A popular tool for online campaigns is the mass email, sometimes known as the "thank and spank." It's a tool that has officials and agencies in an ever-escalating arms race with activists for control of their inboxes.
At NationBuilder, we are eager to avoid creating more campaigns where hundreds or thousands of emails at best end up as "for" and "against" tally marks. There are much more creative and memorable ways to structure campaigns.
We were at the annual Hudson Bay Company canvassers convention at Kentucky Dam State Park last weekend and got a look at how groups like Clean Water Action, Ohio Citizen Action, Forests Forever and Texas Campaign for the Environment are making a difference in communities throughout the U.S.
Hudson Bay canvassers focus on getting handwritten letters for their actions, and on Sunday, Ohio Citizen Action online director Angela Oster told Gov 2.0 Radio that some of their most powerful actions have included children's drawings reflecting the impact of pollution on their communities. On Saturday, Texas Campaign for the Environment hit two Kentucky Wal-Marts with a choreographed flash action urging the store to recycle used TVs.
For smart online actions, NationBuilder is as flexible as your imagination.
Have a big email list and want to target employees of a specific agency or corporation? Just type their email extension into a basic search to get a list of folks at that organization in your database.
Have a document that you want people to download and complete? Host it on our servers and link to it in your content editor, or embed Google Docs in your template.
Want to prompt your supporters to email a particular individual? Customize this HTML in your template:
NationBuilder petitions are also a very powerful way to create a nation, as MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan proved by gathering a hundred thousand supporters around the country in a just a week.
Have a great idea or example of how to use our tools creatively to build your nation? Let us know in the comments.