Surfacing the Gold on Your NB Site

Conservatives and Republicans often wonder why their Nationbuilder site (or Wordpress site) does not deliver all the social media 'miracles' that were promised at the time the site was deployed.  Here's the key for conservative sites.  We learned on a campaign that had a web site with 2 million visitors that conservatives need a little more direction and guidance to become productive with social media.  

I chose the word 'surfacing' for this article because your NB gold is very, very near to the surface.

But it's not yet at the surface where people (and especially digital activists) can see it and use it!  You need to undertake a trivial, easy lift to get it to the surface where it's usable.  OK, maybe not so trivial if you are severely tech challenged, but let's set it forth anyway...


In many cases, all you need to do is link to a page that you already have up!  In the 'worst case' scenario, it'll take you less than 5 minutes to create each of the 6 pages you need, because the required page templates are all built-in to NB's '+New Page' dialog of the Website tab of your control panel.

It all keys on the 'supporter nav' or menu that appears on the left or right (depending on theme) after someone joins or logs in to your site.  See the image at right below.'s default supporter nav is pretty much useless as it comes out of the box.  Look at the default supporter nav (menu) that NB supplies at right.  Social Capital: useless if you do not care about your position on the leaderboard, this is your personal earned score page.  Follows and Followers: even on a huge campaign site with over 2 million members, I did not identify a single user who found these pages useful - I won't even tell you what they are for... you can guess from the names.  On a smaller site, they are far less than useless.  Your Pages: if you've been granted privileges to author pages, this is the list of pages you have authored.  Most people don't have those privs.  You might find a page here if you have clicked and submitted a 'Host Your Own Event' button and submitted a new event to host.  Settings: is a bit useful for setting things like my own phone or zip code, or the link to my web site... but it does nothing to help me advance the presence of our political site in cyber-space.  Settings is the only menu item I would keep, though.... and I would keep it at the bottom where it is now.

On the settings pages for all of these pages except Settings, you should UNcheck the 'include in supporter nav' checkbox and save the page.  On the pages you expose or set up below, be sure that the 'include in supporter nav' checkbox is CHECKED on the settings for that page as you set it up or modify it.  

So what do we need on the supporter nav instead of these items?   The following infographic sets it forth and tells a bit about why. (.pdf here) (continued below the graphic)


In the order they should appear on your menu the pages you need are 'Volunteer Office' (or 'Take Action' or whatever title works for your mind) - in any event, this is the 'master' page that explains and links to all the others, as well as explaining the supporter nav menu and the social share links that appear on every page on the site.

After Volunteer Office comes Spread the Word (check the 'Recruiting' radio button on the + New Page dialog if you are creating this page), and the Leaderboard (check the Leaderboard page type radio button on the + New Page dialog if you are creating this page).  Your Volunteer Office page, if you need to create it, is page-type 'Basic' and you simply explain your priorities while linking to the other various resources discussed here.

Special Cases

Mobile Signup supports email signups and is intended for your workers who are walking around an event (dinner, rally, farmers market, etc.) signing up people to your email list.  This is a terrific way to build your email list.  They are instantly added, and your worker does not have to log out after recording each email address.  It's ok on this page to fill in the email only.  The person just registered gets an email to activate and when they click that, they can also add their name, phone and other info later.  This page uses a custom page template and the code that you can unzip and paste into the page template is here.  As you are setting this page up, choose the Signup page type radio button on the +New Page dialog. 

Host Your Own Event: if you are using one of the less expensive NB implementations, you can't have a 'Host Your Own Event' button on your calendar - but you can use a 'Contact' page type in your + New Page dialog to create a page that can gather in the same info - then after contacting the proposed host for more details, your staff can set up the actual event (a coffee, a rally, speaking engagement, or a generic meet-up - with or without the candidate present) on your calendar page.  If you have a more advanced version of NB, be sure you check the 'Allow Visitors to Host Their Own Events' checkbox on the calendar page.  Then you can copy this button onto any other page where you want to draw attention to it... such as the Volunteer Office page.

In any event, there's not a campaign or county party that can't benefit from encouraging their visitors to be enterprising and propose their own events to promote or raise funds for the effort.  Keep the idea in front of them and some will use the feature.

Spread the Word and Leaderboard

The Spread the Word and Leaderboard pages should both be linked to each other in the Intro on the settings for those pages, with an explanation on the Leaderboard page that one can advance on the Leaderboard by working the Spread The Word page and some text on the Spread the Word page to the effect that leaders/acheivers using the Spread the Word page are recognized on the Leaderboard page.  You can keep that text to just that bare minimum - otherwise, these pages more or less speak for themselves.

Personal Fundraising Goal
This control is actually exposed on each person's personal 'account settings' page but it should not be overlooked and should be linked-to and explained on your 'Volunteer Office' (or similar) page.  

A short aside: On every project I've finished when I've been away for a few months and then return to see how the site is doing, the folks at the top of the leaderboard are almost always people who have used the 'Share' link for email from the donations page and have emailed that custom tracking link to their friends, presumably asking them to donate.   A lot of money gets raised that way and without a request from the campaign!  Often, these people do not really make themselves known to the campaign in any other way.  Yet they 'compete' very successfully to rise to the very top of your leaderboard!  Frequently, they will not even respond to an attempt by the campaign to contact them and thank them - they apparently prefer some anonymity, except among their small, private (but actively donating) audience. be sure you have a share control at the bottom of your Donate page (and every other page) to facilitate the people who want to share the link to your Donate page on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and by email.  This is the most valuable set of social media controls you can have on your web site, and I like to see them on every page because their use means people are spreading the word about your effort to their friends and neighbors -- people that you've not been able to contact yet, and who you very much want to develop a relationship with!

Back now to that personal fundraising goal: it's much harder to get the typical digital volunteer to get involved in fundraising (which is why you should make sure that the ones who think to do it on their own are well-supported with 'share' controls as illustrated above) but some campaigns do have some great good luck in this area.  One thing's for sure though: campaigns that don't make an ask in this area have a 100% track record of 0 donations from this activity.  NB will do all the tracking automatically and keep fundraising totals available for each person.  You can even assign fundraisers to teams and have the teams compete to see who can raise the most money.  Prizes or gifts are sometimes awarded to high achievers, but you should check with your legal team before awarding prizes - prizes for fundraising may be illegal in your jurisdiction.

Finally, in the 'Supporter Nav' menu item in your control panel 'Website' tab, you can click 'Reorder links' and drag/drop your new menu items to appear in the order you wish on the supporter nav.

Now your supporters have a menu that guides them to the things you really want done on your web site.  Digital activists can actually help you!

Now you have your infrastructure built - so it's time to 'turn the crank' which we'll explain in the next blog entry.  One thing you may want to consider early: schedule some video-conference calls to tell your digital activists about the new resources you've just made available and show them how to use the new resources right in those video-conference calls.



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.