Like many lifelong organizers, I got my start working on political campaigns. What started as helping a student get elected to the local city council in college quickly accelerated into managing Congressional races. In the winner-take-all environment of US politics, all good campaign strategists are constantly on the lookout for an advantage they can grab.
So, to my fellow campaign hacks of all levels, here's a roadmap to out-organizing your competition with features only found in NationBuilder.
Here are the first 5. Tune in next week for the second batch.
Over the last month, Jim, Emily and Henry have been in the UK attending conferences, chatting with the media, and doing trainings to get the Brits ready for elections in the spring.
Henry made new friends at the Trade Union Congress in Bournemouth, Emily trained folks at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow and at the Labour Conference in Brighton. The tour ended with the the Conservative Party Conference, a four day event in Manchester.
After trying to get to London without a valid passport, Jim appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics. He spoke with Andrew Neil about how political parties in the UK are harnessing the power of social media and storytelling to organize campaigns from the ground up, building communities online to mobilize for offline organizing. Check out the clip:
During his two day endurance test of a visit, Jim also kicked up a few other stories:
NationBuilder was always meant to be a platform – something other developers could build apps on like Facebook, Windows or the iPhone. For the past few years, we have been working to make this a reality.
Ryan Morgan is a Partner at Veracity Media where he develops cutting edge tools and websites to help campaigns and nonprofits.
Voters look to community leaders - particularly in smaller elections - for guidance on which candidates to support. Local endorsements can be the difference between winning and losing a tight race, so it’s important to showcase them. That’s why one of the most useful NationBuilder features for political campaigns or non-profits is the endorsement tool. In-district voters, community leaders, activists, and organizations can publicly pledge their support. These endorsers are added to a list, and over the course of a campaign the list grows. At Veracity, we've created an endorsement map to visualize these supporters.
Our approach was to create a dynamically-updating endorsement map displaying the entirety of a nation's endorsements. Your supporters can add their information and instantly see their endorsement on the map. Our tool clusters endorsements together so visitors can see all the endorsements in a specific area. It's a great way to graphically demonstrate your support.
You can also set featured endorsements that have their own special map icon, and even show custom content, like a video or image, in the individual endorsement popups.
If you'd like to talk about using our endorsement map for your campaign or organization, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can tweak it to fit anywhere on your site, set custom map icons, use your existing list of endorsements (filtered to any level of privacy you'd like), and more.
Whether you're running for your local school board or working on a campaign for state governor, direct and ongoing dialogue and engagement with your supporters is key to success. We created followups to make communicating with supporters an integrated part of the workflow of everyone on the campaign - from staffers to interns and even volunteers.
Having customization is extremely valuable for organizing. For example, you can match your campaign’s fundraising program to specific contact types. It allows for each member of your staff to know when and why they need to follow up with each of their assigned contacts in your nation.
The party conference season kicked off this week in the United Kingdom and we're really excited to take part in it this year. From Bournemouth to Glasgow to Brighton and Manchester, Henry and I will be traversing the UK to attend several of the conferences.
We're really looking forward to meeting many of our customers and other folks who want to learn more about NationBuilder. With the UK national elections a short 20 months away, we’ll be showing activists and attendees how NationBuilder can help them take their digital ground game to the next level.
If you're going to one of these conferences, we'd love to meet up with you! Here's where you can find us:
The Trade Union Congress, Bournemouth - September 8-11
Meet up with Henry Mackintosh if you are there! Click here to RSVP and he will follow up to set a time to meet.
Many of our political customers in Europe are having their conferences this month, so last night I headed to LAX to hop on a red eye to London. It wasn’t until I was on the shuttle from parking lot C that I realized my passport had expired. Which is how I ended up at the Passport Agency office at the State Department in Westwood early this morning.
Today is 9/11. After walking past the Homeland Security van parked outside, through the metal detectors, and into the DMV-style waiting room, I sat down to wait for my number to be called. Instead of numbers, I heard names. One name after another coming from the tiny TV set. And then at 7:28 am, a minute of silence. The exact moment, twelve years ago, that the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our customers and national security in the last week since the horrifying revelations that, in an effort to spy on potential terrorists, elements of the intelligence community in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have engineered backdoors into core encryption standards relied upon by every internet user.
These encryption standards are the bedrock of internet security, and the basis of the public’s trust in the internet. Undermining this trust doesn’t just put secure bank transactions or the free flow of commerce at risk. It puts the global spread of democracy at risk -- a far more important long-term national security objective than catching a few terrorists.
United Voice of Queensland Big Steps campaign rally
Digital organizing is the future of union organizing. Amplifying your union's online voice around current issue-based or political campaigns is how middle class workers create change. We've seen it work. Let me give you a few examples.
In March, Australian union United Voice of Queensland organized thousands of childcare workers to win the largest funding increase in early childhood educators’ wages in history. By running a tight field operation, they were able to collect petitions, parent pledges of support, and track volunteer recruitment.
"We used NationBuilder to mobilize more than 12,000 of our supporters and 5,000 members to lobby politicians, both online and in the community. The petitions and social media integration really helped us win," said Steven Miles, the Coordinator of Comprehensive Campaigns at United Voice Queensland.
Labor councils such as the Sacramento CLC are organizing member events and running successful voter registration campaigns. During the 2012 election, they were able to recruit over 800 volunteers to canvass homes, phone bank, and register voters both online and in the field.
"We have several thousand people in our NationBuilder database. Whether it's for election day canvassing or our upcoming labor day BBQ, being able to pull a list of folks tagged as volunteers is an excellent way to do a quick call to action," said Teresa Villasenor, Office and Events Manager at Sacramento CLC.
The manual labor and time associated with administrative activities -- whether it be data entry, email blasting, or donation upkeep -- can be exhausting. It requires numbers of people and hours of planning to make one event a success. With NationBuilder you can aggregate all administrative activities, including social media outreach and online engagement to one central location, making face-to-face contact and on-the-ground mobilization so much easier.
NationBuilder is a robust and powerful tool. There's so much more an organization or political campaign can do when they don't have to use different tools to segment lists, send emails, track donations, and manage social media. Here's how unions can get the most out of NationBuilder:
NationBuilder has customers everywhere. We cover politics, back room bars, restaurants, bridges and activists. As an organizer, I get sent to some very interesting conferences. I've been at NationBuilder for 3 months now and am so excited to attend my first event with NationBuilder: Magic Market Week in Las Vegas.
Let me tell you a bit more about why I'm going and how NationBuilder's social media integration, text blasting, and all-in-one email magic can help your brand soar.
We all have a story to tell. Let me give you a little of mine: When I was 18, I graduated from high school and didn't know where to go from there. I knew college wasn't for me quite yet and I knew working as a waitress and staying in Tulsa, Oklahoma wasn't the right move either. I was inspired and motivated, but didn't know where to direct my energy.
This was in 2007. That February, Obama had just broken into the national spotlight announcing his run for presidency. I was curious, so I signed up to volunteer in Chicago. I was fairly active in politics growing up. My father was an elected official for a brief period of time. I had an idea of how politics worked. When I joined the Obama campaign, I didn't really know what I was getting into, other than that I was embarking on an adventure. During my first week, I quickly learned the ropes of a national campaign but also realized there was more to it: we had to tell our story. I didn't even know I had one worth mentioning.
The "story of self" has been used for many years for persuasion, organizing and content creation. But where did it come from?
Every generation has a unique identity. Or so marketers who make a living crafting unique selling points for each generation say.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported on a study from Achieve Guidance called the 2013 Millennial Impact Report. It's available as a free PDF download and is chock-full of good advice. But don't expect these tactics to only attract people under 35. The advice ranges from website upkeep to email design to volunteer management and donor cultivation. There's no reason that these modern digital organizing best practices can only be applied to the youngest adult generation.
The key theme of the report is this: focus your message how your organization impacts the world rather than how you make the sausage. People are far more interested in movements than they are in organizations. The study found that people prefer to give money on a secure website and are open to making small, recurring donations if they understand how their money will be used - and in particular who it will impact.
Translating the best practices highlighted in the report, here are 9 ways to attract people to your nation.
In a strange twist to local politics, men were elected to fill fourteen city council seats and all three city-wide positions in Los Angeles. One seat was left unoccupied after the May municipal elections. In the primary to replace Councilmember Tony Cardenas, who was elected to the U.S. Congress, no one received a majority of the vote. Therefore, a run-off was held between the top two candidates, Cindy Montañez and Nury Martinez.
Though I've never lived in that city council district, I went to Van Nuys High School, which is located within its boundaries. News reports leading up to the special election last week, noted the odd fact that regardless of who won the election, the new council member would be the only female officeholder in the city. Both campaigns used NationBuilder as part of their campaign organizing efforts.
Last weekend, I attended BlogHer13 to meet fellow lady bloggers from around the world. There were mom bloggers, fashion bloggers, life style bloggers, and so many more. I wanted to know more about this community: who ARE the most influential bloggers? How many of these women consider themselves tech savvy? What tools are they using to engage their communities?
I never knew so much about the niche communities within the blogging world but quickly realized a uniting factor: these women have so much to share. And I wanted to listen. So during the weekend, I spoke to a variety of different women to hear out their stories and their passions.
BlogHer reminded me that these women are running some of the most powerful and inspirational communities on the internet.