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Sometimes, you don’t have bags of time to run a campaign. Sometimes, a referendum is just around the corner and you only have 4 months to mobilise the whole country (much like is happening before the EU referendum in the UK at the moment). Sometimes, a petition needs to gather 100,000 signatures in two months. How can NationBuilder help you in such time-pressed situations? Well - that’s precisely what this blog post is about - so read on to find out about the 3 key tips to build an effective short-term campaign:

1. Build out the website simply, and therefore quickly

While websites should be slick and eye-catching (without being visually overbearing), you’ve got limited time and therefore spending weeks dwelling on choice of hue for your background is not the way forward. You can easily build a sturdy NationBuilder website within 24 hours using one of the basic themes, and if you’re knowledgeable of HTML and CSS you can edit the basic themes to make them customised according to your desires.



2. Focus on a key few asks from the people you’re trying to reach

The key feature of NationBuilder websites is having action pages which have specific asks of people: for example to sign up to volunteer, for an event, donate, complete a survey, or fill out a petition. However, when you don’t have much time to run a campaign, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin when it comes to what you ask of your people. This is especially important when sending them email blasts - you need to ask people to do only one thing, since with a clear focus they're more likely to do it. Therefore it is important to a) Set concrete goals for your campaign to understand your primary objectives, b) Then translate these goals into concrete asks which will make them happen.

For example: if the primary objective of your campaign is to gather 300,000 signatures for a petition in 4 months, a petition page will need to not only prominently feature on the website and your email blasts, but it’s also required not to distract the people by other asks which ask of a different kind of unrelated effort (for example helping to volunteer organising a large-scale event). However, what you can do, is have secondary tasks daisy-chained into the primary objective of asking people to sign a petition. You can for example have people ‘land’ on the donation page once they’ve completed the signature of your petition. This daisy-chain means that while you have asked people for one thing only, and didn’t distract them with another prominent ‘Donate’ button on the homepage, you still manage to give them the opportunity for further involvement. 


3. Increase traffic to your website and increase crowd engagement

It is important to make sure your website is sufficiently promoted in order to make sure that there is apt traffic coming in so that people can keep informed of latest developments on your cause as well as making the cause attract new prospects. Putting the external advertising methods aside, there are ways to increase the traffic to the website via the NationBuilder platform. One of the ways in which this is possible, is to utilise the social share prompt at the end of every ‘ask’ on your website. The social share prompt will enable people to share the fact they’ve signed the petition on social media, through which it will enable those individuals’ followers and friends to follow the link and if not go as far as becoming supporters, in the very least direct their attention to the website.  


Another way in which to increase website traffic and crowd engagement is to enable User Generated Content. This can be in the form of user-submitted events or blogs. This a very efficient and effective way to engage people as well as spread the word about your cause by organically recruiting volunteers who are willing to spread the word on your behalf. 

Another way in which you can increase and monitor crowd engagement is to set up social media accounts from your broadcaster. In this way, you can not only officially communicate from Facebook and Twitter accounts on behalf of your organisation, but you can also monitor the ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘retweets’ and therefore make it possible for you to target people who are likely to promote you on social media. Filtering for people who have followed your content on social media enables you to find a definite pool of strong supporters, who you can consequently directly reach out to to ask for them to become your organisations’ advocates, through which you will organically increase both traffic to your website and crowd engagement.



Short-term campaigns can be difficult, but with the flexibility and richness of NationBuilder features, you can make them happen. Good luck and remember to get in touch with us if you have any follow-up questions.


I am a Community Strategist in the NationBuilder London office, and when I’m not helping our customers building communities, organise digital campaigning, and helping them to become leaders, I watch British sitcoms with my wonderful fiancé, cook, and read about archaeology, which I’m absolutely crack-pot about (bad pun intended).

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