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NationBuilder crash course

NationBuilder is software that helps leaders build, maintain, and expand human relationships. A community can achieve goals faster than a single individual.

Each community creates a nation; a separate and self-contained database. Lead people to take action and maintain a history of your interaction in your nation. This includes websites, emailing, donation processing, and social media integration. 

You can log into your nation at (make sure to use the slug you used to start your account in the url).

Support information is organized around the sections of the control panel. You’ll be able to find in depth information about People, Website, Communication, Finances, and Settings.


Control panel

Once you finish installation, you can open your nation's control panel. Only people who explicitly receive access can see this secure area.

Setting up your nation involves several key steps:

  1. Import people you already know

  2. Connect Twitter, Facebook, and email address

  3. Add a payment processor

  4. Confirm nation contact information

  5. Define your paths and goals


1. Import people you already know

Your organization probably engaged with people before you started your nation. You can import people from MailChimp, Google contacts, or Constant Contact using Tectonica Tools.

Information from other sources can be imported directly into the People section. Complete instructions exist, including how to prepare for your first import. However, the NationBuilder Services team can also help import data and complete your first import for you for free


2. Connect Twitter, Facebook, and email

Broadcasters are the voices who speak publicly on behalf of your nation. All of your external communications are organized around broadcasters and accessed from the Communications area of your control panel. These official voices are completely separate from profiles in your people database. 

Each broadcaster can be connected to:

  1. Email address

  2. Twitter account

  3. Facebook page

  4. Virtual phone number


3. Add a payment processor

Connecting your organization’s bank account with a payment processor allows you to accept donations or process invoices. You can add your payment processor details in Settings > Payment Processors

The Settings section includes aspects of your nation that won’t change significantly over time so that's where your payment processor information will live. On the other hand, the Finances section is where you can monitor transactions occurring in your nation and set up any tracking codes to help you organize your finances.


4. Confirm nation contact information

Your organization’s name and address is stored under your profile icon menu at Contacts and billing. Be sure to enter the complete address and phone number. This information will be used in financial receipts and email blasts. The address also determines how auto-districting works.

The person who started your nation is the nation owner. You can change this from your profile icon > Contacts and Billing > Billing contact. The owner will receive invoices via email. You can opt out of those emails on this page.

The credit card used to pay a nation’s bill can be edited from your profile icon > Contacts and Billing > Credit cards.

Once you begin paying for your nation, invoice PDFs are available at your profile icon > Contacts and Billing > Invoices.

If your organization is involved in a political campaign, set up your election at Settings > Political.


5. Define your goals and paths

An organization's mission should be broken down into measurable goals, which can be tracked in your nation. The Dashboard section displays your progress toward completing your goals. Goals can measure community engagement through the number of logged contacts, supporters, donors, donations, customers, members, petition signatures, or volunteers. 

Those goals can be broken down into paths to meet those goals. A path is a step-by-step workflow that describes how people taking action contribute toward achieving the larger goal. As a person completes various steps, they are moved along the path to its completion. This distribution of work provides clarity on how individual support helps achieve the organization's mission. Paths are also the cornerstone to building internal alignment and accountability. Every interaction is connected to a particular path on a person's profile and stored in the People section. Default paths are available to provide a framework for common tasks completed in a nation.

Congratulations, you’ve completed getting started! Now you can begin to create your website.  

Want to learn more? Take our Intro to NationBuilder course or join us for an live walkthrough of NationBuilder during one of our upcoming webinars