I know that NationBuilder integrates a bunch of technologies, like my social media accounts, online donations, voter data for political campaigns, and a flexible CMS with official and customizable themes. What should I have together to get that all linked up with my nation?
Yes! A big strength of NationBuilder is how well it pulls together activities from various other services and their APIs (application programming interfaces) into a filterable activity stream of all the activity from your prospects and supporters. There are five key things you want to get going on right away if you're using NationBuilder:
A Facebook Page. Here's where to set up a new Facebook Page, with some helpful tips for getting started - http://www.facebook.com/about/pages NationBuilder is going to help you integrate your Facebook supporters into your nation as they take actions such as clicking "like" on your Page posts and RSVPing for your events through Facebook.
Photos. An important part of building your website is having a collection of three or more great photos to display. If you don't have your own, Flickr's Creative Commons archives can be a great place to find some. Be sure to pay attention to the licensing rules, and you'll be able to put links to attribution for these shared photos in your NationBuilder site footer (In your control panel, Pages > Settings > Footer). Here is a link to Flickr's Creative Commons licensed photos - http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
In general, key photos should be sized consistently. For feature photos, 660p wide is good, and you should have a consistent depth as well so you can set up sharp featured content sliders. If you don't have a favorite photo editing software, Pixlr.com (pixlr.com/editor), a web browser-based editor, can be helpful. You'll just download photos or pick from the web or your desktop and add them to Pixlr for cropping and resizing. If you want to use a dramatic photo-centric website theme like Focus or Resolve, you'll want a background image sized 1024x768 for the Focus theme (see internetismyreligion.com for an example) , or 960p wide and of consistent depth for the featured content sliders on Resolve (see coffeenation.org for an example).
NationBuilder will also prompt you for a logo during install (you can always add later under Websites > Settings > Logo), and square is the best size for that, like 150x150.
Written content. As you set up your NationBuilder website, you're going to want to quickly populate it with helpful descriptions of your candidate, organization, initiative, or business. Putting together several paragraphs of "about" text and an introductory blog post or two will get you going quickly with a useful website.
Bank account. If you want to take online donations or payments or set up a store for your nation (stores are a bit more of a "201" proposition, but here's a guide if you need to get one going quickly - nationbuilder.com/adding_ecwid_shopping_cart_nationbuilder), you'll need to connect a bank account. NationBuilder makes it easy to take online donations without a special merchant account using Democracy Engine or PayPal Express Checkout, but you still need a campaign or personal or business/organizational account to receive your donations.
For a full description of the online payment processors NationBuilder supports and their different options, check out this post - nationbuilder.com/how_much_does_nationbuilder_charge_for_donation_processing