This year, I’ve had the opportunity to oversee the NationBuilder Cities network, which was created to engage, equip, and support leaders from various sectors with in-person programming. The experience of building a global community from two initial chapters in LA and NYC to 14+ chapters around the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, has been a non-stop journey of learning about our customers and how we can better help them realize their visions of what they can achieve.
NationBuilder’s mission is to provide the infrastructure leaders need to create what they are meant to create in the world. And, while we strive to make that as seamless and easy as possible within the product, a little extra help from the incredible experts in our ecosystem goes a long way. This year, our ecosystem hosted interactive demonstrations like Whiskey Tasting and Text Messaging and trainings on important skills like fundraising campaign strategies to better support and connect the NationBuilder user community.
What has been most exciting for me has been the chance to develop community-building events where diverse styles of leadership can be modeled and practiced, and the eagerness people have shown to share their personal experiences with others. A Dinner and Discussion event at our HQ gave me the opportunity share my story with an audience, be vulnerable, and describe how the themes of discrimination and courage have played a role in my leadership journey. It also created the opportunity for politicians, activists, educators, “techies”, etc., to sit at the same table, share a meal, and listen to each other’s stories about what has compelled them to be leaders in the current political and social climate. I believe these experiences are what make NationBuilder chapters so unique and important in our society.
When I look back at how far we’ve come with this initiative and try to convey how much I’ve learned, I can summarize my experience in a couple of thoughts:
Our community is key to success. We rely on the on the technical skills that our experts, architects, and partners bring the table and we wouldn’t get far without their willingness to share their product knowledge with others. Also, we must continue to learn as much as possible from community leaders in order to improve their experience and empower those who have yet to realize their potential for leadership.
Trust the process. Working toward the long-term goal of growing a sustainable and supportive community means sticking to it even when short-term outcomes, like attendance or feedback from an event, aren’t as overwhelmingly positive as we hoped they’d be. Building lasting relationships takes worthwhile time, effort, and persistence.
As we’re approaching 2018, I’m really looking forward to creating the space for our users to showcase their work with NationBuilder and their organizations successes, the continual growth of our global communities, and the opportunities to learn from more dynamic leaders.
I want to thank you for your interest and participation in NationBuilder Cities thus far, we couldn’t have created these communities without the support of leaders like you. If you’re interested in hosting an event or helping to lead your local chapter, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to see what you create!