Relationships are the cornerstone of a thriving organization. Keeping track of relationships is difficult. If you want to coordinate and grow your supporter base, your email inbox simply won’t cut it. You’ll need a relatively simple system for managing human contacts that allows everyone involved access to the same information.
In this overview of the People section, you'll learn the key features designed to track relationships, grow your supporter base, and achieve your mission. First, define why you want to contact people with paths. Distribute responsibility for engagement to control panel users. Understand how people are defined in your database: supporters vs. prospects, people vs. organizations. When someone takes action on your website or contacts a broadcaster, automated tasks can update the person's profile. Target communication using filters, tags, and lists. And understand the importance of logging every one-to-one contact, assessing support level during every interaction, and recording path movement.
- Paths: engagement workflows
- Control panel users
- Supporters and prospects
- People and organizations
- Automated tasks
- Record contacts
- Targeting communication
- Related resources
Paths: engagement workflows
A path is a step-by-step workflow for people to complete a tactic. Paths clearly define reasons for engaging supporters, creating alignment and accountability within an organization. Default paths are available to support distinct features within NationBuilder. These can be edited to reflect your own process and mission.
Each step in a path can be assigned to a control panel user. Similarly, a control panel user can be assigned responsibility for path completion. Tracking abandonment and completion rates help define a supporter’s engagement and a control panel user’s effectiveness.
Control panel users
A person with permission to access a nation’s control panel is a control panel user. Only people explicitly given access to the control panel can see the people database, create webpages, send mass communication, or deal with a nation's finances. Custom permission sets can limit the amount of information visible to control panel users.
In addition to being assigned responsibility for step and path completion, a control panel user can be assigned as point person. A point person is responsible for the overall relationship with a particular person. Each profile can have one point person.
Supporters and prospects
NationBuilder helps leaders motivate their community to take action. A community includes supporters, prospects, and non-supporters. Supporters agree with a nation’s mission and have opted into communication. Prospects have not taken a position on the mission and have not opted into communication. Non-supporters disagree with the mission and may have opted out of communication.
Support status is the distinction between supporters, prospects, and non-supporters. Actions are used to automatically determine a person’s support status. Control panel users can define support level to over-ride the automated changes to support status. Support level is a number from one to five. One represents the highest level of support, three is undecided, and five is strong opposition. Support level is defined manually or via batch update - it is never created by an automated action.
A primary goal of all nations is to encourage prospects to become supporters and to minimize the effect of non-supporters. This is why it is important to keep all types of people in your database, rather than deleting non-supporters.
People and organizations
There are two types of profiles in NationBuilder: people and organizations. Relationships between people and organizations can be defined within profiles. When a person is connected to an organization, a contact logged within a person’s profile can also be added to the organization’s profile. This allows the organization profile to be a central hub of contact within a nation. Similarly, both people and organizations can be placed on paths. Add an organization to a path if the goal is move your nation’s relationship with the organization forward.
Since organizations are comprised of people, generally the same fields are available within both types of profiles. A couple of key distinctions to keep in mind: an organization’s name is stored in the last name field and its address is stored as the work address. Both people and organizations have support status and can have support level.
Whenever someone takes action on your website or reaches out to a broadcaster, that action can trigger several automated tasks in your nation.
For example, when someone donates to your organization, you can:
- Send a simple receipt via email using the donation page auto response email.
- Tag the donor’s profile, indicating she responded to a particular fundraising campaign.
- Move the donor to a path step and assign a control panel user responsibility for completing the step.
- Apply the donation as payment for a membership, and add a membership with or without expiration date to the donor’s profile.
- Assign a point person to the donor, who will have primary responsibility for nurturing a relationship with the donor.
- Use a tracking code to connect the donation to the particular fundraising campaign.
Conversations should be recorded in your database. This ensures that everyone involved in the relationship has access to the same information. There is nothing worse than being asked for a $10 donation when you gave $1,000 last year and pledged $1,500 last quarter. Keeping track of everything in one database helps alleviate this type of error.
Logging a contact includes three core features:
- Contact method: how the interaction occurred
- Contact status: result of the interaction
- Log to path
- Notes from the interaction
Since paths are the primary way engagement is tracked, every contact must be connected to a path. This means that when a control panel user contacts a person, sends an email, or creates a note on a profile, those actions must be connected to a path.
It is also possible to use your nation’s virtual currency to measure the effort needed to build relationships. A choice must be made in the currency drop-down menu, though the value can be zero. If an amount is listed, it will be deducted from the person contacted and added to the control panel user logging the contact. The contact can also be logged as part of the correspondence with an organization with whom the person has a relationship. And it is possible to set or re-set a person’s support level and priority level based on the interaction.
It is always best to communicate with people where they’re most comfortable. When people are imported into your nation, NationBuilder Match uses their email addresses to add LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook account information to their profiles. This expands the methods of communication available.
Within your nation, people can be grouped using filters, tags, and lists. Filters are dynamically populated using real-time information from the profiles within your database. Filtering is the most comprehensive way to gather people within your nation.
Lists are completely static groups of people who have been targeted for a specific purpose, for example to be included in a walk-sheet for in-person dialog or to print a scannable sheet to record the results of those in-person interactions.
Tags are virtual sticky notes added to a profile to describe a characteristic. A tag can be added automatically when a person takes action on your website or contacts a broadcaster. Many organizations find it useful to create a tag library to define a naming taxonomy. Most tags remain on a profile unless they are removed manually or via batch action. The exceptions are tags from filters and shared tags.