NationBuilder’s killer app is data – free voter data for political campaigns. With a basic subscription of just $19 a month, you get a website, advocacy tools, contact management, and up to 500,000 voter records – enough to run a U.S. Congressional race.
Blue State Digital, the firm famous for its work on the Obama campaign in 2008, has been acquired by advertising conglomerate WPP.
NationBuilder is the community organizing system (COS) for a new generation of leaders and creators. It brings together email blasting, customizable websites, advocacy and community pages, and social media management into a single platform that you don’t need a tech team to manage.
A: NationBuilder is a unique nonpartisan platform for organizing, bringing together a comprehensive suite of tools that today’s leaders and creators need to gather their tribes.
Deeply social. We don’t bolt on some share buttons and call it social media – we interweave Twitter mentions of both your broadcaster IDs and your website into the administrative dashboard and activity stream. Likewise, Facebook page activities and Facebook and Meetup events are tightly tied into your nation, helping you to create a database that reflects the true scope of your nation’s support across the social web. You can interact with your Facebook and Twitter supporters and prospects right from your NationBuilder control panel and collect event RSVPs and market ticketed events. NationBuilder profiles aren’t some sterile and contextless lists of names and email address, but rather rich social profiles with pictures and bios linked to people’s social media profiles. We also help new members of your nations find and follow their friends from Facebook and Twitter right in your nation.
Real-time activity stream. Instead of running reports once a week, NationBuilder shows recent updates from your site, Twitter, Facebook pages, events, donations, any activity happening that you should care about. This activity stream is highly filterable, and provides field organizers, finance directors, social media managers and other parts of your organization a “now time” view of activity in you nation. This real-time newsfeed is similar to a Facebook activity stream, tailored to help you track and guide the health of your nation. It’s very addictive.
Runs your whole site. NationBuilder empowers you to run your entire site, supporter and prospect database and donor recruitment and finance tracking from one site. You don’t need an extra content management system (CMS) with NationBuilder – it is one, with rich customizable themes that make it like a WordPress for organizing. NationBuilder allows you to quickly build a slick public-facing website complete with blog pages, calendars with Google maps, petition pages, customizable surveys and much, much more. Its social customer relationship management (CRM) tool is bleeding edge tech for organizing. And yes, we use NationBuilder the platform to run NationBuilder the software company.
No tech team required. NationBuilder is highly customizable without a line of code. If you have a designer, you can create anything you like with HTML/CSS and SCSS customization of our themes. We can refer you to great designers and consultants if you don’t have one, and have free screencasts for web play or download on how you can do it yourself. NationBuilder is not for coders who love to play around with plug-ins and integrating various tools – you’ll probably be happier with WordPress, Drupal, Django, or Ruby on Rails.
Campaign aware. We provide access to the voter file for political causes and campaigns, with tight database integration and easy to use call and walk lists, including a turf cutter to narrow down target voters on an interactive map. You can email and text your supporters using NationBuilder, whether yours is a nation for 100 or 1 million.
If your finance team wants NGP for compliance purposes, use NationBuilder and export your data to run quarterly reports. If you have access to the VAN through your local or state party organization, you can still use NationBuilder by importing your voter file and using our action tools. We would like to integrate with the voter file and compliance in NGP VAN more directly, but they have blocked us due to our nonpartisan political philosophy (or maybe they are just scared). NGP VAN is only available to Democrats in the U.S. and who they deem worthy in other countries.
WordPress is a great platform for blogging, and it also has a much more mature ecosystem of designers than NationBuilder – we have a lot of catching up to do in the custom theme department (if you want to build and market custom themes for NationBuilder, we want to hear from you!). If you want to run your own server and play around with plug-ins, WordPress might be right. But to get the native functions of NationBuilder for your nonprofit, for example, you’ll have to integrate with other tools like DonorTools, MailChimp, Eventbrite and Salsa.
A: SalesForce can look attractive to nonprofits due to its initial 10 free licenses. However, it is a CRM designed for sales teams focused on one-way communication and its complexity can be daunting. NationBuilder is highly social and designed for advocacy and effective community building. SalesForce quickly grows expensive due to consulting requirements and once your organization expands beyond those initial licenses. NationBuilder has no limit on broadcasters for nonprofits.