TV; they're listening to the voices of real people. But with more than eighty percent of American's living in large metropolitan areas, constant mobility and inaccessible real estate - think secure high-rise apartments - disrupt traditional modes of voter-to-voter contact. Methods of "static" voter contact, relying on door-to-door canvass and paper literature, is no longer as effective. Instead, attention is shifting towards multiplying field organizing efforts online by targeting inaccessible areas across Facebook, Twitter, and email list-building through an engaging website and database.
Among youth voters especially, who are often more transient and mobile, Facebook sharing has been a monstrous success. According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE for short), 46 million people beween the ages 18-29 years old are eligible to vote. The Obama campaign allocated an abundance of resources by hiring seasoned startup engineers and building out the sophisticated Obama Dashboard, with hopes of capturing the attention of youth by targeting Facebook likes and direct tweets.
Thankfully, an Obama-sized war chest isn't required for this kind of organizing.
Two years ago today, I came to the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City to share my story. I was utterly terrified, but hoped to inspire all the people I respected so much to believe in the possibilities of a connected humanity. What I learned that day was that I wasn’t alone in my faith.
This morning, I’m back at PdF. No speech this time, thank God, but even more indebted than I was before. We have an incredible team and incredible partners, working around the clock to serve all of you. And today, Omidyar Network – the world’s most well-respected philanthropic investment firm – is joining us. They are leading an $8M investment, along with Andreessen Horowitz, to further our mission of making everyone a leader.
I am grateful. To our partners, to our team, to our customers. Thanks for being a part of NationBuilder.
Recently, I worked with the design team, Jesse Haff, Lilia Villa, and Jan Cavan, to create NationBuilder's first ever theme gallery. Whether you need a site for your new indie film or are a political campaign just getting started, the new theme gallery gives you the chance to preview and custom color select all fifteen of our public themes before even building out your site. Also included is our new Aware responsive theme and the ability to custom build off of any of our public themes.
Fifteen years ago, twelve ambitious nonprofit professionals got together in San Francisco in an effort to create their own change in the nonprofit community. They started Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, or YNPN for short, with a shared desire to build a leadership network in the nonprofit field.
YNPN acts as a self-sufficient career-development community, providing a space for advanced educational learning. Today the national chapter has grown to over 40,000 members, with the largest chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2011, YNPN even received national attention as one of the "10 Nonprofits to Watch in 2012."
Prior to traveling down to Naples, Florida to attend the NAACP’s Leadership 500 Summit last week, I had little familiarity with the organization. I knew it evolved out of W.E.B. Dubois’ Niagara Movement and that DuBois served for many years as a board member and editor of Crisis Magazine, the organization's official publication, still in publication today. But Following my initial immersion I was immediately impressed.
And not just with the organization, but also with the various ways NAACP is adapting to protect the civil rights of 21st century Americans. Tremendous doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of interacting with such a large delegation of leaders, mostly under 40 years of age and fiercely committed to social justice. Next generation leaders involved with NAACP have made differences in their own communities and even their own lives, as their thirst for positively influencing those around them continues to be nurtured by America’s oldest civil rights organization.
Ernest Hemingway was a man of complex character. He was an influential writer and a war correspondent; but the many movies and novels that try to make sense of his life also paint him as a boozy, self-absorbed womanizer. Whatever he was, one thing is for sure - Hemingway knew how to tell a story.
Hemingway is the originator of many familiar quotes and tidbits of life advice. Some are very meaningful ("Courage is grace under pressure."), and some more funny ("Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."), but all are insightful.
Hemingway never had the pleasure of sending his wisdom out over the Twittersphere; but that doesn't mean he wouldn't have had useful advice for how to do it. In this video, C.J. MinsterCheng discusses how five of Hemingway's quotes can be applied to online and offline community engagement, proving that his advice is still solid.