9 tips to get your network off the ground
One of the best parts of working at NationBuilder is helping our Network customers grow their communities. The associations, non-profits, political parties with big, scary, audacious goals that know they need a movement of people to help them get there. Organizing humans is not easy, but with a bold vision, help from technology, and a little patience, it’s not only possible it’s incredibly rewarding.
Lately, I’ve been feeling inspired by some of our customers that are moving towards the network model and it makes me want to see more movement building. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - growing your network is about being stronger together, increasing visibility with brand continuity, and empowering better decision making by sharing data in real time. So, without further ado, here’s my top 9 tips to help you build and support your network. Happy nation building!
The importance of partnerships
You’ve heard the old adage rising tides float all boats? The core concept of this still rings true - working together to advance your cause benefits all involved. It’s why political candidates that run with a party generally do better than those that run with as independents and it’s why parties work hard to recruit star candidates - the association with the party or the name recognition of the star candidate means leveraging each other’s networks in addition to one’s own. This helps increase donations, build credibility and boost campaign awareness. Nonprofits can apply this concept to their work through partnerships.Read more
Leveraging your network
Leveraging your network is like picking the low hanging fruit. You can climb the tree and search for new fruit near the top, but you’re missing all the ripe and ready fruit on your way up.
Leveraging your network doesn’t just mean asking for things when you need it or boosting your message through your community. Your network is a give and take relationship. When engaging your network for this purpose, communicate personally in a way that reflects your relationships and think of ways you can offer something.
Telling your story
You’ve checked all the boxes to set your nonprofit up for success - you’ve set up multiple ways for supporters to engage with you, you’ve targeted your list to send personal communications. So where are your supporters? You did all the things you’re supposed to do, why aren’t supporters signing up in droves?Read more
Network is a philosophy
Before joining the team at NationBuilder, I was a NationBuilder customer as the Director of Operations for a political party in Canada. I wore many hats during my time with the party, and one of them was coordinating (read: shepherding) local campaigns. As a smaller party, continuity among candidates was a big challenge. Because we didn’t have a tonne of resources at our disposal at HQ and we did have fiercely independent candidates, the candidates and their teams would often build their own websites, make their own signs, and design their own materials. This lack of unity made establishing ourselves as a credible brand very difficult.Read more
People: the (not so) secret ingredient in winning campaigns
Just over a year ago, I met Nancy Cooke, Director of Political Operations with the PC Party of Manitoba. I quickly learned that her leadership is a driving force behind the party’s organization and modernization - she even rides her bike to work! The Manitoba PCs were using a proprietary access database like many conservative parties across the country at the time – but were starting to integrate new technologies 21st century tools like NationBuilder.
The team was in a good place – they recognized the need to modernize and truly engage with and understand their constituents. After many conversations about community building, we had an agreement to adopt NationBuilder as a primary tool for their election campaign.Read more
Renewing democracy in British Columbia
"Here at NationBuilder, I get to work with some pretty amazing groups who are truly engaging people and making change in their communities, provinces and country. For this week’s Customer Spotlight, I talked to Stefan Jonsson at the BC Green Party about how they're doing politics differently. My background is in Canadian politics and community development so I get especially excited to see political parties moving away from old school political marketing and closer to real organizing - That means putting people at the centre, providing multiple paths for engagement, and elevating leaders. I'm thrilled to see the BC Green Party renew engagement in democracy in these ways"
Victoria Cross: Describe the mission behind your organization’s work.
Stefan Jonsson: The BC Green Party exists to represent and serve the citizens and interests of the province of British Columbia through the formation of government. We seek to proactively meet BC's challenges and solve genuine problems for British Columbians through evidence-based, ethical decision-making. We are a member of the Global Greens network, an international movement of local political parties who are committed to six fundamental principles: sustainability, respect for diversity, participatory democracy, ecological wisdom, non-violence and social justice.
We believe that a political exists to serve voters in being active participants in their democracy. The modern world of politics are crass and overly-partisan. Political parties serve themselves in the interest of obtaining power. We believe that politics must be returned to the people through true representative democracy, which means that MLAs are elected to actively work with their constituents to find solutions to society's problems, and then represent their constituents in the Legislature. We do not believe that policy should be dictated by any one political party or its leader, but through dialogue, outreach, a clear set of values and evidence. With the digital age, we have tools that allow us to do this in unprecedented ways. In fact, these digital tools evolve so quickly, we are constantly amazed at the innovative approaches we develop to serve the voters of British Columbia as active contributors to our democracy. NationBuilder has been fundamental to expanding our understanding of what is possible and making it happen.Read more