Expanded permission sets: manage control panel users

Our customizable permission sets are designed to provide complete control over access to your nation. Control panel user profiles are treated differently from other profiles for security reasons. In the past, only admins could edit control panel users or add a control panel user with a different permission set. With the addition of "manage control panel users," you can provide more people with these abilities.


Remember that the admin permission set exists automatically and has access to everything in your nation. You can create up to five additional permission sets. By default, "manage control panel users" is set to no for permission sets that currently exist.

The below table explains the difference between manage control panel users and add control panel users. 

Permission set

Add profile with same permission set

Add profile with different permission set Edit control panel user profile Reset control panel user's password*
Add control panel users yes no  no no 
Manage control panel users  yes yes  yes  no
Admins  yes  yes yes yes

*Anyone can reset her own password following the prompts on a nation's website, triggering a password reset email. Only admins can reset another person's password by editing it on a person's profile within the control panel. 

Theoretically, a person with this permission could take over another user's account. We recommend reserving this permission for your most trusted control panel users. 

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Create a digital GOTV strategy in half an hour


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Understanding support status

Every person in your database has a support status. It's either supporter, non-supporter, or prospect. Do you know how that status is set? 

Check out what is support status? for the full scoop.

In related news, you may want to read the companion article what is support level?

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GOTV: Using NationBuilder to find your most influential supporters

Political leaders have poured resources into the study of why and how people vote. And after years of research, this fact remains true: sporadic voters are much more likely to head to the polls if they think their friends and neighbors are voting, too.

Use this knowledge to your advantage by finding your top social influentials and engaging them directly to spread your GOTV message.

All campaigns want to communicate with as much of the turnout universe as possible, and in districts where many addresses can’t be canvassed (think apartment buildings full of young, educated voters) – engaging people online is essential. Start by encouraging your most socially influential supporters to spread the word. 

Here’s how to do it:

1. Go to the People section of your nation

2. Click the filter icon






3. Click “Add Criteria” & type "Supporter"

4. Click “Filter”

5.  From the "Sort By" drop down, select either "Twitter followers" or "Klout"

Once you sort and rank supporters by social influence, it’s easy to figure out who you need to reach out to first. Pro tip: It might also be useful to sort people by city and target geographic regions separately. 

Let your organizer know if you have any questions.

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ICYMI: New NationBuilder strategy HOWTOs

We've got a bunch of new HOWTOs that highlight a variety of strategies you can use while building and growing your nation. Check 'em out!

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Grassroots advocacy for your nation

Grassroots advocacy encourages people to send individual messages directly to decision-makers. An app can help you streamline the process and track actions in your nation. More deets in our grassroots advocacy apps HOWTO.

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Faster, error-free data entry with scannable sheets

In the lead up to election day, campaign field offices are susceptible to an all-too-common syndrome known as DEWD - Data Entry While Drunk. DEWD can result in bad data quality, high error rates, and in some cases, 50% minus 1 on election day. :(

You can prevent DEWD by using the new NationBuilder scannable walk+call sheets. It ensures painless and accurate data capture, works with nearly every scanner, and doesn’t require you to find tablets with wireless connections for all your volunteers.

Watch how it works in this fun video from our Product Manager, Jason Meer.

We are releasing scannable sheets in beta immediately, and would love your feedback. Note that walk and call sheets can be tied directly to surveys – which can assign point people, trigger followups, and tag supporters based on survey results. That means your entire workflow can be automated off a piece of paper. Check out the HOWTO for more details.

Kicking back after a long day in the field is a time-honored campaign tradition, but don’t be that DEWD. Let the computers tabulate your canvasses and phone banks for you.

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Setting up a phone bank

Setting up a phone bank run by volunteers and staffers can be a vital tool for getting your community to take action. Whether it’s a follow-up to direct mail, a fundraising drive, or a GOTV operation, a phone bank can help you connect to your community using genuine 1-on-1 conversations.

In this new HOWTO, learn how to use NationBuilder to organize a phone bank.

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How to build a nation, Scotland edition

Yes or no

In February 2011, a few months before Jesse and I were set to release NationBuilder, I received an email from a guy named Kirk Torrance. He had gotten wind of what we were up to and wanted to chat about his plan for the Scottish National Party. We connected on Skype and he told me that the new digital infrastructure they had been building for over a year was nowhere near ready, and time was running out. Their election was in 3 months and they were down by 15 points in the polls. Could NationBuilder help?

Ha! Sorry, no way... NationBuilder was still very much in alpha, it wasn’t even ready for the U.S., definitely not Scotland. But Kirk was persistent, so I agreed to do a demo for his team, completely convinced that they would see how buggy it was and leave me alone.

A few days later, Kirk skyped me and said he had gotten the whole team on board. NBD. I couldn’t believe it... and I couldn’t say no. We talked about the logistics and at the end of our conversation he said something that I will never forget. “Jim, I think NationBuilder is going to be the thing that gets us what you got 250 years ago.”

It took me a few seconds to realize what he meant.

Less than 3 months later, the SNP won a historic landslide election, securing a majority in the Scottish Parliament. They vowed to hold a referendum on declaring independence. All of Europe was stunned.

Now, two and a half years later, that day has arrived. Tomorrow, the polls will open and while the whole world watches, Scotland will get to choose. No bombs, no blood shed, just a simple yes or no vote.

Unlike 3 years ago, today, much of the UK political world uses NationBuilder, and they are organizing get-out-the-vote efforts right now on both sides of the independence referendum. But whichever side you are on, this is an undeniably beautiful moment for democracy. Every 16-year-old in Scotland will grow up having had the opportunity to make this historic decision themselves...and their concept of what is possible in the world is now radically different.

And so is ours.

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Surveys and survey pages

If you use surveys regularly, you probably noticed a recent change in their design. Surveys are now separate from survey pages. 

A couple of key changes:

  • a particular survey page can be used to display different surveys (one at a time)
  • responding to a multiple choice or yes/no question can trigger a workflow

Curious about these new features? Details can be found in the creating a survey HOWTO.

Stay tuned for more survey news. With the changes we're developing, they just may become the backbone of your organizing efforts...

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Maps now do clustering, auto-turfing and real-time filtering

It's almost election season, which is an exciting time for us at NationBuilder. Please enjoy these upgrades to map view and the turf cutter this Labor Day weekend!

  • Clustering. When there are too many points on the map to make sense of things, they now cluster together.
  • Auto-turfing. Those clusters? Turn on the turf cutter and they instantly become your default turfs. Want to start from a clean map? Just hit the clear button.
  • Real-time filtering. If you change your filter while cutting, your turfs will dynamically change their counts with no page reload.

Learn more in our map view and turf cutting HOWTO.

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Fight the spam!

NationBuilder has always allowed nations to self-moderate using community rules. But sometimes the content you want to get rid of is clearly just spam – and while NationBuilder does a lot of magic to prevent spam from ever reaching your nation, it's not as perfect when there are actual human beings (and not robots) doing the spamming.

That's why it's now possible to report spam on five types of user content:

  • blog posts
  • events
  • suggestions
  • comments 
  • and incoming emails

If you notice spam in your dashboard, click on the drop down next to the activity and select Report spam. This will flag the content and permanently remove it from your nation.

For more information on how to deal with spam, please read the HOWTO. If you believe your nation is under attack from spammers, please contact your organizer or email us for immediate assistance.

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Huge demand for people with NationBuilder skills

The infrastructure for communities isn’t just about technology -- it’s about people. Duh!

And we love connecting our customers to people who know how to use NationBuilder well.

That’s why we have three certification programs to identify the folks with the key skills needed to build nations – because one thing I know for certain is that none of us can do it alone. Today, certified organizers, designers, and developers around the world are getting jobs and building huge businesses (!!) to help everyone in the world do the thing they were meant to do.

It’s kind of amazing, and you can be part of it, too. Here are three ways to join the NationBuilder community, right now:

Certified NationBuilder Experts: This isn’t just for consultants. Every organizer should be certified, because it means they have mastered NationBuilder and have a deep understanding of how to bring communities together. It will look great on your resume, it’s free, and only takes an afternoon to complete.


Certified NationBuilder Architects: Designers using NationBuilder don’t spend weeks integrating systems for each new client. They spend their time doing what they love––designing––because everything is already in one place. Less time wrestling with tech means you can offer better service faster, and win more clients.

Certified NationBuilder Developers: You built an amazing app, but is anyone using it? Integrating with NationBuilder opens up a huge new customer base. And if you’re a developer who wants to work with leaders all over the world, getting certified will connect you to clients who can really use your expertise.


If you’re on Linkedin, be sure to add your certification to your profile and add NationBuilder as a skill.  And if you’ve received your certification in the mail, please post a picture of yourself with it on Twitter or Instagram, and tag it with #nationbuilder so we can brag about you!

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Using digital to get to know your people

Paul_Simpson.jpgPaul Simpson leads the digital practice at the UK's foremost independent public affairs company, Lexington Communications. He uses NationBuilder for all of his client's communication needs, and in today's post, offers up his thoughts on the evolution of public affairs and communication strategy. Learn more about Lexington Communications and others in the public affairs community

NationBuilder is designed to help people organize a community around whatever it is they want to do. But, you can’t build community without telling your story, and many organizations have no idea where to start. That’s where good communications steps up—it helps people, organizations, companies, and brands authentically tell their story, and deliver that message to the people who care about what they’re doing. 

But, the communications strategies we used two years ago are old news. Is your press release pulling buzzwords from the marketing lexicon of days past? If the answer is yes, there’s a strong chance your audience will never hear your story – because they’ve already scrolled past it, clicked on something else, or changed the channel.

While the traditional methods are still important, nothing can beat digital for building a relationship. I'm not saying traditional channels don't have a place, because they do – for example, people are still listening to the radio decades after the TV came along. It is just that digital is often more effective in reaching people faster. The key is using digital to get to know your people and build real relationships, so you can engage them further.

Read more
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August Experts Roundup!

experts-ribbon-new-logo.pngWe added some insanely talented folks to the Expert directory this month. Congrats, everyone! 

Jose Iriarte has a background in international relations and recently joined forces with Tectonica. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and a conversational German, French, and Japanese speaker.

After more than a decade working with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, Joe Newlin founded vsbly.org, a nonprofit and advocacy consulting firm. He has led community engagement campaigns in the LA area and spent the early part of his career at consumer watchdog. 

Christopher Breene is a DC based progressive political activist ready to provide in-person services for customers across the east coast. For more info, check out Millenial Might.

Aj Valenzuela is a progressive campaign operative relatively well connected in Ventura and Santa Barbara politics. 

A former Republican party chairman, Tom Swatzel has a long history of issue advocacy work in NC. He is currently focused on issue campaigns, candidates, and media relations, and works exclusively with conservative causes and candidates. More info at Swatzel Strategies.

With a background in acting and real estate, Joel Doerfel is a great candidate for brands, businesses, and other groups looking to adopt NationBuilder.

Calum Handforth is a London-based expert focusing on international development, charities, and nonprofits. He has a masters degree in international development and most recently started work on Christian Wolmar's campaign for mayor of London.

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein is eager to help medium sized campaigns and nonprofits – the sort of groups who are large enough to have staff, but may not be making the most use of their nation. Check out Spitzer-Rubenstein Strategies.

Francophone customers, rejoice! Lyne Robichaud is a social media and online presence consultant based in Quebec. She is fluent in both French and English.

Vanessa Byrem-Tangy is another great addition to the Expert + Architect firm, Mosaic Strategies – a full-service agency ideal for larger customers looking to carry out complex migrations. 

Marcy Rye and Katy McCreery are resident Experts at Wire Media, a local nonprofit and business consulting firm with an emphasis of socially responsible organizations. 

Johannes Fischer is a Tennessee-based part-time political operative and full-time student currently working on Jim Cooper's congressional campaign.

Jhanixi Arellano is a system engineer and our first Venezuelan Expert. She generally works with non-profits and other non-political clients through Kluge.

Lupe Chavez is an LA local eager to gain experience working directly with customers. View his work at Nation Launcher.

To view our entire list of certified NationBuilder Experts, check out the directory

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