Riding along on the Los Angeles river bike path - my favorite place to bike in the city - I'm always fascinated by the views of nature integrated into the urban landscape. The river was made into a concrete flood channel in the 1930's but efforts to restore it to it's natural state started in the 1980's.
Thanks to the work of organizations like Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and the LA River Revitalization Corp (LA River Corp), the river is slowly regaining it's natural characteristics. In 2010 it was declared a navigable waterway by the EPA and this Memorial Day a pilot recreation zone was opened to the public. Now that the river is officially open for business, these organizations are working to turn this underutilized resource into a thriving public and recreational space.
This past weekend, a brave group of people came to NationBuilder HQ in downtown LA for our first ever NationBuilder Adventure – a unique mashup of training, storytelling, and community organizing designed to help folks become certified NationBuilder experts.
Attendees came from a wide range of backgrounds, so their plans for using NationBuilder varied greatly. According to Ria Fay-Berquist of Prizefight Films, the diversity of participants only enriched the learning experience. “It was a really dynamic group with a lot of different perspectives and wanting to use NationBuilder for very different things. This allowed us to get a more comprehensive view of what the system is capable of.”
The 11th floor of LA Mart is home to hidden hallways of creative spaces. But among the most unique is LA Makerspace, a hackspace dedicated to tech education for youth and adults. Director of LA Makerspace, Tara Tiger Brown, is a full-time mom, web developer, and tech guru. She's filled the space with some serious technology - 3-D printing, coding and laser cutting. With a great creative space and cool DIY machines, LA Makerspace is creating a community where people of all ages collaborate and learn how to bring their ideas to life.
In this clip from Kevin Rose's Foundation video series, NationBuilder CEO Jim Gilliam answers a question from the audience about how to foster big world-changing ideas in Silicon Valley instead of Instagram and Pinterest clones.
On Friday, organizer Sri Kavuru spoke at Bridge the Gap Technology conference on the panel "Building a Community for Social Change" with Dove Pressnall of Survivors' Truths.
Survivors' Truths creates media projects to support the recovery of groups affected by violence and discrimination. They inspire people around the world to create change through the power of personal storytelling over social media. At Bridge the Gap, Dove discussed the way she uses NationBuilder to integrate Survivors' Truths' once-fragmented website, social media accounts, and CRM database.
"The potential for NationBuilder as an amazing tool is there for you. It's all about having everything in one place: you can segment your emails lists, you can tweet directly to your supporters, and even set up accounts for your volunteers." Thanks for the love, Dove!
Check out the panel discussion from Friday for a full taste of social media best practices.
Lilia Villa is NationBuilder's Email Delivery Manager.
Designing an email template is not like building for the web. Each email provider receiving your messages has their own set of HTML standards and idiosyncrasies that tend to be behind the times. Knowing how to build an email template so that you meet the requirements of all of them and get past their spam filters can be a project.
NationBuilder comes equipped with a nice set of optimized email themes to choose from, but also gives you complete freedom to customize your email template or build one entirely from scratch.
Below are a few tips to optimize your custom email themes for best deliverability.
The food revolution to keep cooking skills alive is being celebrated today, May 17. This is the second annual day, with events occurring around the world. From the Food Revolution Day website:
It's a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources.
Food Revolution Day is open to any individual, school, business and organisation that wants to take part in hosting or attending activities in their local area on 17 May.
Inspired by Jamie Oliver's passion for engaging communities in cooking and food knowledge, over a thousand events are planned. The NationBuilder staff is excited to be a part of this day: we're having a smoothie party this morning, which will give us time to share tips on incorporating cooking and healthy eating into a hectic day.
For any campaign, business, nonprofit, or creative venture it's important to keep in contact with your most vocal supporters. With mailboxes and virtual phone numbers, NationBuilder makes it easy for you by routing your calls and emails to just the right person.
Listening is crucial. So say goodbye to noreply@ emails by setting up mailboxes in your nation. NationBuilder Mailboxes help create custom workflows with any email system. General email address like info@, jobs@, and volunteer@ can be managed by multiple staff members from within NationBuilder. In this video C.J. walks you through how to set it up mailboxes:
Last week, I attended the Center for Nonprofit Management’s 501(c)onference. I enjoyed meeting others who care about their communities and are interested in using organizing strategies to achieve their mission. Putting people first was the overall theme of the conference. This is actually at the core of what we're doing at NationBuilder so the synergy was amazing.
How to put people first
Here are my takeaways from the conference on how you can put people first in your organization:
The people connected to your organization create your power - even more than money!
Find people who are passionate about your cause and utilize that passion.
If the funding for your nonprofit grows, first invest in your current employees. By helping them grow, you’ll reinforce their passion for your cause and help your organization move forward. Long-term, this is a more sustainable model than hiring “senior” employees to oversee new projects.
Ask a large for-profit organization if you can join them for a corporate coaching day. Leadership and management skills are transferable between sectors.
Look for organizing trainings that are available for free online.
Consider investing in capacity-building trainings at your organization. Trainings can provide a safe-space where employees feel free to brainstorm innovative ideas that can help your nonprofit reach the next level of effectiveness and engagement.
Custom fields have long been one of your most requested features, particularly from larger organizations who want to use NationBuilder to unify their existing mess of databases, spreadsheets and websites into one platform.
I probably don't even need to explain what custom fields are, because it's such a common feature in other web applications. Here's a video showing how it works in NationBuilder.
Custom fields are part of our Enterprise edition, which also includes subnations.
Subnations allow you to give chapters, groups or others affiliated with your nation their own nation with all the organizing power of NationBuilder, while still capturing the basic information about the supporters they bring in.
To try out the Enterprise edition, just drop us an email or contact your point person.
You can create dozens of different types of pages on your nation's website, including blogs, petitions, donation pages, and volunteer sign up forms. How do you hook people into your organization so they'll interact with all of those community-building features? Using compelling images and clear copy is key.
In this clip from a recent episode of NationBuilder Live, VP of Community Adriel Hampton walks through the Australian Road Trip to End Poverty website to show how the combination of compelling images and a clear call to action encourage engagement.