It's a windy rush hour on a Thursday afternoon in San Francisco. Walking past a noisy Giants Stadium, fans cheer as the Giants step up to the plate. I'm looking for HATCH space, a 4,000 square foot incubator across from the stadium in San Francisco's Design District, where I'm meeting Candice Dayoan, a designer with 50+1 Strategies. After wandering through the halls of the incubator, looking for signs of Candice, I find her bunkered down in the Star Wars themed "Hoth" conference room.
Candice comes from a unique career background. She studied computer animation in college and then became an online organizer with Organizing for America during the 2008 election. Now she's at 50+1 Strategies, along with other Obama Alumni, as the head creative director.
Candice is no stranger to NationBuilder.
Your NationBuilder database holds all kinds of useful information about the people who are part of your nation, including social media accounts from NationBuilder Match and anyone who has followed you on Twitter. In this video, VP of Community Adriel Hampton shows how you can find your Twitter followers and people who have Facebook information in their profile. He also walks through how to automatically add tags to anyone who RSVPs to an event on Facebook for easy followup later on.
Every candidate in the DC Council special election used NationBuilder - but there could be only one winner. Congrats to Councilmember Anita Bonds, who won handily tonight following an interim appointment to the council last year. See the Washington Post's live blog of the night's returns here, and a snapshot of her website after the flip.
With the new scheduling feature in NationBuilder, your communication strategy can now be fully integrated into your nation. Do you have a plan for the week that involves posting to your blog, promoting the content on Twitter and Facebook, and encouraging your supporters to take action via text and email? Now you can schedule all of those elements to go public at specific times right from your nation.
We unveiled this feature on yesterday's NationBuilder Live. This clip will show you how to schedule anything - web pages, text and email blasts, posts to Facebook and Twitter - in your nation.
For more details, check out our FAQs on scheduling each type of communication in NationBuilder:
Text messaging offers a powerful way to get a message out to volunteers, event attendees or other supporters via a channel that they're likely to see immediately. Text keywords allow people to take action right then - in the moment you ask them to. Once you set up a virtual phone number, you can send text blasts and create text keywords that make it easy for people to RSVP to events, sign petitions and join your nation.
In the videos below, C.J. from the Community team shows you how to send a text blast to your supporters and set up text key words to use at events and in your marketing materials.
For more info check out our detailed How To guide on how to use text messaging in NationBuilder.
Senior Organizer Joe Conte and Data Organizer Ari Trujillo-Robnett teamed up with Urban TxT last weekend for hack-a-thon. URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT) is an organization that encourages inner city teens to become catalysts of change. They have hosted several hack days in the past and have an annual summer program to turn teens into tech pioneers.
On April 13th, URBAN TxT hosted the South LA Hack-A-Thon, geared towards teaching youth about programming, coding, web design, web development, social media and data management. Ari and Joe spent the day working with the teenage participants.
Ari Trujillo-Robnett was excited to help the students understand how data collection works and why it's important for building community. She explained, "someone put me in front of a spreadsheet when I was 17 and that's how I got here. I want to help you have the same opportunity."
On a recent segment of HuffPost Live, NationBuilder VP of Community Adriel Hampton participated in a virtual roundtable discussion on Rep. Steve Pearce's (R-N.M.) proposed legislation to create a "virtual Congress." Rep. Pearce believes that allowing members of Congress to spend the majority of their time in their home districts will enable them to be more connected to the needs of the people they are representing.
During the discussion, Adriel suggested that the concept of virtual participation would be better if it were flipped on its head. He argued that technology should be used to expand citizen access to representatives by having citizens schedule virtual meetings from their home districts instead of the other way around. He also pointed out that the high cost of elections require politicians to spend an extraordinary amount of time fundraising and that fixing this area of U.S. politics would have a more meaningful impact on how representative Congress is. You can watch the full discussion here:
In Monday's news segment on NationBuilder Live, Adriel Hampton discussed a great blog post from Vocus.com on how to boost your SEO with nine overlooked tweaks. Watch the video to learn how to apply the article's tips to your nation. Adriel walks you through how to optimize the images on your website, write search-friendly page titles and descriptions, and maximize your social media efforts through social sharing.
On a recent episode of NationBuilder Live, C.J. discusses how useful content and anchor text hyperlinking can help increase your SEO.
Virtual currency is a way to encourage and understand your supporters' engagement with your nation. This video shows you how to customize the name of your currency and update the amount earned for completing unique actions within your nation. For more information visit this FAQ.
For nonprofits and political campaigns, the donation page is one of the most important pages on your site. In these clips from NationBuilder Live, Adriel Hampton shares tips on choosing the right donation processor for your organization and strategy on how to increase donations using your progress bar.
The progress bar on your donation page is a great way to drive fundraising. Adriel explains a bit of the psychology behind donations and how to adjust your fundraising goals to help donors visualize their impact at each stage.
Yesterday was the first day of the annual Non-Profit Technology Conference, known as NTEN, which is being held at the Hilton in Minneapolis this year. Minneapolis greeted and semi-defeated me with a twelve-inch snow storm, but I made my entrance in my weather inappropriate jean jacket into the world of NTEN ready to chat with new nonprofit folks and learn about their tech needs.
Julie Niemi with Danielle, Jordan and Ramsey of DonorSnap
Each year, NTEN hosts fifteen hundred people, mingling around in a series of large banquet rooms. Seventy-five percent of the attendees look like confused new comers - myself included - and the other twenty-five percent are clearly veterans. These diverse groups of NTEN vets and NTEN newbies band together throughout the day.
The rooms are filled with the sound of loud questions along the lines of "what do you do?" or "who do you know?" but people rarely small talk about technology. These conversations are left for later, discussed throughout the day at the breakout sessions and most importantly, at the bar over a liter of one of Minneapolis' fine micro-brews.
Photo and video-centric applications like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine are changing the way people interact on social media. Stats from this visual story-telling guide provide striking evidence of this trend:
- By the end of 2012, 300 million pictures a day were uploaded to Facebook, 40 million to Instagram.
- Ten percent of all the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year.
So why are people so obsessed with posting and sharing their snapshots? Photos have the unique ability to instantly tell a story. Visuals and videos can communicate experiences and feelings in a way that's more visceral and more memorable than words alone. Facebook recently redesigned their news feed to capitalize on this by giving photos and video more real estate, making visuals the center of the world's largest social network.
In the video below, Jennifer Consalvo, Co-Founder and COO of Tech Cocktail talks about this visual revolution and what it means for companies and organizations that are delving into the world of visual content marketing. She points out that, "At our core, we are expressive, creative beings." Taking photo and video allows people to express their creativity and share it with others, which is why photo and video sharing has caught on so rapidly. For more takeaways from Jennifer's talk, visit The Vocus Blog.
When sending email blasts from your nation, you can choose from a dozen public themes. This allows you to create a beautiful email design without knowing any CSS or Liquid. If you'd like to edit the footer of your email, or other elements of the design, you can do so by copying a public theme and creating a new custom theme. Creating a custom theme allows you to edit your email template. In this video from NationBuilder Live, VP of Community Adriel Hampton walks you through the process of editing your email template:
We've heard your calls for more playful website themes in our selection of free templates and are pleased to release "Conserve," celebrating the seasons with styles for spring, summer, autumn and winter. This theme was created with environmental organizations in mind but is flexible enough to be used for almost anything. The best part is you can easily refresh the look of your site by updating it for the seasons.
Each style includes an illustrated footer and stylized background. Top nav elements are repeated in the footer, the default logo is easily replaceable with a custom image or site name, and bold featured content slider images will give you a beautiful website in just minutes. To update an existing site, go to Websites > Theme > Switch to public theme and pick Conserve and then your favorite style. If you'd like to start a new NationBuilder account for as low at $19 a month, sign up here.
Here's a look at the "autumn" style with a blog home page. More theme guidelines and screenshots - including each of the season illustrations - are below.
Your nation's website is the perfect hub for communication with and among your supporters. Suggestion boxes will help you facilitate conversation loops and create a sense of community on your website. Here are a few of the many ways to use this type of page:
Crowd-source ideas for your organization. Want to start a project based on supporter preference? Encourage people to submit ideas and vote on those already submitted. Our author demo site has an example of this functionality: Kristine Nolan asked her fans to suggest a destination for her next travel book and all fans got the opportunity to vote on the suggestions.
- Allow supporters to submit questions and have staff members respond. Readers can then tag questions. We use this functionality for the NationBuilder FAQs. Note: you can use an FAQ page to create a page of questions and answers written by someone with control panel access, whereas using a suggestion box page allows users to submit the questions and point people to provide the answers.
- Create a 21st century forum. You've probably used a forum to connect with an online community and you may have wondered how to recreate the immediacy of those conversations in your nation. You can set up suggestion boxes around different topics that are relevant to your organization and encouraging people to respond to suggestions, both by tagging them and leaving comments. This creates a user-friendly experience that doesn't force your supporters into late-90s web design. If you try this option and aren't satisfied with the results, add your voice to this forum suggestion.
- Ask visitors to your website to submit stories about topics relevant to your organization or mission. In this guest blog post from Avoyer Group, Mason Herron talks about how to use this approach to create an interactive discussion among journalists and writers.
Recently on NationBuilder Live, I showed how we used a suggestion box to crowd-source ideas on the Kristine Nolan site and walked through setting up a suggestion box in the control panel of your nation: