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:
After you get your NationBuilder website up and running, it's time to let your supporters know about your new nation. In this video, C.J. from the Community team walks you through everything you need to know to set up and send your first email blast. Watch it to learn how to target your email campaigns to specific groups in your database, select a theme, and test your emails to make sure they look great.
Social media offers all kinds of opportunities for expanding your organization’s reach. While maintaining an official presence on different platforms is a great first step in this process, engaging your supporters' networks will grow your nation faster.
By enlisting the help of your social media champions - the most active and influential communicators in your nation - you can quickly get the word out about important events and initiatives while building a powerful community of evangelists.
Things to remember about generating support through social media:
Social sharing is an important part of the engagement ladder: people who share an organization’s message online are more likely to donate and volunteer their time (more on that here).
Creating a social media champions program can allow you to tap into the rich networks of your most influential supporters.
Publishing compelling and visually interesting stories will encourage social sharing.
Reporting the success of your social media campaigns will help supporters take ownership of your shared goals.
You can learn how to create a social media champions program and the strategy behind it in these clips from NationBuilder Live:
There's a shift happening in Los Angeles. What's historically been known as a sprawling car-centric city is being transformed into a web of transit connected, bike-friendly and walkable communities. This is no small feat. There's a host of alternative transportation, urban planning, and design organizations working hard to make this happen.
Between downtown LA and South LA there is a notable lack of a safe, pedestrian friendly pathway connecting the two busy city sub-communities. In a unique partnership between architects, engineers, urban planners and community organizations, the MyFigueroa project hopes to change that.
MyFigueroa’s goal is to transform downtown LA’s Figueroa’s Corridor into a “complete street”: a multimodal hub, providing bus lanes, bike lanes, and sidewalks for pedestrians. Tomorrow, MyFigueroa will be hosting a community meeting at Andrew Norman Hall Orthopaedic Hospital in downtown LA. Find out more about the event here.
Last week, I sat down with two urban planners involved in the project, Deborah Murphy of Deborah Murphy Urban Design and Planning and Melani Smith of landscape architecture and design firm, Meléndrez, to learn more about My Figueroa’s ambitious project, how they are using NationBuilder, and tomorrow's event:
A couple of years ago, Peter was looking for a technology solution to connect his supporter database with his email list. He scoped out a solution from SalesForce that was prohibitively expensive. When he first signed up for NationBuilder, he thought it was the answer to this one problem and didn't realize how much it would help his nonprofit's entire operations.
Peter highlighted three areas that changed dramatically:
1. Getting to know his supporters
NationBuilder provides a one-stop solution for website, email, social media, and donations. NationBuilder does not connect your website and database – it is your website and database...
All of this together has provided a much fuller picture of the Pivot audience allowing us to judge the effectiveness of our communications and fundraising and rework them when necessary.
When you need to manage many contacts, it's important to keep track of when follow-up communications are needed. NationBuilder's one-of-a-kind follow-up system helps you move your supporters up the engagement ladder. In this video from NationBuilder Live, Adriel explains how to use this powerful tool.
Yesterday on NationBuilder Live Adriel Hampton highlighted the work of NationBuilder architect PowerThru Consulting. In this clip, Adriel talks about how PowerThru helps its clients build their supporter base using e-mail advocacy and analytics.
Check out our Q&A with Mike Nellis of PowerThru below.
So that your people know what's going on within your network, it's important to communicate with them regularly. From tweets to text blasts to blog updates and email blasts, you'll want to develop a steady stream of communication with your prospects and supporters. And let's not forget to mention, you can also enhance the performance of your email blasts by paying attention to your statistics.
In the first video from NationBuilder Live, VP of Community Adriel Hampton walks you through your email statistics and explains how keeping track will help ensure your emails get delivered.
You can also read more about what your email stats mean by going here.
When you're just starting your nation, creating your website is a great way to begin reaching your prospects and supporters. In this video from NationBuilder Live, VP of Community Adriel Hampton explains how to switch between public themes to change the look and feel of your website with a click of a button.
We have additional information on using public themes for you here.
Adriel also discussed setting up a blog and adding content to a post including how to insert images which you can view below.
This post was written by Steven Miles, Coordinator of Comprehensive Campaigns for United Voice Queensland. It was originally published on the blog of cStreet Campaigns, a NationBuilder architect and expert, who kindly let us repost it here.
Historic Childcare campaign won by combining digital & field organizing
cStreet and NationBuilder have helped to deliver one of the Australian labour union movement’s biggest wins – a long overdue pay raise for child care workers. Long amongst Australia's lowest paid workers, child care educators launched a massive national campaign called "Big Steps", supported by United Voice. We fought hard for a wage increase fully funded by the federal government, so that fees for parents didn’t need to increase.United Voice is a union with a long and proud history of organising workers. The challenge we faced this time was in how to organise parents on a large enough scale to convince politicians that they needed to subsidise a wage increase, despite there being no precedent for such an action. This is where cStreet came in. They helped us to build and deploy a custom NationBuilder site for our union that allowed us to better recruit parents and supporters both in centres and online. Our ‘Big Steps’ campaign brought broad-based community support for childcare workers to bear on elected officials of all stripes.
The key to organizing supporters in your nation is being able to slice and dice them into useful categories that you can target with specific messages and calls to action. Want to send a text blast to all the volunteers who participated in your last event? Or how about emailing your Twitter followers to ask them to spread the word about your upcoming fundraising drive?
In these two videos, C.J. from the NationBuilder Community Team walks you through what you need to know about tags, filters and and advanced search to organize your outreach like a rockstar.
As soon as people figured out the internet could be used to engage people in a cause, backlash began against this new form of activism. Actions like signing an online petition, sharing a story on Facebook, promoting a cause on Twitter, or liking a video on YouTube have all been rolled up in one pejorative term: slactivism. It was the word of the day on Urban Dictionary five years ago and remains a common response to online activism.
Even if you don’t think online activism is completely worthless, you may question its value in getting people more involved in your organization or cause. A new study from Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide convinced me to remove the term slactivist from my vocabulary.
This graphic from the report reveals that after engaging in a cause via social media, people were likely to take a deeper, more valuable action including donating money (59%), volunteering their time (53%), and donating clothing or food (52%).Learn how to implement the insights of the report in your nation.
On this Monday, April 1st we offer a handy new feature: The Favicon! The name itself offers quite a branding fashion statement, and indeed it is.
So what is a Favicon?
Favicons are used to improve user experience and tab-navigation in your web browser. Those little 16x16 pixel icons are the images that appear next to the site name in tabbed browsing and in bookmarks.
Here's a picture:
A quick internet history lesson for you: "Favicon" combines the words "favorite" and "icon", and was first introduced by Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 in 1999. Originally, they were used to give a rough estimate of website traffic simply by counting the number of vistors who bookmarked a particular webpage. Today they're used for more aesthetic purposes.
I want one now! How do I add a Favicon to my NationBuilder site?
Greetings folks of the NationBuilder blog! Julie Niemi here. I am an organizer with the NationBuilder Community team and I will be roaming the Minneapolis metro area from April 10-13 for the NTEN Conference. Look for me. I will be the stylish gal you see to the right.
Do you like art? Politics? Nonprofits? Technology? I would love to keep busy at the conference by meeting friends, fans, supporters, and general curiosos who want to chat and learn more about what's going at NationBuilder and how we can help connect your folks together.
e.politics shared results from a survey about social media's effect on the 2012 election (available on Slideshare and included after the flip).
I personally found Jay Baer's article explaining a case study of social media use by a local politician particularly insightful. You can spend all of your time chasing numbers or you can use online tools to connect with people on a human level. My preference is definitely the latter. The best part is that you don't have to be a political candidate to gain insight from this case study.
Here are my suggestions on how to integrate the advice of these experts into your work and your nation: