In NationBuilder, ‘Political Capital’ (PC) refers to the awarding of points to supporters for completing various actions within your Nation. A supporter might receive 4PC for sharing a post on Facebook, for example, or 12PC for agreeing to volunteer. [NOTE: In the non-profit edition this is called ‘Social Capital’ and in all editions it can be renamed].
The most common usage of PC is for front-end gamification of a Nation, where the focus is on rewarding supporters for taking more actions and creating competition among these users for rewards. This approach is often combined with NationBuilder’s Leaderboard page-type to visualize those supporters who have completed the most actions in support of a campaign or organization.
However, there’s a less common use that’s often overlooked, but just as valuable in its own right: PC as a backend measure of a supporter’s engagement. In searching for an analogy, the closest I could come up with is the concept of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in baseball.
In baseball, WAR is an attempt to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic [FanGraphs]. WAR measures a player's contributions across hitting, fielding, and baserunning to provide a single numerical value for the player’s contribution. For instance, Jose Reyes (a very good baseball player) has accumulated 86WAR since 2001, while Nick Punto (not a very good baseball player) has accumulated only 13.8WAR over the same period.
When we look at a large Nation that has an ample amount of supporter interactions, we can start to glean which supporters are contributing the most ‘Engagement Above Average’ (so to speak).
While WAR establishes a baseline performance for baseball players (replacement level), we can establish a baseline for supporters in a Nation as being worth 5PC (NationBuilder’s default for someone who has signed up but not taken any other actions). So if a supporter has 200PC, we know they’re contributing 195PC above our baseline. There are a number of ways that this can be helpful when organizing with NationBuilder.
Using PC to segregate the supporters into various levels in a Ladder of Engagement (Lowest = 5PC-500PC, middle = 500PC-2000PC, Top = 2000PC & up)
Developing custom leaderboards for use in the NationBuilder CRM to quickly identify fast-rising supporters for special attention and rewards.
Building a Social Media leadership team that can be provided early access to press releases, provided template tweets/Facebook posts and campaign talking points.
Rather than using PC solely as a tool for encouraging engagement and competition, we should step back a bit and also remember its use as a tool of analysis. PC can be set up to tell us very useful things about a supporter all in one quick glance, and we can use this info to determine potentially deeper and more exciting ways to involve people in our Nations.