How to create custom people fields

Custom fields support the collection of key data points not available in standard NationBuilder fields. This feature is relatively complex to implement. If custom fields have not been enabled in your nation, please read the introduction to custom fields HOWTO for information on accessing them. 

Custom people fields are added to a person's profile, while custom donation fields are added to donation records. Below you'll find information on creating custom people fields, adding that information to profiles, and searching those fields.

Table of Contents

Create custom people fields

Custom people fields can be created from  Settings > Defaults > Custom fields > People

1. Define the field name. (Required)

2. Create a slug for the field - no spaces can be included in a slug and it cannot be changed later. (Required)

3. Decide what type of field to create. The options are text, number, checkbox, or multiple choice. (Required)

4. If you are creating a multiple choice field, create options. (Required for multiple choice fields)

5. Click the Create field button.

Once a custom field is created:

  • the slug cannot be changed
  • the field type cannot be changed
  • if you delete the field, all stored values for that field will also be deleted

You can create up to 20 people custom fields and up to 20 donation custom fields using the Leader or Organization plan (additional custom fields available for Enterprise and Network plans).

Field type Parameters
Text Free text field, default is blank
Number Up to eight digits to the right of the decimal, i.e. 0.12345678 and default is 0.0 
Checkbox Default is unchecked
Multiple choice Unlimited options, one option per profile, each option up to 100 characters, default is no option selected

Once created, custom people fields will be listed at Settings > Defaults > Custom fields > People directly below the area to create a new field.

For example, here is a list of fields I created:


We strongly recommend limiting the number of text fields created. Often, an open-ended survey question is the better way to solicit this type of feedback rather than using a custom field. Text custom fields are case sensitive which makes searching exact responses particularly difficult. 

Edit custom fields in a profile

In the People section, from single-person view, go to Edit > Custom fields. You'll be able to create or update information in the fields.


Import custom fields

You can import information and map it to the custom field slug. Note that people custom fields will be listed within the Signup section of the import.

  • When mapping your fields for import, the system will validate that custom number fields are numbers - you won't be able to complete the import if you try to import text into a number field.
  • Each profile can choose one option in a multiple choice field. 
  • Responses to a multiple choice field must already exist as options for the field. If you import a response that doesn't exist for a multiple choice field, the profile will not be updated for that field and no error message will appear.
  • Checkbox fields can be updated with the following:
    • check the box: true, yes, t, y, or 1.
    • keep the box unchecked: false, no, f, n, or 0.
    • import is case insensitive, so tRue, TRUE, and true will all result in the box being checked.

Filter options

1. In the People section, click on the filter button  to begin filtering.

2. Click Add criteria.

3. Either select the Custom fields category or begin typing the slug of a custom field to add it to the filter. 

The way you can search the field depends on its type.

Field type Filter options
text is, is not, exists, does not exist
number is, is not, is between, is greater than, is greater than or equal to, is less than, is less than or equal to, exists, does not exist
check box is, is not
multiple choice is (select option), is not (select option), exists, does not exist

If you search within a text field, the data in the field must match your wording in the filter exactly and it is case sensitive. For example, if I was searching for the response "Los Angeles and San Diego," people who had responded "Los Angeles and san diego" would not be included in the filter results. 

Here is an example filter for custom fields:

Search for custom fields

In this example I am looking for people in my nation who are Wellesley alumnae who graduated in 2000 or more recently, and majored in English.

Introduction to custom fields

Requesting custom people fields on webpages

Creating custom donation fields

Requesting custom donation fields on webpages

Subnations cannot create custom fields if their field architecture is synced

Liquid variables available in email

How to import

How to filter


If you’re unclear on how this feature works, please ask a question. If you would like to see changes to this feature, please submit a suggestion.