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When I started working on campaigns, a ladder of engagement was a sheet of butcher paper on the wall of the campaign office. We’d draw crooked black lines segmenting the paper into three or four sections. Each section had a specific step we wanted our supporters to take as we brought them closer into the campaign with the end goal of creating leaders. Some example steps were: attend a phone bank, have a 1:1 with an organizer, get trained on running phone banks, run a phone bank.

In each section we’d place post-it notes with the names of volunteers on it, each one showing exactly where they stood on our ladder of engagement at that moment. If someone took an escalating step, we’d move the post-it note representing them to the next section of the sheet. Not exactly hi-tech stuff (and very vulnerable to a strong gust of wind setting us back).

At NationBuilder we’ve found a better way to keep track of your ladders of engagement: Paths.


Paths are a new tool that allows you to keep track of your ladders of engagement, sans butcher paper on the wall. You can use paths to do exactly what I described above — keep track of where your supporters are and work to get the most out of supporters and make them leaders in your campaign. Same concept, less vulnerability to strong gusts of wind. Try it out and start creating leaders on your campaign today.

Don't know where to start? Check out our resource on how to use paths.

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