7 ways nonprofit leaders are heating things up this summer

summer_headstand.jpgSummer can be a great time to relax and rest up for the busy season. But don't be fooled —nonprofit leaders know there is still a ton that can be done to set your organization up for success.  

We talked to a handful of nonprofit leaders about how they're upping their game this summer, and compiled their insights into these 7 tips for summer productivity!

1. Celebrate your wins... and your losses.

A lot of things are winding down when summer rolls around, so take stock of how it all went. Reflect on your successes and be honest about what went wrong. It’s ok to #failfast, and the smartest nonprofits know summer is a great time to lay the groundwork for even bigger future wins.

“Summer is the time when our grassroots leaders are taking a step back to look at what went well and what could have improved over the last year. It’s time to reset, recharge, and take stock of what investments need to be made to ensure positive future outcomes.” — Monika Johnson @unausa

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July 4th faceoff: Paul Revere versus the other guy

This Independence Day, be the one at the cookout with all the best trivia. Revere-vs-Dawes-v5.jpg

Paul Revere - community organizer

Every schoolchild in America is taught the story of Paul Revere, the blacksmith who alerted the Massachusetts countryside that the British army was planning an invasion. What is less well known, though, is the reason for his great success: he had organized a powerful community all across the state.

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Find the people who love your emails

Sometimes it’s the little things that are the most exciting. We’ve added four new filter criteria that will help you understand how your people are engaging with your email campaigns. The criteria are:

  • Opened an email blast from a broadcaster
  • Clicked an email blast from a broadcaster
  • Opened specific email blasts
  • Clicked specific email blasts
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Five smart websites created with NationBuilder

People put a lot of time and resources into building a website that’s beautiful, but a website that values vanity over function hardly serves it’s purpose. Is your website more that just a pretty face?

Smart websites stand out from the crowd because they:

  • are responsive (look good on desktop, mobile & iPad)
  • provide clarity (About, Contact Info, etc)
  • make engagement easy (clear calls to action, multiple levels of engagement, incentivize participation)
  • feel personal (social sign in, personalized supporter hub)

To give you an idea of what’s possible, I’ve rounded up five websites created with NationBuilder that serve up both beauty and brains. 

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4 ways NationBuilder is organizing around Netroots

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” 

That quote is attributed to Margaret Mead, and it speaks to me because organizing is a huge part of what I’m about. It’s also one of the main pillars of my career, along with technology, and driving change within the legal immigration system.

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16 political strategies & tools you want to know about

Reporters and political strategists are always looking for the next big game changer. But in reality, most of the changes that enable us to be more effective are subtle-yet-crucial advances – almost hidden, even to experts.

Mike Moschella is the founder of New Leaders Council, former Political Director for the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy, and current NationBuilder Vice President.

In this guide, he presents 16 of these advanced strategies and tactics that will turn you into a pro.




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5 resources every content creator needs

From the time we wake up to the moment our heads hit the pillow, we’re bombarded with content. So it's no surprise that in 2015, the average person spends less than eight seconds looking at any given piece.



If you’re like me and tasked with creating compelling content for an organization, a brand, or a campaign, the 8 second rule is a good thing to keep in mind.

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The donation page HOWTO has been revamped

The NationBuilder Product Education team has been hard at work making the Support site easier to navigate.

You may have noticed that we are updating some of our HOWTOs, including "How to create a donation page." It now includes fresh videos (like the one below), new images and content that's simple to digest so NationBuilder customers can spend less time setting up their digital fundraising operation, and more time actually doing the things that matter.


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Our new nonprofit guide is now available!

The NationBuilder team is made of organizers who have years and years of experience growing nonprofit communities. Their collective knowledge is pretty impressive: Everything from how to create a smart engagement plan and why year-round giving matters to ideas for leveraging text messaging and Twitter.

So we put their ideas into one comprehensive guide. Inside, you'll find 9 things you can start doing today to help you motivate supporters to take action at your nonprofit. 

Download the nonprofit marketing guide today.

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Why the latest marketing trends point to organizing

Imagine this. You’ve devoted 60% of your marketing budget to developing a flashy new ad campaign. When it finally launches, barely anyone shows up. Unfortunately this happens more often than we’d like to admit. Reaching new audiences is harder than it used to be.


People are demanding higher levels of authenticitypersonalization, and peer validation. You’ve probably heard the argument that 92% of Americans trust friend referrals over any other form of marketing. Peer referrals have been important for a long time, yet most marketers are still spending millions of dollars trying to reach new customers through advertising.

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NationBuilder is prepared for PayPal’s security upgrade.

PayPal recently sent an email to all their customers informing them of an industry wide update to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). We wanted to reassure anyone who uses PayPal with NationBuilder that we are fully prepared for these changes.

Since this is an industry wide change, we took appropriate measures a while back. We are currently using SHA-256 encryption, and Verisign G5 which makes us fully compliant with PayPal's changes.

If you’ve got any more questions or concerns please contact your organizer or email help@nationbuilder.com.

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NationBuilder's first book

Some of you know that I have a pretty crazy story. Nineteen years ago, someone important to me asked me to write a book about my life... and it took a loooong time, but it is finally here. I’m excited to announce that The Internet is My Religion is coming out Sunday, July 12th.

The Internet is My Religion

My book is just the first of many that NationBuilder will publish, both digitally and in print. Yes, we build software to help leaders connect humanity, but what we’ve learned is that we have to do more. A new kind of leadership requires new stories. They’re out there, and we’re going to find them and bring them to you.

Our hope is that our books aren’t just great stories, but are a really good excuse to get together, share with each other, and build your community. If you’re interested in hosting an event around my book, sign up here.

I’m excited about all this, but am also nervous at the moment because I’m at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York, and in a few hours will be doing a follow-up speech to the one I gave there four years ago. You can watch it live at 12:45pm ET.

And if you are in NYC, we’re having a big book announcement party tonight at The Riverside Church. Please come and say hi!


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Three ways to build relationships using NationBuilder filters

Relationships are the foundation of your community, and your database is the record of these relationships. Because of this, your database shouldn’t be considered a static list: it’s a dynamic relationship-building tool.

Email lists and spreadsheets can often demand more focus than the people on them, and this slip in focus ends up burning relationships with supporters. On the other hand, an organization that is able to personalize, express gratitude, and demonstrate trust is better prepared to solidify its relationships and expand its influence.


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Updates from our Product Director

benhandzo.jpgNormally I send out NationBuilder product updates, but I have been lax in my duties lately, even though a lot is happening (or maybe because so much is happening)!

So Ben Handzo, our Product Director, is going to take over sending updates about new features and improvements. Before joining NationBuilder nearly two years ago, Ben worked at nonprofits, and as a teacher, artist, and designer.

What to expect
These updates will cover big news, like new feature additions, but also small tidbits of functionality that were recently added and you may have missed, like:

  • Did you know that you can auto-tag everyone who meets a given filter criteria?
  • When you log contacts for people as being on behalf of their organization, those contacts will show up in the activity stream on that organization's profile. 
  • We recently updated our support docs on overwriting data and how support status works.

Say hi to Ben. He's @benzoh on Twitter.

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Our customers do some amazing stuff

See what a few of our customers have been up to:

Common Sense Action is a millennial-run group that's using NationBuilder to organize across the country and get more people registered to vote.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC, uses NationBuilder to communicate more effectively with all of its members, who are working to promote the Peace Corps. 

View more stories on our case studies page!

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