Skip to main content

At NationBuilder, one of our company’s core values is: “We seek data to overcome our blind spots and wisdom to overcome our limitations." This means accepting that as humans, we can’t always grasp the complexity of an issue and data can help guide our decisions. But how does that work in practice? The Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom (DIKW) Pyramid illustrates the underlying concepts really well. 

The lower step of the pyramid is composed of data, which is the smallest unit of information (numbers or characters). By adding context to that data, we’re able to get information and extra layers of context that will get us knowledge and finally wisdom. 

This means that data is a crucial first step on the way to wisdom and as the infrastructure that helps you store your data, we understand how valuable it is. This is why we bring together your data in a way that helps you make better decisions about how you want to manage your relationships with your community and how best to engage your supporters.

Let’s dive into the seven types of data you can store in your nation, and how you can engage with it once it’s there: 

Type of data



With profiles, depending on what data you collect from your supporters, you can store a whole host of data points on members of your community such as name, contact details, location, occupation, interests etc. With filters, you’re able to create segments of people who match a set of criteria and inform them or call them to action.  As people interact with your website or use your control panel, you’ll also be collecting engagement data that will be logged in the activity feed of their profile.


If you enable our advanced privacy tools, you’ll be able to gather supporter consent. That will allow you to keep a record of who has consented to receive your communications via email or text and get a log with the date and response give that can’t be edited. 


You can store payment information about people in your database. These transactions will be connected to your supporter profiles and you’ll be able to segment your database based on these transactions, target your communications based, or simply run analysis.  


This data lays on top of profiles and allows you to keep track of supporters who have signed up for a membership with your organisation and for how long. It also allows for automating the renewal process and helps you avoid having to manually chase members after their memberships expire.

Email stats

As you send emails with NationBuilder, you track advanced statistics about open, click and unsubscribe rates. That data can help you decide how you want to communicate with people who have been engaged or disengaged with your emails over a given period of time and re-engage lapsed supporters.

Geocoding and shapefiles

When you have address information in a profile, the system will add an extra layer of information by automatically placing them on the map (geocoding), and assign them to their voting district (using shapefiles) so you can use it to target your outreach. Shapefiles are generally files that are available to political parties, nonprofits and members of the public from a country’s office of elections and/or other public sources. 


This can help you view who is publicly interacting with your social media accounts to build a more holistic view of your supporters and how they interact across different channels. However, this won’t be done automatically. You’ll need to connect your relevant social media accounts to bring in the publicly available data.

In practice, this is what the data we have will look like: We have Jamie’s contact details and address. She’s been a member for the past three years and has donated $50. She has opened a couple of emails in the last six months, RSVP’d to an upcoming talk about climate change and signed a petition for zero carbon emissions. She lives in Westminster North and follows us on Twitter. On each of the occasions above, she submitted that information. 

By bringing data together in an all-in-one system you get a real understanding of how your supporters engage with your organization, giving you the information you need to build meaningful relationships with them, which helps you do more for your community long-term.

Share this post