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Helping code the future of South LA teens with URBAN TxT

Arion teaching teens and parents at URBAN TxT

Last Saturday, I spent the day with URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT), a revolutionary nonprofit in South Los Angeles that I've been volunteering with since April. URBAN TxT uses coding as a leadership development tool, and more importantly, encourages and inspires young men of color to be role models and catalysts of change in their communities.

Over the summer, I served as a coach for URBAN TxT's coding academy. For this event, I enlisted Arion, one of NationBuilder's best developers, to help me introduce the kids to our Community Organizing System, and to teach their parents some basic HTML skills. 

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Jim Gilliam talks "bravery" at Creative Mornings LA

On November 8th at 7:30am, dozens of young creatives lined up outside Flagship's Kim Sing Theatre on the edge of Downtown LA to attend Creative Mornings, LA - a showcase of what makes Los Angeles one of the most creative and exciting cities in the world.  Host John Setzen asked NationBuilder Founder & CEO, Jim Gilliam, to speak about bravery. 

Check out his talk here:

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Digital organizing for restaurant owners: How to build a community of regulars

Restaurant.jpgThink about your favorite restaurant. What draws you to the place?

Mine is a humble downtown Los Angeles restaurant, Maccheroni Republic. The chef there turns out a Bolognese that braises in my mind when I haven’t had it for a few weeks. But what really keeps me going back is the owner, Jean Louis, who likes to stop by the tables and pull up a chair. One night, as my wife and I lingered past closing, he sat with us while we told him about the gelato shop we’re opening a few blocks away. He gave us an hour’s worth of food business wisdom.

The cooking at Jean Louis’ place won over our palates. His personal connection to us locked in our loyalty.

At NationBuilder, we understand the key ingredient to success in the restaurant business - honest, real relationships with a community of people. Organizers create movements by identifying early supporters, moving them up the ladder of engagement, and ultimately turning them into evangelists for a cause. NationBuilder gives food business owners the digital tools to do the same thing with their customers.

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Did you know NationBuilder runs on NationBuilder?

community-creation-model002.jpgAt NationBuilder we’re building the infrastructure for everyone to have the opportunity to create what they were meant to create. We know what it takes to grow a community because we’re doing it too. And we’re not just building the infrastructure, we’re actually using it to operate our own company. Yup—NationBuilder runs on NationBuilder.  

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NationBuilder Experts shake up politics in Marseille

Patrick Mennucci
Patrick Mennucci

In recent years, the economic crisis in Europe accelerated a fiscal, social, and geographical divide in the French city of Marseille. Patrick Mennucci, a left-wing candidate native to the city, made waves in early November after advancing to the second round of voting only 300 votes ahead of the third candidate—a member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet. When you consider the national notoriety and greater access to media Mennucci was up against, his victory over the third candidate is nothing short of remarkable. The team at La Netscouade attributes the win to more effective field organizing and mobilization strategy using NationBuilder features and analytics.

Mennucci's biggest opponent in March is incumbent Jean-Claude Gaudin, a member of the right-wing conservative party—UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire)—the party of former President Sarkozy. Let's take a closer look at the tactics Mennucci's team used to inspire voters from the left so effectively, many are wondering how Gaudin's team will compete.

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What is a Community Organizing System?

COS.pngNationBuilder is a Community Organizing System—all that means is we help you bring people together around a common purpose so you can do the thing you were meant to do. And we recently redesigned our website to convey how it all works.

The four key components—website, people, communications, and finances—make up a unified platform that puts the tools of organizing in the hands of anyone. If you haven’t already, take a moment to explore the new website, take the feature tour, and learn how NationBuilder can help you grow your community.

How do you use NationBuilder to fulfill the thing you were meant to do? Leave a comment with your story so we can feature you on one of our community pages. Or better yet—show us. :)

  • Add a suggestion box to your website to generate feedback from your community.
  • Make your database more dynamic using NationBuilder Match to automatically link email addresses to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Klout.
  • Send a text blast with keywords to let supporters take action from their phones.
  • Recruit donors and view their progress with personal fundraising pages.
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Hey ladies! Women make a splash in the November elections

Kshama Sawant
Kshama Sawant

Election days are big for us at NationBuilder. From school board and city council races, to mayoral elections, thousands of candidates were voted into new positions earlier this month. 

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, in 2013 only 21.8% of women hold political office in the United States. That number rings extremely low, illustrating our need for more women to represent us at the local and national level. 

From the November 5th elections, I've read many inspirational stories about amazing women candidates and their journeys to positions in civil service. Today, I've profiled three prolific women who will soon occupy positions as a School Board member in California, the first Socialist City Council member in Seattle, and a new mayor in Dayton, Ohio.

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Even more ways candidates gain a big advantage using NationBuilder

I heart data

Earlier this month, I highlighted five advantages campaigns reap when organizing with NationBuilder. Today I'm rounding out the top 10 with five additional tips to strengthen the impact of your next campaign. Here's a hint—it all begins with synching your data. 

In this post you'll learn how to improve targeted messaging and apply alternative contact methods to connect with people you'd normally consider "unreachable"—until now. 

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First Somali-American elected to the Minneapolis City Council

abdi Warsame
Abdi Warsame

A little over a week ago, local elections swept the country. In Minnesota, Abdi Warsame won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council representing Ward 6. He took nearly 64% of the votes in his run against the 11-year incumbent, Robert Lilligren, to become the first Somali-American city council member in Minneapolis and the highest-elected official of Somali descent in the United States.

The city has experienced a recent influx of Somali-Americans, and voters and political activists alike have a lot of hope that Warsame will help bridge mainstream Minneapolis and the burgeoning Somali community residing in the south eastern Ward. 

Warsame has been working towards this goal since moving to Minneapolis just a few years ago and he's already accomplished a great deal. 

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Lindsey Horvath joins NationBuilder as VP of Communication

lindsey-horvath.jpgWe are thrilled to announce that a gifted storyteller with an extraordinary dedication to service is joining NationBuilder as our VP of Communication. Lindsey Horvath is a rare combination – an exceptional communicator, community organizer, and servant leader – and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on our team.

For almost a decade, Lindsey has been creating award-winning campaigns for movies and television as an entertainment advertising executive, while also holding public office and numerous leadership roles in her community. She was the founding President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Chapter Director in Los Angeles for the Truman National Security Project, and has served in leadership for the California Democratic Party, Women Against Gun Violence, and the NOH8 Campaign, to name a few.

Lindsey currently serves as Chair of the Transportation Commission in West Hollywood and as the Regional Coordinator for the V-Day One Billion Rising Campaign. She is co-founder of The Bridge Project, an advocate for A Window Between Worlds and CARE, and serves as the Los Angeles Advisory Council Member for Running Start.  

Organizing starts with a story. To learn more about Lindsey’s story, check out her website at lindseyhorvath.com.

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10 ways candidates gain a big advantage using NationBuilder: Part 1

Paola Bailey, Psy.D.

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.

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Not just a geeky tech dream: NationBuilder makes a splash in the UK

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: 

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NationBuilder Platform launch

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.

Today, with the official release of our API, we are incredibly proud to announce an unprecedented offering – a nonpartisan, open platform with free access to the nationwide voter file.

Thank you to all the amazing developers who are already investing in the NationBuilder Platform. These are all working implementations that anyone can start using right away:

  • ActionSprout: Convert social actions on Facebook into email list opt-ins
  • Amicus: Match your nation's supporters to the social graph and use call tools and peer-to-peer postcards to build your movement
  • CallFire: Texting and voice blast campaigns
  • CanvassNow: Map your voter data and log contacts on your mobile device
  • Change.org Relay: Tap into an engaged online community for new donors, advocates and volunteers
  • ControlShift: Member-led petition campaigns
  • CrowdHall: Spark conversation and participation with moderated Q&As
  • Distrify: Turn a movie preview into a point of sale, with customer data synced to your nation
  • Mobile Commons: Mobile advocacy tools, synced to your nation
  • One Click Politics: Email advocacy tools targeted at Congress
  • Organizer: Mobile canvassing app that requires no data entry and syncs in real-time with your nation
  • Theme Sync for Mac: Download themes to your Mac and edit them with your favorite text editor
  • Veracity Targeter: Add turnout scoring to your voters
  • Veracity Editor: Batch update blog post tags, authors, publication dates and more
  • Veracity Importer: Import your WordPress, Drupal or Joomla blogs

If you are a developer interested in building your own app or integrating with NationBuilder, check out the API documentation, our developer forum, or contact Adriel Hampton to get started.

Together we are building an independent infrastructure for democracy. It's incredibly exciting.

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More flexible control with permission sets

Last week, we quietly released a major update to one of our most important features. Today, we're thrilled to share permission sets with you. 

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Veracity Media's new visual endorsement map

Paola Bailey, Psy.D.

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.

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Endorsement map

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 ryan@veracitymedia.com. 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. 

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