Skip to main content

Are you tracking volunteers in Google Sheets? Do you know which of your major donors are Twitter influencers? Is your team making event turn out calls to targets who’ve already RSVP’d?

If so, it might be time to get all your data in one place.

By consolidating your data, you get a 360-degree view of everyone in your community, and the diverse ways each interacts with you. Those insights allow you to spend your time more efficiently and tailor your outreach more effectively.

Take this finding of a recent study by Experian: personalized email blast appeals have 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click rates than non-personalized blasts.

Think you’re starting from scratch? You’re not. Think all your data is already in your nation? I bet it’s not. To learn about how to create rich and detailed profiles of each person in your database, read on.

1. Your email list

Email addresses are the basic building block of most NationBuilder databases, as they help uniquely-identify your prospects and supporters, serving as anchors for practically every online engagement with your organization.

Time and again, email has been shown to have the highest ROI — upwards of 3800% — of any online communications channel. And the more sources of data you layer-onto your email list, the more sophisticated your own targeting and personalization can be:

Filter for people who haven't RSVP'd for upcoming event, but have RSVP'd to a past event

You can also sync your work email with a personal broadcaster. Doing so will automatically log 1:1 emails on the recipient's profile in NationBuilder, ensuring that if another teammate reaches out, they’ll have valuable context on where that relationship stands.

Possible sources of email data

  • Think you’re starting from scratch? You’re not. You have a personal network, that’s where to start building your base. I bet they’re in your email contacts. Export those, import them as prospects — and send them an opt-in email!
  • Own an email list from a previous campaign that might be interested in your new endeavor? Do the same with those prospects. (If they don't bite, simple batch opt them out).
  • Migrating off Constant Contact or MailChimp? Tectonica’s free import tools can quickly sync those to your nation.
  • Migrating off another 3rd party tool? Email lists are simple to import yourself, or you can send them our way so we can handle it for you!

2. Offline engagement data

Odds are your team engages supporters offline as well as on. They have calls and one-on-ones with volunteers or possible donors. They organize events where (fingers crossed) attendees are asked to sign-in. Or maybe they're out collecting signatures on physical petitions.

Whatever offline engagement looks like for you, if that data isn’t in your nation, you run the risk of alienating your top activists. Have you volunteered for a cause you care about, only to later receive a blast from them with no recognition of that contribution? How did that make you feel?

If you’re using your nation to its fullest, those interactions may already be captured in tags, paths, logged contacts, event RSVP/attendee activities, and so on. But if some of that data is still spread across Google Sheets elsewhere — don't worry, you’re not alone.

Fortunately, if you have people’s emails in those records, with a little clean-up, you can easily append that vital offline data to supporters’ existing profiles in your nation.

Here are 3 examples:

  • Spreadsheet of event attendees + their contact info:
    • Export that as a CSV, upload it to NationBuilder, enter “event-your event-attendee” into the “tag everyone with” field. Everyone imported will get that tag.
  • Spreadsheet of volunteers, columns for each possible volunteer role, and “X/YES” values in cells beneath the roles a volunteer is suited for:
    • Find and replace “X” with “volunteer-xyz role” in each column, then map each of those columns to “tag_list.” Cell values will be appended as a tag.
  • Ever organize an event through Eventbrite?
    • Use Eventbrite Connect to import up to 4 events and 200 people for free ($25/month to auto-sync all new events)

3. Financial data

As you hopefully know, you can raise money online through NationBuilder. Most organizations will import any past online donations when they first get started on NationBuilder. (If yours did not, let us know ASAP.)

Having all your contribution data in NationBuilder empowers you to deliver personalized asks at scale by tailoring the appeal based on recipients' giving history. Why ask these folks to chip in just $8, when you could ask them to match their average gift?:

Filter for people who's average donation is $100-$200

Treat fundraising like a conversation, and your donors will feel seen and appreciated — rather than like your organization's ATM.

Here are 2 sources of financial data you may be missing:

  • Checks received from major donors — don’t accidentally send someone who just contributed $5,000 a generic fundraising email.
    • If you’re tracking major donors in another system, import those donations; moving forward, enter those contributions one-by-one as they come in
  • Are you using a 3rd party tool to sell merch? — You may be interested in Shopify Connect ($25/mo), which can automatically import contacts and their purchase data (with tracking codes) from Shopify

4. Social media data

Social media data can help you learn about your supporters’ interests and influence.

Shortly after an email enters your database, NationBuilder Match will append corresponding social media accounts along with any info visible to the public — their Twitter bio or LinkedIn headline, profile images, follower counts and more.

You can use that data to find out what a donor cares about before you reach out. Are they a doctor? A space enthusiast? Do they have a massive following they could tap to help amplify your campaign to a wider audience?

Then, to unleash the full power of Match, connect your Facebook Page or Twitter account. Doing so will allow you to target people who liked a particular FaceBook post, or based on their social media interactions with you. Combined with the other data described, this can help you find low-hanging fruit just ripe for pickin’:

Filter for people who haven't donated in 6 months, but have retweeted in that time

5. Voter data

Voter files are the lifeblood of effective political campaigns, and can be equally valuable for eligible advocacy and community organizations as well. Depending on your state, the file will contain registered voters' name, age, address, phone, vote history, and sometimes more.

The value of this data to a political campaign should be clear. But there’s value to other organizations as well — it’s just a question of what you’re fighting for.

Let’s say you’re working to stop a development project in your area. Request a voter roll for the affected region, narrow that universe down if you can, and organize a phone-bank or canvass to recruit your targets to a town-hall or info session on the issue.

Eligible organizations can request a voter file for their area from NationBuilder, and our team will import that data directly into your nation.

Share this post