Bringing NationBuilder to the UK

by David Thompson
Posted on 12 June 2014
read time: 3 minutes

Each Friday we look back over the week and celebrate what we call 'Yoomee wins'. This week we're toasting NationBuilder awarding us certified architect status. So here's a blog post on what NationBuilder can do for you, with some online campaigning tips thrown in for good measure.

Putting NationBuilder to the test

We've been working with Oliver Coppard, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate in the hotly contested Sheffield Hallam seat, who's standing against Nick Clegg in next year's General Election. Rumour has it Nigel Farage, UKIP's Leader, is also thinking about fighting Sheffield Hallam.

As the battle for Hallam got underway, we started to talk to Oliver about a strategic digital platform to form part of his wider campaign. With the 2015 election fast approaching he needed to get something out there quickly and on a tiny budget. So this was a fantastic opportunity for us to test drive NationBuilder, a popular off-the-shelf campaigning platform from the USA we've been evaluating for the last few months.

What we found

We were able to use NationBuilder to quickly build a mobile responsive site for Oliver. It was really straightforward to start accepting donations on the site and build an automated volunteer database. It's also helped Yoomee secure NationBuilderArchitect Certification for the customised Labour Party theme we built. This means we're one of only a handful of UK agencies officially endorsed to customise the platform.

Why NationBuilder?

NationBuilder is an out of the box platform for running campaigns, building movements and organising communities. It's all about getting people on the street to support your movement, with as little fuss as possible.

Its strength comes from the way it so closely integrates its four key elements of:

  • CRM: All user information collected by the website is automatically aggregated and stored in the backend. Powerful filtering and searching means you can easily group users according to how engaged they are with you — through volunteering, donations, signups or social media.
  • Donation platform: Secure donation pages with goal tracking and social sharing come as standard.
  • CMS: A website builder with campaign focussed page types, blogs, user profiles and customisable, responsive page designs are again all there off the shelf.
  • Communications: Integrated email newsletters and SMS are all included as standard.

Let's take a look at a real world example of this in action:

First the user donates using the special multi-step donation feature. In the background NationBuilder adds the donation to the user's record:

Donate screen and user record

Using the powerful filtering options you can now filter your list to show donors and assign actions against them:

Donors screen

You can easily target communications at particular people on the list, and ensure you're getting the message you want out to them.

In the background NationBuilder logs every type of activity automatically, building a rich mine of data to help your campaign (data anonymised in this instance):

Dashboard

Running online campaigns

Our experience in building sites with NationBuilder and on other campaign-led websites such as vInspired Live, DoSomething and Get trashed has given us a few key insights worth sharing.

  • Release early and engage users: Focus on getting the audience for your campaign involved as early as possible to gauge interest and get feedback.
  • Build your list: Donors, prospects, volunteers and supporters.
  • Be where the audience is. Use your main campaign site as a hub, but engage with your users on social networks, blogs and offline too.
  • Let people get involved easily: Resist the urge to try and gather all the information you can as early as possible. Instead let people sign up with just an email address, or a Twitter follow and build their profile as they become more involved.

This all fits in nicely with our Agile approach to digital projects.

Hungry for more?

You can find out more about NationBuilder from their site, and don't forget to see what Oliver Coppard is up to and back his campaign! If you want to find out more about the Nationbuilder product and how it might further your campaigning activity, do please get in touch.

Posted on 12 June 2014 - By David Thompson
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